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"Walking Her Home"

by Mark Schulz

Looking back
He sees it all
It was her first date the night he came to call
Her dad said, "Son
Have her home on time
And promise me you'll never leave her side"
He took her to a show in town
And he was ten feet off the ground
He was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled it stole the breath right out of him
Down that old road
With the stars up above
He remembers where he was the night he fell in love
He was walking her home
Ten more years and a waiting room
At half past one
And the doctor said come in and meet your son
His knees went weak
When he saw his wife
She was smiling as she said he's got your eyes
And as she slept he held her tight
His mind went back to that first night
He was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled it stole the breath right out of him
Down that old road
With the stars up above
He remembers where he was the night he fell in love
He was walking her home
He walked her through the best days of her life
Sixty years together and he never left her side
A nursing home
At eighty-five
And the doctor said it could be her last night

And the nurse said Oh


Should we tell him now
Or should he wait until the morning to find out
But when they checked her room that night
He was laying by her side
Oh he was walking her Home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled when he said this is not the end
And just for a while they were eighteen
And she was still more beautiful to him than anything
He was walking her Home
He was walking her Home
Looking back
He sees it all
It was her first date the night he came to call
Even though Jason will never get to experience old age with Kara, this song is still a powerful
representation of the amazing and powerful love he had for her. I feel very fortunate to be
able to witness their amazing relationship. Thank you, Jason, for setting high standards for
my future husband.
~Letter from Kara~
An excerpt from
Dearest Jason,
Bright Eyes wrote a song "First Day of My Life" that says, "This is the first day of my life,
I'm glad I didn't die before I met you." When I first heard these words, I wept. I feel like
life--the life I've hunted for as that little, broken girl sitting beside the river--started with
you. I'm so grateful for each moment, each breath, each giggle, each moment next to you- a
lifetime of knowing the big and small places of each other. Together we have built a lifetime
of living, embracing, laughing to stomach each moment. Always laughing. You know every
corner of heart--ugly and beautiful. You embrace each morsel of this messy me, and meet
me with grace and generosity. You give me the courage to overshare it all--on my blog, in
these pages, with friends--because at the end of the oversharing, I'm loved. All of me. Loved.
I never fret a mistake. I never fear you moving toward distance. You have spent your breaths,
your moments, your love moving near to my heart. You reminded me of goodness when the
story begins to suffocate. The one moment next to you was worth all that has been painful.
You have given me moments of grace when I placed you in the place of Jesus, but you
always shepherded me back to my true love. Always reminded me of my true heart, the
answer to my deepest need. Jesus, You have led me so gently and so well.

While cleaning--let's be honest, while looking for a reason not to clean today--I found the
journal I started for us so many years ago. The journal where we were going to write down
the dreams we had for our marriage and our life together. I wrote only three entries in it.
Sounds like me, all ideas and little follow-through, but I like to imagine I put that journal down
and walked into the beautiful horizon of our marriage and stopped trying to create idols of
what life should look like, and actually just sought life and faithfulness in the living. I'm sure in
some ways we did that, in some ways we didn't. I will share the two dreams I listed all those
years ago when we were babies trying to figure out how to love each other well.
My first dream for us is that our love would be unceasing. That we would both give to each
other in the motivation to see the other grow. My hope is that our love would be enriched as
we get to know each other better. That the passion we have for one another would be
intensified rather than dulled.
The next dream is to have children. Everything in me knows that I am made to be a mother.
All that I do now is to prepare a healthy environment for my children to be raised in. My
dream is to not only have children, but also to be a wonderful mother who displays
unconditional love to my children.
In so many ways, we met these simple and huge dreams, exceeded these dreams, met our
limitations in these dreams, and found this life of ours. Stumbling next to you has always
promised to be a safe place to fall. You have walked in grace before me, whispering truth,
reminding me of love, giving me freedom to walk, run, stumble, and fall in the confines of your
loving acceptance. A love I had not known in another person before meeting you, you have
given me an environment to flourish within. You have given me the motherhood I longed to
have. You have blessed me with your kindness in the face of unkindness. You have gently led
me, loved me, protected me, and shown me a true Jesus. Not the Jesus I want to createeasy, comfortable. But the real Jesus who takes love seriously. A Jesus of mercy, truth, and
grace. You have faithfully walked your faith before me.
Dear heart, you do marriage so well. Pridefully, I think it could be one of the greatest
accomplishments of your life. When I was first diagnosed, I hurt at the thought of leaving you,
possibly sharing you with another. Then one beautiful day it dawned on me. Would I really
want this man who does marriage better than any I have met or seen- would I really want
him to give up that beautiful place in his heart, in his life? As you often have seen, Jesus is
patient and kind to point out my selfishness and pride.
Dearest husband, you have done husband well. You have loved me so big; you have loved me
so wide and so deep. Jason, if I said it all day, every day, in my dreaming, in my waking, in my
loving, in my arguing, in my writing--Thank you and I love you-- it wouldn't be enough. You
gave me the life I never dreamed possible. You have braved your faith with integrity in front
of this pitiful, weak, vessel, and it was beautiful to behold. Beautiful to be led by such grace.
Keep loving big in your servant-hearted ways. Love with gentleness, especially when the
gentleness is hard to come by. Give it away; there is no reason to keep it to yourself. I know

