All posts by psalm139momma

I am married to my high school sweetheart. We have 5 beautiful little children. Our 2nd born child has Cystic Fibrosis, a fatal lung and digestive disease, it has shaped our days and how we live day to day life. We live in southeast Alaska. Our days are filled with all the chaos that comes with raising a family that is bigger then societal norms. We love to hunt, fish and have embraced the urban homestead lifestyle, thanks to farmer Harney, aka daddy. If there is anything you learn from this blog, I hope it is the fact we love God, each other, and are trying to be the light in a world filled with darkness! Happy reading my friends!

Champ

Kyrene Grace

11 years old. Full of fire and honey. The perfect mixture of precision and chaos. The balance between quiet and loud. A taste of witty and chilliness. You dance between compliant and stubbornness like a tango.

It’s interesting how spending the weekend watching your older siblings compete in their tournaments would actually make me realize how different you are from them.

You don’t ever really make it known that you need/want us there on the sidelines. You don’t seem to have time to worry about whether or not you have the largest fan group. When I see you competing, in elements that you excel at, I totally know where your head is.

You champ aren’t competing with others, you Kyre are always competing with yourself. 

When you have finished playing your heart out on the field, you don’t look for praise, instead, our conversations are focused on the areas that you tell me you need to work on.

I have gotten to know you more as the older sibling to the babies since our mornings no longer consist of Cayden and Ezzy being around. Their high school and middle school schedules take them out of the house right when everyone else is waking.

There are mornings that I don’t have to think of a single thing to do because you have spent it getting your sisters ready or looking for areas to help ease the housework on me. Then there are mornings that I can’t get you to budge on one single request.

It’s been in the moments you realize I am completely overwhelmed and you have compassion on me that you are in the kitchen blasting music and singing along in perfect pitch. In fact, there have been moments that I have been surprised at the vibrato in your voice, something that many singers wish they had.

Listening to you pound out songs on your uke makes me smile and chuckle.

And then there is your artistry…

You were given an amazing opportunity to make a drum for a cultural studies program in school. You shared with me many times the excitement you had while working on it. One day out of the blue you told me there would be a presentation of the completed drums and of course, it fell on such a busy day of work for me. I told you that I prob wouldn’t be able to make it since you gave me less than 5 hours to clear my schedule.

What I found were two laser-focused eyes, searching the crowd for me.  This was a big moment.  You had put all your effort into the drum and then drew and painted it yourself.

When we locked eyes I realized something.

My presence is a need, actually, it’s a life source. Even if you don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable in that need.

So often you don’t advocate for yourself. You don’t ask for much. And when you finally have enough in you to say “I need…” it doesn’t come out gently. It comes out loud. It comes out emotional. It comes out big.

I am learning that when you hint towards a need, I really need to act on it and not wait for you to repeat yourself like boo will.

I left on a week-long work trip and as I was sitting alone in a hotel room, trying to find ways to adjust to not being interrupted non-stop by harneys, I recalled the last time I traveled a week away from you all.

You were 18 mos old. It was heartbreaking for you. You couldn’t understand why the person you loved more than anyone, including Naani, was gone. You were stuck with your dad, someone you tolerated.

When I returned from the week-long trip, you didn’t let go of me. I remember you were always touching me. You didn’t like it if I left the room.

The separation was too much for your tiny soul.

Now you are grown, you show us more times than not that you are tired of waiting on 6 Harneys to reach a consensus.  You learned to make your own PB&J when you were 4.  You built towers to get to things on the counters.  You planned and invited your friends to your bday party this year, all by yourself.

Kyre Grace.

I pray that you always know how uniquely made you are. I will always tell the story that you came when we least expected it. I will remind you that you were brought home from the hospital in the snow, something we promised to your siblings only to realize that was a risky promise to make.

You study people. You have better hearing than you let others know. You are always paying attention to others around you. Deciding whether to tuck away or to risk it and be in the mix.

Your gentle nature calls all creatures of the animal kingdom to your side.

Your reserved posture makes others wonder where they stand with you.

Your empathy calls those who have had their trust broken to know it can be rebuilt.

Your gift of healing has been seen as you have prayed for many and they have been healed.

You are 11 years old.  You are entering into the tween years and longing to be just like your middle school sister.  Yet there are parts of your childhood still clinging on.

I pray that this year you continue to know God as your Savior and more than anything, know without a shadow of a doubt that you don’t have to earn His love and grace, you don’t have to yell to get attention, and that you are more than enough.

Happy birthday Gracie Poo, we love you, and can’t imagine our lives without you

oh my Ez

Today snuck up on me

I was walking the dog, feeling the fall breeze hit my face that made my eyes water a little, when I realized something.

Ezrah May, today is a really big day!

We have been anxious for almost a year when we knew you were leaving behind your safe little bubble at your Elementary School. For 8 years you were around the same faces, countless people took trainings so they could administer your medications at school. Teachers became backup health aides and chose to be another advocate for you, sending sick kids home and increasing hand hygiene in their classes. Students would volunteer discreetly to move away from you in the classroom when they knew they weren’t feeling well. The office ladies got so many phone calls from your momma telling them you would be late to school because the burden of therapies had gotten the best of you that day.