your heart is about to break into a million tiny pieces. I believe something beautiful is going to
grow out of that terrible, ugly hard. I'm afraid, but I'm not afraid for you. You will wake to the
daily faithfulness you have walked in for years through hard upon hard. The plan is good,
even if the path is hard. I trust Him, I trust Him, I trust Him!
-------------------------------~Letter from Jason~
An excerpt from
There is an older couple, maybe in their early seventies, who regularly walk in our
neighborhood. Always next to each other. In the summer, they hold hands, but so far never in
the winter. Sometimes I overhear words they exchange, but I can never understand what
they are talking about. Grandkids maybe? Kids? A long retirement together? Our assumptions
of people are many times mysterious.
As I write this, Kara and I are awaiting the results of another PET scan; this is beginning to
settle in as our pattern. I wait, and my mind goes all over the place as I ponder our
mysterious future. How will this test that I can't explain change my future, my next hours,
days, months, and, yes, years?
I think about the older couple often because they hold something that I want. Though I have
no idea what they face, I imagine theirs as a pleasant life. Pleasant enough that they don't
hold hands in the winter. Truthfully, I have avoided meeting them. They hold the picture of
what I want.
I know a man, who I rarely talk to but I would call a friend, who embodies the opposite. He
has walked the path of losing a young wife to cancer. I avoid him, though I know the day is
coming when I will call him and all I will do is cry. Because a mystery will be gone. The
unknown will be less mysterious. The imagined dark days will be known.
It is the mystery of life that I hate, the unknown, the confusion, the truth that I am powerless
against what I fear the most. As you have just finished reading Kara's words, you know she
deals with the same- living in peace when life screams something different. Even though out
path carries a story of cancer, I would never trade a day that Kara and I have shared
together. Never.
All of us know something of the mystery of this life. As you have read these words, I hope
that you will move toward the One who knows the mystery and has a purpose for all things. I
hope your deep questions will be answered by the grace that is present, that you will know
family and friends and community, and that you will understand a peace that runs through
this world and beyond. I am a witness that is hard, but it is beautiful.
True Love...
by Kara Tippetts

I remember the first years of marriage being a struggle because I had such unrealistic
expectations of what marriage was supposed to be. The world jades us and causes us to
create idols of what true love is.
What romance is. Very little of service, sacrifice, and kindness is portrayed in love stories we
have been fed. Jason had a much more clear understanding of love than I did. Plus, his
personality is gentle and giving. From the start, he knew romance, in its true form, was simple
service and kindness.
A friend of ours was visiting and we were all on a blanket reading. She noticed Jason look at
me. He noticed my glasses were dirty; he took them off me and cleaned them and then
replaced them. She said it was such a touching moment for her, that she saw such love in his
action.
I rarely get flowers, but guess what? I dont miss them. Reader, I am loved in such bigger
ways than that. Every morning my man brings me a cup of coffee made just right. I cant
even tell you how I like my coffee. I like my coffee how Jason makes it. He brings it to me in
the chair where we read our Bibles side by side and talk through lifes concerns. Every
chemo I had amazing daytime nurses, but only one hunky night nurse. I would wake up, tell
my symptom, and my dear night nurse would know just how to care for me. Some nights he
was up four or more times. Jason has taken the helm of bedtime, bath time, most all
discipline and household chores, on top of caring for me, without complaint. He loathes the
tooting of his horn that I do here, but I feel strongly that he can really help men in his
example.
My mentor and prayer partner asked me to send her this picture.
She sent this beautiful email to her daughters who are planning a wedding:

One day I will go into detail how I can see how many marriages dont make it through such a
trial as cancer. I dont want to portray a false reality to this very hard season we are facing.
But today, I agree with my friendlove counts in the raw meat moments of marriage when
very little is reciprocated. Very little of what the world calls love has found its way to Jason
in these past months, but his love has only increased, not withdrawn. He has seen me at my
most ugly and still calls me beautiful. Bald, dark eyed, unable to stand, sick beyond sick, and
yet he is still fond of me. He loves me from a place much deeper than what the world calls

love. My guy knows Jesus well. He understands unconditional love like no one I have ever
met. He drinks deeply from the One who loves him best, and from that place he is able to
love beyond his own strength. That is truly the source of Jasons ability to love with such
grace, humility, and sacrifice.

1 John 4

Dearest Jason,
First, I love you. I love you. Thank you for loving our kids in their strange sock demands.
Thank you for making the best, the very best coffee. Thank you for scraping the car
windows. Thank you for filling my gas tanks. I love you.
Thank you for knowing when I need a little time away. Thank you for loving our kids with
kindness when you dont feel kind. Thank you for fighting for gentleness when everything in
you doesnt feel gentle. You spent last year essentially without me, and you did it so
beautifully. I did life without you for two days and failed miserably. My failure was good for my
heart- I have so much to learn from you dear heart.
Thank you for doing life next to me. You make me want to do life well. Life next to you helps
me want to live near to Jesus. You have always been that example. Forgive me for blowing it
so big today. If days come, and you dont have me next to you, please know Im filling that
bucket of absence with my prayers right now. Im praying for those hard future days. Im
praying that grace will be present when Im not there to help with the socks, the lunch
packing, and the slow bowl drinking daughters. Im praying when you blow it, that our kids are
quick to forgive you like they were with me this morning. Im praying joy will return quickly on
the hard days.
Come home! Come home! We miss you. Life just works better with you. We have always said
a few days apart is so good to remind us of each other and grow appreciation. These two
days have grown so much love and appreciation for you. You are a gift to my heart. I love
you!

If I Tried

With all that remains, I couldn't love you enough to show you what you mean to me. You have
given me the life I couldn't dream for myself. You have brought me joy, laughter through the
tears, sunshine in the storm. You bring me hope when I am hopeless, and you walk faithfullyever so faithfully beside me pointing me to Jesus when I forget to look for him.
If I could give you all the retro VW buses, snow days, fires, messy candles, and joy filled
wrestling moments it wouldn't be enough. You have made my life more than I could ever
imagine. You love me so well.
So how about this. Let's fly away together- just us. Let's run away together, rent a
convertible and stick our feet in the sand. Let's eat at odd hours, read books, remember the
goodness we have known together. Let's cry for the pain in our departing and thank Jesus
for what has been given, what love will remain. Let's remember and grow quieted by the love
we have been blessed with together. Let's run away and remember.
Happy birthday Jason. You have made us the best of who we are. I'm indebted to you a good
life. The life I barely hoped to dream of for myself. My heart is full, there is no room for
bitterness because of the love I know. Sure I long for more days- who wouldn't, but I'm
thankful for what is, what has been and what will be. I know you will continue to make your
life beautiful. Jesus will help, as will our little people. They will keep you going. They will
remind you of the goodness of us.
I love you today, tomorrow, and forever dear heart. Now, let's find you a 1970 VW bus to
tinker with to celebrate the birth of you.

Remarkable Peace
by Jason Tippetts
Kara has written about the long goodbye, and as much as it is heart-wrenching it is also
peaceful. As I write I am watching Kara wrestle to sleep. Her sleep is mixed with moving
pillows for comfort, sitting up to relieve pain, taking medication, or trying to communicate
with me. But sometimes her sleep is the quietest and most peaceful event of her day. My
long goodbye is full of watching and reliving memories of our life together.
I have great memories of us that will last a lifetime, no length of goodbye will take them. I
have an us that cannot be lost. And I still get small moments where we are us. But I grieve
as I watch her fade. The peace that is in our house is amazing, peace in the midst of tears,
peace in the midst of impending loss, but it is peace.
I want all of you to know how thankful I am for your support and prayer. As I struggle to pray,
I know you are praying for our family. My prayers seem to turn into puddles of tears. But you
are an encouragement to us.

I know I will carry these last memories of peace.

John 14:27-28
I like this passage in John because it is not calling me to work for peace, but it tells me why I
have peace, and the peace I have is Jesus' peace (my peace I give to you). The peace I know
is mine because it is His.
Peace is Christs distinctive giftnot money, not worldly ease, not temporal prosperity.
These are at best very questionable possessions. They often do more harm than good to the
soul. They act as clogs and weights to our spiritual life. Inward peace of conscience, arising
from a sense of pardoned sin and reconciliation with God, is a far greater blessing. This
peace is the property of all believers, whether high or low, rich or poor.
J. C. Ryle
How does God's peace move in where fear wants to live?

Trouble with Pronouns


by Jason Tippetts
When Kara and I were first married, I was very independent. I was 5 years older than she and
had more time to create who I was; simply, I was selfish. Early on in our marriage I had a
really hard time using the we and not the I. This led to a lot of arguments. It seemed to
take years of conscious effort on my part to live life in the plural. But I did it. I became a
we and an us, and that shaped how I made decisions, how I spoke, and what I did on the
weekends. This became a natural and joyful part of my life, to continually include the feelings
and opinions of another in all decisions.
Now I am an I. It seems so simple, but it is a dramatic struggle. When I was a we, I would
look at the future and think of things we would do or plan. We would talk through everything.
What do I do with those dreams? Our plan of growing old together, sitting in rocking chairs,
and being grandparents is gone. In my present circumstance, my expected future is not
realistic.
Marriage is such a shaping relationship; to be out of this relationship is confusing. One of the
books that I have really enjoyed is Jerry Sittser's
. He writes from his
experience of losing his mother, his wife, and a young daughter in one horrible accident. This
accident forever changed his circumstance and his expectation of life.

If that remains my expectation, then I will surely be disappointed. But perhaps I can expect
something else that is equally good, only different. I have the opportunity and privilege, for
example, to raise my children now as a single father, to learn to enjoy life and find
contentment as a single man, and to gain wisdom through the experience of suffering. Again,
my expectations can remain high if I am willing to adapt them to new circumstances.
I don't like this new circumstance, but it helps me to embrace my new reality. Im a widower,
I dont have a wife, I am a single dad to four wonderful kids. But even in these I can have
great expectations. I have slowly come to adjust to my new circumstance; I know the
adjustment is not over and it will be a lifelong process.
The more I see how God's grace shows up in my present circumstances, the more I have a
high expectation of the same in the future. God is God of my present and He is God of my
future. He is the one who provided the joy in our marriage and He will provide for me now.
How do your present circumstances affect what you expect in your future? These
circumstances can be welcome or broken, but they play a role in what you expect. How do
you see God providing in the midst of your circumstance?

Summer of Wonder
by Jason Tippetts
Kara and I always talked about everything; every plan, struggle, joy-filled part of our days
were fuel for conversation. During the last few weeks of her life, we talked less about the
near future. She would encourage me and tell me that I would do great. She even joked that I
could do life without her but she could not live without me.
When I began to think about what to do this summer, I mentioned to her that the kids and I
might take a long road trip...
When you are watching a loved one slowly fade from life, it is an event to ask pertinent
questions about passwords, accounts, wills, and wishes. As well as the love and joy life has
brought, but talking about plans that you will have in their absence is excruciatingly hard.
Anytime I bought up the summer plans of 2015, I was accompanied by tears. I would cry and
Kara would be the logical one. But Kara in her grace entered my plans. She allowed me to
process with her events that she would not be a part of. I cannot explain how this grace has
helped me.
So I bought a used RV with some savings we had, I took the kids out of school early, and we
headed off. We will be gone for weeks (yes, we have a house sitter and attentive neighbors).
We will wander through the U.S., dipping our toes in every state that we can. I like goals and
measurable things, so we colored all the states we have visited, and the goal is to finish
coloring the map. We will visit states and family and friends until the kids learn how to form a

mob and overthrow me.