And here you are, entering into the Middle School world. No longer will you have just one teacher and one class to adapt to your various needs that Cystic Fibrosis can bring. Now you will be spending your time around kids that don’t know anything about your fatal disease. Now you have a TON of educators and staff that had to sit in an hour-long meeting with me to discuss what it means for you to be in middle school.

My heart began to race as all this hit me this morning. The not faint memory of holding you in my arms with the dark early morning sky, listening to the machines beep, trying to not move you because I didn’t want to have to ask yet another nurse to come and help me with all your hoses and wires. It was just you, me, and the Comforter. The cries of a mother, the fervent prayers that life would be abundant for you even with the scary words Cystic Fibrosis. I would look you over from head to toe. I would study the curl of your hair, your little tiny fingernails, your soft little tummy covered with a massive incision from your life-saving surgery. I didn’t want to miss a single detail of your precious life.

It was there that I began to understand what it meant that you were not mine.  You were and are God’s child.

It was there that God began to invite me into the beautiful, scary, heart-wrenching and faith-building dance of being your momma.

“you will stand over her grave”….words that echoed in the silence, no amount of loud machines could drown it out.

Please let me see her first steps…

Please let her go to school one day…

Please let her play soccer, the sport that brought her parents together…

Please let her grow strong and big…

Please let her have friends that won’t be scared of Cystic Fibrosis…

Please, God, please breathe abundant life in her…

During my walk this morning God gave me the memory of you the night before your first day of preschool.  I was a freaking mess.  I don’t know how your dad and siblings survived me that week, really. 

You had insisted on wearing new boots that you had gotten for school before school started.  They ended up getting covered in mud because you couldn’t wait to wear them.  So, there was your dad washing your boots for you the night before school so you would have shiny new shoes again.

Sweet girl, do you know what you did last night?

You came to me at 9:30 pm with soaking wet white shoes and asked how you could dry them in time for school today because you had refused to wait and save them for the first day of school and got them dirty…even though I told you.

That memory flooded my vision as I passed your old elementary school and then I heard a little whisper.

“Sarah, its because she grabs hold of life and doesn’t take it for granted, she is fearfully and wonderfully made”

Ezrah May, no truer words have ever been spoken over you. God gave you the tenacity you would need to embrace each day like it’s the last one. Often, I worry about your inability to wait or reign it in sometimes. You want to feel it all, taste it all, breathe it all in. You don’t want to be told what something is like, you want to know it for yourself.

To my miracle girl, I am smiling and tearing up at the same time, seeing how God has been faithful. How He met a scared 25 yr old momma on the Giraffe wing at Seattle Children’s and heard her cries for you.

I am proud of you and you know what, I am still proud of you even if you make mistakes today, if you stubbornly don’t take your pills today because you are embarrassed and don’t want to explain what you are doing at lunchtime.  I am proud of you even if you shrink back and fight tears when you realize you are going to miss school because you have a nasty lung infection down the road this year.  I am proud of you for the choices you are going to have to make this year as you figure out having a new support system, and how to handle the large amounts of new germs and bugs.

You know why? 

Because you are grabbing hold of today and not worrying about tomorrow. You have been fearfully and wonderfully made. You are so loved by God. And baby girl, God has some big plans for you. I know there are some hard parts, waking up at 5:30 am so you can have your treatments done in time for a new early school start is hard, but you have got this. God has blessed you with abundant life…it’s a pretty good life isn’t it Ez?

Love you sweet girl, wow, love you sweet young woman

Baby Bean

Dear Bean,

Today you are 6 years old! 

I was just telling someone that your baby years seem so far away and I strain at times to fully remember all the details. You were put into a family that lives and breathes chaos. You had multiple sets of hands and arms that wanted to hold you even before you were born. Do you know that Kyre use to read stories to you when you were in my tummy? I remember wondering if you would walk on time because there was always someone that wanted to carry you.

Recently you told me that you didn’t want to have anymore babies in our house, after having your cousin Squish for a visit. When I asked why, you told me “because I want to be the baby”. You stood on the side lines and watched everyone want Squish, you included, but you decided that was a throne you did not want to leave for the Harney family.

There is something so soft and sweet about your eyes. I love it when we are in a room full of people and I scan it and find that you have been looking at me, waiting for me to find your eyes. Your face scrunches a little and you give me a smile that tells me that I have your whole heart. In fact, everyone in the family knows that I am your favorite and you don’t hesitate to tell your siblings that you are mine.

The doctors tell us that you are just going to be the tiny one. The growth charts were never something you aspired to beat Cayden on, your baby chub never reached Boo’s status, Ky may have weighed less than you at birth, but you have remained so small.

We laugh when people ask how old you are after you spill adult words out of your mouth.

You are a pint size boss that we all know.

I love hearing your thoughts, because you don’t wait to filter them out.  In fact, I think you are just like your daddy in that way.  You say exactly what you are thinking and don’t worry about what it might do to the listeners.

When you were told by Boo that you couldn’t have a boyfriend, because you are too young, your response was “You can’t keep love from me!”.  When your dad insisted that wearing heels to church in the rain would be a bad idea, you told him “not even the rain can stop me from wearing heels”.  When I told you to pack a swimsuit for a summer day with Naani, after days and days of beach time, you fought back and said “It’s my choice if I want to get wet and I don’t want too!”.  When your dad was in a conversation with me during a rushed church morning and not paying attention to you, you stomped your foot and said “Ricardo, I’m talking to you!”

You never lack knowing your desires.  You tell us what you want, how you want it and when you want it.  I wish that I was that bold to say exactly what I want, how much I could spare myself from frustrations when I expect others to just read my mind.

Even though the baby years seem to be slipping from my memories, I am so thankful that you are still showing us that you are just a little kid. You still need help tying your shoes, you need me to brush your teeth every night, you need us to cut your food for you and you need us to hold you when you get hurt.

Dear Veil Eden, I treasure the laughter that you ensue when you run your mouth. I love how you find the joy in every situation. I love that you don’t demand to be known in all your settings, but instead gently earn the trust of people’s attention. I love that whenever there is music playing I find you dancing, but baby girl I love watching you dance when there is no music, because I know you are listening to the music in your heart. I love how your tiny body still fits in my arms. I love your bravery and how you taught yourself to swim in May while visiting family in Arizona. I love that even though your big brother has turned into an unfriendly teenager, you still wield your powers and can make him do anything for you. I love that your sisters still fight over who gets your love the most.

To my sweet caboose, I am so thankful God gave you to us. Just thinking of you right now, I have a smile on my face and this urge to come and find you so that you will wrap your arms around me and say “there is my sweet sweet mama”.

Happy birthday Veil Eden, Bean, Veil-z, sweet thang!

Dear Boo

Dear Boo

Its an entire month after your birthday, thanks to travel, sickness, travel and well, just plain life, I broke tradition. I went back and forth on if I should write this since I was so behind, but then I thought you might actually laugh one day about the crazy family you were born into and totally understand.

It an understatement when people say that you look like me. I have lost track of the times people have called you “little Sarah”. Your big dark brown eyes, your brown skin that is darker than mine…which you love to point out and your matter of fact statements are dead give-aways to you being my mini.

One of my favorite memories of our recent trip to Arizona to see family, showed me yet again that maternal instincts in you are strong. After a few days of Veil throwing a fit at stores and various places, you waited until we were alone and pulled me aside and told me, “tomorrow we need to put Veil on a schedule. She is getting up to early, so after lunch we need to have her take a nap. We will all get out of the pool, so she won’t get mad and have her nap so she isn’t so grumpy”. I was holding back a smile the whole time as I realized that you were no longer in agreement with my parenting skills. I smiled even more when I recalled a time that my mom told me that even at a young age I would parent my sisters. Telling them when they were walking too far ahead of me in public places.

When it was time for you and Veil to get your long awaited “real big girl pedicures”, you patiently waited your turn. Offering up the next available chair to your little sister and pumped her up when it came time for her turn. I think you get joy out of watching someone you love get loved on, I can totally relate to that.

But a memory that I hope I forever remember is the one of the big shopping day. We took you and your siblings to Arizona Mills Mall, a big mall to go back to school shopping. It was hours of going from one to store to the next as your older siblings tried on their piles of clothes. I sat down to rest my tired legs and you came and stood right next to me, leaned in and made sure we were touching. You didn’t say anything, but needless to say we were so close that we were breathing each other’s air. When I turned to you and asked “do you need something?” with a smile on my face, you immediately said “No” but smiled back and chuckled to yourself. Your sisters asked “what are you guys laughing at?”. You responded “nothing…you wouldn’t understand”. I get you boo, physical touch is so important to you. You are always in a lap, have your arms around someone, give the biggest hugs and playfully nudge people when you want attention.

What I hope never changes in you is your JOY. You look for it, you believe that it is possible to exist in the world. I often find you laughing to yourself and baby girl, it makes my heart soar.

In a world where people are so quick to take offense with others, where it’s a “me first” or “if you don’t support me than you are the enemy”, you Boo, you don’t buy into that.

I have seen childish fights try to lure you in and you don’t bite. You don’t pick a side. You don’t fight back with the strength that we all know you have. You don’t belittle. What you do, is you love, you are matter of fact with your explanation and you often say “come on, let’s just go play”.

Boo thanks for teaching me that life is too short to get caught up in the weeds. Thanks for bringing the joy when you see those around you need it. Thanks for making sure I don’t let Veil get away with everything as the baby of the family and instead ensure she has structure. Thanks for being so giving of your heart. Watching you love to serve and be the first to do it is really humbling. Your soccer coach told me recently that you stayed back to haul things from the car to the field, while your team mates ran off and you chatted with her along the way. Deep down, I know you are an old soul, just like your momma.

Having a soccer coach come and ask us if it was ok that they call you “boo” made us and the other parents laugh. When we said “yes”, the coach then informed us that you said “will you call me boo, since you can’t say my name right?”. That’s my girl, saying things plain and simple…

I can’t believe that you are 8 years old. I never knew how much I wanted you until the dark clouds came and then we were given a rainbow, you, my sweet girl.

I pray a blessing over you this coming year. I pray that God will protect that bottle of JOY you always have on reserve for others when they are running low. I pray that you continue to see the needs of others and don’t find it to be a burden, but instead a gift to love them well. I pray that your need to be touched, held, cuddled and hugged is always met in your daddy’s, momma’s and naani’s arms. I hope that when hard things come you way you continue to choose to laugh. And more importantly, I hope you fulfill your dream of moving to Hawaii, because as you said “I am going to live in Hawaii, so that you will come and take care of my children”.

Happy birthday Ya’el Ariel Ruth, our boo

Dear Boo

Dear Boo

Its an entire month after your birthday, thanks to travel, sickness, travel and well, just plain life, I broke tradition. I went back and forth on if I should write this since I was so behind, but then I thought you might actually laugh one day about the crazy family you were born into and totally understand.

It an understatement when people say that you look like me. I have lost track of the times people have called you “little Sarah”. Your big dark brown eyes, your brown skin that is darker than mine…which you love to point out and your matter of fact statements are dead give-aways to you being my mini.

One of my favorite memories of our recent trip to Arizona to see family, showed me yet again that maternal instincts in you are strong. After a few days of Veil throwing a fit at stores and various places, you waited until we were alone and pulled me aside and told me, “tomorrow we need to put Veil on a schedule. She is getting up to early, so after lunch we need to have her take a nap. We will all get out of the pool, so she won’t get mad and have her nap so she isn’t so grumpy”. I was holding back a smile the whole time as I realized that you were no longer in agreement with my parenting skills. I smiled even more when I recalled a time that my mom told me that even at a young age I would parent my sisters. Telling them when they were walking too far ahead of me in public places.

When it was time for you and Veil to get your long awaited “real big girl pedicures”, you patiently waited your turn. Offering up the next available chair to your little sister and pumped her up when it came time for her turn. I think you get joy out of watching someone you love get loved on, I can totally relate to that.

But a memory that I hope I forever remember is the one of the big shopping day. We took you and your siblings to Arizona Mills Mall, a big mall to go back to school shopping. It was hours of going from one to store to the next as your older siblings tried on their piles of clothes. I sat down to rest my tired legs and you came and stood right next to me, leaned in and made sure we were touching. You didn’t say anything, but needless to say we were so close that we were breathing each other’s air. When I turned to you and asked “do you need something?” with a smile on my face, you immediately said “No” but smiled back and chuckled to yourself. Your sisters asked “what are you guys laughing at?”. You responded “nothing…you wouldn’t understand”. I get you boo, physical touch is so important to you. You are always in a lap, have your arms around someone, give the biggest hugs and playfully nudge people when you want attention.

What I hope never changes in you is your JOY. You look for it, you believe that it is possible to exist in the world. I often find you laughing to yourself and baby girl, it makes my heart soar.

In a world where people are so quick to take offense with others, where it’s a “me first” or “if you don’t support me than you are the enemy”, you Boo, you don’t buy into that.

I have seen childish fights try to lure you in and you don’t bite. You don’t pick a side. You don’t fight back with the strength that we all know you have. You don’t belittle. What you do, is you love, you are matter of fact with your explanation and you often say “come on, let’s just go play”.

Boo thanks for teaching me that life is too short to get caught up in the weeds. Thanks for bringing the joy when you see those around you need it. Thanks for making sure I don’t let Veil get away with everything as the baby of the family and instead ensure she has structure. Thanks for being so giving of your heart. Watching you love to serve and be the first to do it is really humbling. Your soccer coach told me recently that you stayed back to haul things from the car to the field, while your team mates ran off and you chatted with her along the way. Deep down, I know you are an old soul, just like your momma.

Having a soccer coach come and ask us if it was ok that they call you “boo” made us and the other parents laugh. When we said “yes”, the coach then informed us that you said “will you call me boo, since you can’t say my name right?”. That’s my girl, saying things plain and simple…

I can’t believe that you are 8 years old. I never knew how much I wanted you until the dark clouds came and then we were given a rainbow, you, my sweet girl.

I pray a blessing over you this coming year. I pray that God will protect that bottle of JOY you always have on reserve for others when they are running low. I pray that you continue to see the needs of others and don’t find it to be a burden, but instead a gift to love them well. I pray that your need to be touched, held, cuddled and hugged is always met in your daddy’s, momma’s and naani’s arms. I hope that when hard things come you way you continue to choose to laugh. And more importantly, I hope you fulfill your dream of moving to Hawaii, because as you said “I am going to live in Hawaii, so that you will come and take care of my children”.

Happy birthday Ya’el Ariel Ruth, our boo

Preparation

Christmas, my hands-down favorite season is when God decided to give you to me. I woke with so much joy and I remember giggling at the 6 am sudden alert that labor was starting. The pumpkin cheesecake, the smell of turkey that filled our tiny little home would never be eaten that Christmas day. There were presents under the tree for your brother, still unopened as we headed to the hospital, unable to wait it out at home any longer.

I remember being so calm, you were a foretold dream coming true.  God let us know you were coming months before we saw the 2 little pink lines. 

Preparation happened.

Our hearts were ready to make room for you even though we had just celebrated your brother’s 1st birthday.  There was no question in our hearts.

When you came out, in your broken little body, the urgency in the room was so thick. There was a holding of breaths and you were watched so closely as the brainstorming began. Thankfully I was in the post-birthing haze, and my fragile heart didn’t see the worry and concern that your daddy began to see.

Standing in the NICU at Seattle Children’s the next night at 12 am was surreal. Mountains were moved to allow your tiny family to be standing near your crib, complete, as we heard the daunting news. Yet, I still can’t deny….

Preparation happened.

I wasn’t a foreigner to the inpatient setting. In fact, I had worked at an inpatient Neuro Rehab Institute with brain trauma and spinal cord injury. I worked with patients and their families as they began to digest their forever changed storylines. My job was all about helping them learn how to adapt to not let the state of their bodies impact what they could and could not do. Again…

Preparation happened.

The day came, the day that Dr. Jacob walked in the room, calm with compassion in his eyes. I was alone. Your daddy was with your brother at the sibling playroom. I was wearing a grey shirt and black jeggings. The words, Cystic Fibrosis, left his mouth and I felt my knees give way. The ability to form words disappeared as the thoughts fled to dark corners in my soul. “Sarah, remember all that God has done for Ezzy” and with a little nod to his head, Dr. Jacob walked out the room. The same Dr. that came and held your mom and dad’s hands and prayed over you, just a few minutes before your life-saving surgery. Isn’t that so God?

Preparation happened.

Do parents ever recover from being told “you will stand over your daughter’s grave and there is nothing you can do about it”?

No, no, they don’t.

However, they do wake up one day and don’t think about the clock ticking away, but instead get caught up in the miracle of life, that every day is not promised.

Today Ezrah May, Ez, Ezzy, you are 12 years old. This is the last year before teenage years hit. I remember holding you in the middle of the night as the monitors beeped to your heartbeat and the wires covered your tiny little body. It was in those moments, as the world slept and I was wide awake afraid to miss one moment with you, that God told me “she is mine”. He encouraged me to pray over you, to be brave enough to ask Him to give you abundant life. So that is what I did, I rocked you to sleep and sang songs of victory over you. Begging and pleading for the chance to watch you take your first steps, to go to preschool, to get your ears pierced, score your first goal, lose teeth, and have your first crush. Guess what?!? I have seen ALL those moments.

Preparation happened.

When God began to let me truly see the fire he built inside of you and I thought that I might lose my mind.  He sent a kind soul our way to walk us through hard conversations as a family and became a safe place for you to say big things.  When you began to wrestle with the mortality of your disease and you admitted your fear of death, of being separated by your family, our Children’s Leader was right there to sit with you on the steps of Orton Ranch, while all the other kids played without a worry in the world.  When you faced the loss of your dog and realized that fear was your companion and grief was heavy, you sat on the steps in our church and poured out your soul to our Pastor, and asked questions that you had been carrying.  God didn’t let you deal with those big things alone.  Why?

Preparation happened.

I can’t believe that you are 12 years old. You are saying goodbye to the childish years and are entering into the years of womanhood. I now know what it feels like to have my mascara disappear or my shoes are worn without being asked or clothing finds its way into your closet. You linger at the adult table and no longer can handle the kids’ table. You have developed your own relationship with some of my closest friends and I have been reminded countless times I am not alone in raising you, there are other mommas who feel honored to hold your confidence. You love to write and tell stories, which can get you in trouble at times, but I can see that long-ago God revealed what was behind the veil to you. You don’t just see the surface, there is always more. More of the story to write. There is so much more to write Ez, why?

Preparation is happening.

Happy birthday Ezrah May. I have watched you grow and mature so much this last year. You are my constant help in running the house. You fill in on nights mom and dad have to work late and get dinner in the oven for us. You make sure the babies are tucked in and teeth brushed on nights we steal away for a last-minute date. You have learned how to process big things without massive outbursts and now articulate the inner workings of your soul that remind me of what a deep soul you are. With this birthday I am realizing that the things that were scary and unknown for me have become the very things that I have witnessed God work in mighty ways.

I don’t know what tomorrow brings us or you. I don’t know what the team of specialists will say at your appointments in January. I don’t know if the flu season will give us a scare. I don’t know if you will grow up to be an illustrator like you dream of doing. But this I know.

You are God’s cherished child. His plans for you are greater than any I could dream up. You were fearfully and wonderfully made. I get the best seat in the house to your story, front row, cheering you on each step of the way. Day by day, learning to trust the very God that breathed life into your lungs on December 26, 2009. Can’t wait to keep watching you reach milestone after milestone, why?

Preparation is happening.

Undeserved Grace

Kyrene Grace Harney

How are you a decade old? I have been thinking about your scrunched-up little face and you walking around with your piglet from Disneyland as a barely 2 yr old.

You were so quiet. You just wanted me, close by you at all times. I remember having to peel you off me to go to Naani and daddy.

I remember when I would look in your eyes there was always more behind what everyone saw. The wheels are always turning, you are fully aware of your surroundings and can interject an opinion to something when we all think that you are not paying attention.

I have become more aware of your desire to be heard, but only when you have a parent during a random one on one time. I can’t believe how many words you can fit in one breath. I realized it when I came home from quarantining from Covid…the silence that I had come to know in isolation was inundated by all the things you had been thinking in your 2 days of quarantine. When I would come to check on you in the hotel with Daddy while you were both isolated, I saw the crazed look in your father’s eyes…relief that there was another adult to listen to you.

Often, I don’t find you running the conversations in groups, you don’t have a lot of opinions, you listen, watch and process and usually don’t share unless you are asked.   I need to get better at that since the louder siblings tend to run the show in decision making time.

I was so blessed to experience a dream coming true on our recent Hawaiian vacation with you. Your love of horses since your early years has not waned. Look at the pure joy on your face, I almost tear up every time I look at this picture.

In fact, you have plans on being a horseback riding tour guide one day. When we presented you and your siblings with any special event in Hawaii, you picked horseback riding. I was so excited to experience this with you. It had been 20 yrs since I had ridden a horse. You were beaming on the drive there, anxiously holding your hands together, looking out the window for a glimpse of your dreamed destination.

When it came time to meet your horse for the day, I about gasped. He was the largest in the group, but they promised the gentlest one. I saw the hesitation come for a brief moment, your eyes widen as you stood on the step, holding your breath and then bravely climbing on top.

When you turned to look at me and our eyes met…that was when I decided that moment will forever be seared in my mind.

You took control of your horse and let him know you were not afraid…I wish I had your bravery. I fought my own set of fears as I realized I was at the complete mercy of an animal and no longer in control. You were so relaxed throughout the entire trail and beach ride. You led the pack and had a smile that never erased in the 2.5 hours.

I was so amazed with your confidence and ease. This massive horse named Leonard did not intimidate this tiny 9 yr old. Instead, he helped me see you in a new light my girl.

Kyrene Grace, I love your quiet confidence. You have excelled in so many things, but people have never said that you walk around like you know it. Sure, you joke with trusted people, but you encourage your team, you carry them, you don’t know that you are the best on the field. Your ability to read living creatures amazes me. I know when I am being read…sometimes I will tuck away so you don’t have to peer into my soul when I am needing a moment to figure myself out.

Animals run to you and yes sometimes run away when their love cups are overflowing and you still want to pour into them. When we had the sudden loss of Candy, your little heart was the one we were most concerned about. Not only do you feel deeply, but you love God’s creatures more than most people do. There is no living thing that you don’t care for…really, I remember having to explain to you that our chickens did not want or need hugs from you or talk you out of thinking you could have a sleepover in their coup with them.

On our last day in Hawaii God again invited me to look at you and your growing grace.

We visited a new beach while we all prepared ourselves for re-entry back to the real world. While the surfers caught some waves, you Kyre gathered the stray dogs on the beach. They tucked their heads under your hands, they wagged their tails…they knew there was no fear to be had with you, instead just love

That’s you Kyre, you love the lost, you are patient to the kids at school that need extra grace. You never leave a kid out, you are an includer…in fact it is upsetting to you when someone is left out

Your gentleness is becoming more apparent to me. The softness of your heart at times can be a little much for your “suck it up buttercup” momma…but then why else would God have given you to me Gracie? Because my hard heart that formed after Ezzy and her diagnosis, needed a quiet gentle soul to chip it away.

When we walked back to the house, heads kind of dropped as we all prepared to say goodbye to paradise, you came running to us to show us the baby geicko that you not only saw but was able to catch. Even your brother asked how you not only saw it but caught it. Awesome, not only do you have robot ears, but laser vision…

I am so thankful that God is faithful to bring us Grace, especially when we don’t deserve it.

I am so thankful that God entrusted your soul to us, quiet yet loud at times, competitor yet patient teammate, serious yet goofy at just the right moments and gentle yet stronger than you realize.

Kyrene Grace Harney, you are 10 yrs old today

Can’t wait to show you your surprise after school today

Love you Gracie

OUR GOODBYE

“Daddy will I get over this?”

Her words…things that she is having to process at such a young age.  I look up from my ipad to wait and see what he will say.  Knowing that every interaction we have with them during this time will shape how they grieve now and as well as adults.

“You will…it will get easier”

“my eyes can’t cry anymore”

I look her in the eyes and tell her “mine too…” and yet there they are again, running down my face

You are never prepared for loss.  It comes in moments that leave you questioning if it really happened.  You look around at your surroundings and take inventory…nope, it wasn’t a dream.  The waves of sadness come as the pull of anger brings them back out to sea.  The “what if’s”, the dreadful “should have’s”, they have way too much space in your heart and mind.

Yesterday our family had to say good bye to Candy, Ezzy’s therapy dog.

I wondered if I should keep this close, that it wouldn’t really matter to share. Yet I was reminded when we asked people to love and support Ezzy and raise funds to get Candy, all the funds were raised in 2 days and we had to shut down the Go-Fund me page well before we thought we would. So, I share this because many of you shared generously with us. You helped us get the sweetest little pup that fit in my hand when she was a baby.

Friday night I received a text message no parent wants to receive. I was in an important meeting. I immediately called Richard. The news came and I was left in complete shock.

Ezzy, our little warrior who has seen the fragility of life was faced with the unimaginable. Her therapy dog was run over by a car and left in the street with no one to help. The person didn’t stop…we were later told you could hear her dog yelping the next street over…Ezzy had to pick up her hurt dog and was bit 3x times due to the dog being in shock. Her bravery to think quickly and get help still amazes me. She arrived at the vet barefoot and wouldn’t leave her side until they told us, we would have to wait and see what would happen.

We prayed and asked God to help us. We waited. We held her as she sobbed in our arms.

A shattered pelvis, meant surgery…but surgery only done by a grade A orthopedic surgeon and off island, IF they felt they could even do it. Candy was sedated and couldn’t walk, bruises were already forming.

Yesterday we received the call…there was no fixing Candy

I had heard God prepare me on Sunday…she wasn’t going to make it. I went for a hike with our other dog yesterday morning and processed with God. “How do I help them grieve?”. I am fully aware of my brokenness and how I cope…which is not healthy. Isolation and shutting down is not healthy. I wanted to protect them and their little hearts. But God told me “Stop asking them to grieve how you do, you need to help them learn a new way”.

I took them to the beach to squeeze in some distraction, but ended up sitting at the beach crying with them all as we wrestled with the probability that the vet couldn’t fix Candy. I let them ask questions. I let them see me cry. I let them in. I went against the fibers of my brokenness. I saw these moments as sacred. Moments that were and are shaping their soulds.

The call came…its was time to say goodbye… I packed up the kids and headed home.

The vet gave Candy a dose of pain meds and Richard picked her up to bring her home to say goodbye to the kids.

There is nothing more heartbreaking then listening to your children say goodbye to a loved family member. “I am sorry” was uttered more than I want to hear again. “I am going to miss you” … “I love you Candy” …

I sat by them, I didn’t go and tuck away like I wanted too. Pain, my number one thing I run from. But instead, I listened to their hearts. We painted her toe nails and everyone held her one last time.

We placed her under her tree for one final picture…the place that would be her final resting place.

Richard and I held her in our arms and prayed over her and thanked God for the gift she was to our family. She brought so much joy and comfort to Ezzy throughout the last 6 years. I never knew that a family pet could be such a vital part of our story.

As her body was placed in the ground. Each Harney said what they would miss as they put the freshly dug dirt on the box.

The prancing of her little nails on our hardwood floor that Daddy would miss

Late night snuggles on the couch with mamma

hikes with brother

vest time with Ezzy

sock game with Kyre

face licks from boo

playing with bean

So, to answer the question that was asked…we are helping our kids learn that grief doesn’t have an end point. It comes and goes. It will hit us when we don’t expect it too. It will get easier, but it will forever be a part of us now.

As a friend told me, pets help us learn to love.

And Candy dog, Candy corn, sausage, Candy Harney…we are thankful for our time with you and love the thought of you running up in heaven and no longer in pain.

Thankful for the wonderful staff at island to island. Their care for Candy and our family was so compassionate.

Pint Size Boss

“Good morning my sweet sweet mama, huggie?”

Her tiny little voice is so distinct. Did the rest of the Harney 4 yr olds sound like her? They had to have…wait…not boo, she always had such a deep voice.

Her voice is so high pitched, that it reveals her small stature. Her little body barely takes up space in my lap. Small little fingers get engulfed with mine when our hands are entwined. I notice her little toes. Every pair of shoes she has ever worn has been used to the fullest. There were no major growth spurts.

I never have to doubt her thoughts or better yet affection for me. Whether I am in the shower and she comes to find me or is running past the kitchen chasing the dog, I always am told “love you mama”. What brings a smile to my face is when I am in a room with people and I feel eyes watching me, just to scan the room and see her little amber eyes staring right at me with a smile on her face. She always knows where I am.

Though she is tiny, don’t doubt her strength. She is a force to be reckoned with. How a pint-sized tiny human can rule the house is still amazing to me.

On a recent camping trip, Ezzy came back laughing and told the group of adults what she had just overheard.  “Daddy O”, the name Veil calls her dad…soon found out what happens when she is on day 2 of little sleep and he is not marching to the beat of her drum.  She informed him of her desires from inside the tent, while waiting for him to attend to her needs, but this time called him “Ricardo” a name that is reserved only for mama’s use.

I have watched her brother love her with great patience. I love seeing the adventures that they have, how he is always quick to tie a shoelace on a hiking trip, carry her on his back when she is done walking or helping her with her shinguards.

When Ezzy’s love cup is running low, its when I find her pulling Veil into her lap and snuggling her while watching a baby show on the IPAD…there is something about the peace you experience when you are being loved by Veil. She calms anxiety, when you let your breathing match hers. When you breathe in her sweet gentle spirit.

Kyrene, who does not have a nickname from her…the only family member who has not received one from Veil, is always and I mean always called Kyrene. Not Kyre, Ky, Kryrie or Kyre Grace like everyone else calls her. Kyrene has the strength to go toe to toe with the pint size boss that the rest of us don’t. Veil is determined to remind Kyrene who is the boss and does not take it well receiving orders from her.

Boo, Veil’s best friend knows her better than all of us. There is laughter in the early morning when they snuggle in bed together and then late night chats when they snuggle together. They are partners in all they do. Climbing counters to get food, dressing up to match, playing house, laying on the dog, watching shows together, they are inseparable. Veil LETS boo take care of her, when she demands independence from the rest of the siblings.

Somehow our caboose is 5. This year she will be entering into full-time school. No more half days to adjust our work schedule around. No more watching her siblings leave all day, now it is her turn.

I have often heard the youngest of a family say they felt forgotten or that by the time their parents got to them they were so tired, how they felt like they didn’t get all the attention they needed.

I often wonder what she will think. Will she know that her morning hugs settle the restlessness in me that wakes me every morning? Will she know that her daddy tears up when thinks about her love for him? Will she know that her brother’s tenderness will one day amaze his wife and she will need to thank Veil? Will Ezzy tell her how much she misses her snuggles when she is inpatient at the hospital and just needs some peace? Will her and Kyrene argue on the phone when Kyrene is adventuring the world and Veil still wants to remind her who is in charge? Will boo and Veil choose to go to school together or marry siblings so they never will have to be far away from each other?

All I know is that God was so good to give us this tender soul. Her cadence in life is marked with innocent joy. Her smile comes from her love cup that is full because she has let Jesus fill it, she loves to talk to Him at night. Her wit was given to make sure that her brain will make up for what her tiny body might allow people to assume is weak. Her light was meant to shine in dark places. Wow God…what a call you have on Veil Eden Harney. She is such a loved and treasured child of God.

Thanks for giving her to us…

Daddy O, sweet sweet mama, Bubba, Ezzy, Kyrene and boo are forever grateful for our bean

A cup overflowing

Ya’el Ariel Ruth Harney

Today you are 7 years old!!

I loved how last night while driving, we started to tell your birth story.  Your sisters’ eyes all widen, there was intrigue on their faces.  They were hanging on every word.  They wanted to hear what was next in your story.

There were giggles about the popsicles I walked to school with on the hot sunny last day of school for your older siblings. They heard how your daddy made me a meal I was craving just to spend the evening with me standing behind the couching swaying with every contraction, unable to eat anything.

The laugher that followed when your dad explained to them that he had to convince me to go to the hospital I didn’t want a lot of interventions, I didn’t want the wires and blood pressure cuff.  I wanted to birth as much as I could at home…but I let it go to far and your dad freaked out when the contractions were too close.  I stubbornly refused a wheelchair and it was the longest walk to the delivery ward.  By the time I got there the nurses were moving frantically.

Boo, my little love

You came so quickly.  I barely had to push.

But that is you boo. You are not demanding. You are pretty easy going. Always ready for a laugh, you are chill. In fact the more I have been watching you grow, the more I realize how compassionate you are. I love watching you in the early mornings with Veil. You are so patient. You take your time with her. You grab her cereal and pour her milk to keep her quiet when everyone else is still sleeping. You will give up your tablet, your will give her your blanket You are not a selfish child. You are so giving.

Boo this year I watched you mature even more. You are hungering for a deeper understanding of God. You told me last year that you wanted to get baptized. I listened and didn’t say much, because I don’t think you are ready. Because I didn’t respond to you the way you had hoped, you then went and talked to our pastor one day at his house and then the children’s leader. You are willing to take the time to understand something. You will ask questions. You want to know the truth.

That is one thing I have to say about you. You are a go getter. You don’t wait for someone to say “go ahead”. You are not timid. You don’t question your strength, but you don’t flaunt it either. You don’t power up. It’s really beautiful, actually. Seeing such a strong confident soul that is balanced with humility.

I love that joy is something you search out. It is something that was created to be poured out of you. You never miss a joke and when you laugh it is with your whole body. Your eyes squint just like your daddy and your dimples come through just like your momma. You love to laugh and don’t mind being the one to make another laugh.

Your heart is so tender. In the midst of your strength that is more mature than others realize, your heart is so giving. I have often heard from people who are hurting, “boo came up and hugged me” or “boo just came and held my hand”. You don’t ask permission to give affection and many times when you do, you are giving it to someone who is at the end of their rope. God has created you to love others even when they don’t ask for it, to press in and give them what they need even if they are not aware.

Ya’el Ariel Ruth

My prayer for you, mighty one on your birthday, is that you will be the fearless warrior for the kingdom of God that He has created you to be. He plans to use in you ways that will lead the hurt to His heart. He is going to send you to places where the people you are serving, loving, helping are going to be the ones that others have given up. He has put within you a holy fire to not be afraid to understand at such a young age to “do all things in love”. That joy cup that is overflowing in your life, its going to be your greatest weapon. Those that have been hurt deeply are going to be afraid to hope for joy, they are going to be hesitant with you, but you are going to bring the fun and light wherever you go. You are going to restore their joy deficits because you are going to lead them to the heart of God. People are not going to be able to deny that you are His. The enemy, the ruler of darkness should be afraid of you, because the light of God shines so purely from your heart.

I pray that you will not let the world shame you for your strength. Ever since the garden, the enemy has feared a strong woman with an inquisitive mind. The world wants to silence strong women. They want to give you labels when your strength is too much for them. There will be those that don’t want to see you succeed, that will want you to doubt yourself.

But baby girl, if you rest in how you were made, if you choose to give God the final say of your worth , if you keep your eyes on Him, if you let Him have your heart, He will never fail you. He will be your strength when the world tries to strip you of it. He will be your voice when the world tries to silence you. His heart will be what keeps your joy cup full.

To my sweet 7 year old. Momma and daddy are so thankful for the day you came into the world, wide eyed and ready to take in your surroundings. To my rainbow baby, God knew what He was doing, that you would heal the loss we experienced and He would reveal His perfect plan in you for our family.

Boo, happy birthday!