Kara and I have always been adventurous. In 16 years of marriage, we moved 10 times; we
had four kids (moving twice during one of her pregnancies!); we bought a clothing store; she
started a handful of small businesses; we worked at a camp one summer near Yosemite; we
were innkeepers at a B&B; I started a business, was a snowboard instructor, PE teacher,
worked at four churches and attended two seminaries. Twice we moved over 1000 miles
away to new cities with no jobs and no friends.
I want my kids to experience the joy of new people and places. I want them to live without
fear of failure and enjoy the journey of life. I want them to know how adventurous their mom
was. We have enjoyed this trip so far, and I love how chatty the kids get when its their turn
to sit in the front with me. I have also used the phrase, Do you want me to pull this thing
over and come back there?! So, it is an official road trip.
I am continually reminded that Jesus is the great Immanuel, God with Us. He is with me, and
us. He takes my fear, my insecurities about the future and meets me. I can't grasp this
seemingly simple truth, He loves me enough to meet me and be with me in my struggle. I
resolve to believe this every day, and every day I miss Kara. Its an ugly dance.
And now we are off because my oldest wants to taste fresh lobster from Maine
Dear Kara,
I have never met you personally, but the impact you have made on my life is tremendous.
When I was younger no one in my family knew the Gospel, so I was not raised in the truth
during my earliest years. It was not until 5th grade that my family and I joined the church we
currently attend. That's when my real journey of faith began. Still being young in my faith
back then, I was still very weak spiritually. I didn't really have strong friendships or close
mentors, so I had to carry the majority of my burdens myself. The summer before 8th grade
was when I truly experienced God and was set free from the chains that had been holding me
hostage. I had experienced the Holy Spirit occasionally during worship before, but that
summer was when my faith was strengthened for good, and I officially dedicated my life to
Christ. Since then, my story has taken a turn for the better.
As I grew closer to my church community, I knew I wanted to love on them on their birthdays
and other holidays because we never really did anything special on those days in my house.
After coming to follow your story, I realized that I didn't have to wait until those special days
to love on my church community. Instead, I should be showing them love every time I see
them. Thank you for teaching me this valuable lesson.
Unfortunately, I don't remember how I was led to Mundane Faithfulness. What I do remember
though is that God taught me more about His love and grace through your story. I just wish it
didn't take such hard suffering to have your readers and loved ones come closer to Christ
and reflect back on our own lives.

That first week knowing that you were in Heaven was probably one of the hardest weeks I
had to go through. As I left church on March 22nd, something in my heart told me that an
update would be posted on the Mundane Faithfulness Facebook page. Something else told
me that the news would not be something I wanted to hear.
Sure enough, as I was finishing up my English project that evening, I checked Facebook
during a short break and came upon the update I was dreading. Of course, I rejoiced knowing
that you had flew away to be safe with Jesus for eternity, but my heart still hurt for your
community. I know how much you mean to them and I know that sending you Home to Jesus
was not easy for them. It definitely has not been easy for me, and I think I can say the same
for anyone else who has come to love you either. We are all walking on this journey of
seeking God's grace and love in the aftermath of your Homecoming together.
Being the oldest in my family, my heart specifically ached for Ella. If I am not mistaken, she
will be setting off into high school in the fall. My own mom has been a huge supporter to me
throughout my high school years, and I hurt knowing that Ella won't be able to have her mom
on this side on Heaven to support her through those years. I know not being physically
present in their lives must be hard for your other children at times too. I have 2 younger
brothers and a lot of my friends are younger than me. I can't imagine any of us living without
our moms. Even though hard days will come, I know that God's grace will be able to carry all
the people that love you through their darkest moments, no matter what they are facing.
Music is one of the ways I cope with hard in my life. One of the playlists is specifically to
encourage my heart when I'm overcome by grief. There's one song in particular that I always
revisit. It's called "For Good" from the musical Wicked. One specific part goes like this:
It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have rewritten mine
By being my friend...
I'm pretty sure everyone whose heart you've touched would be able to say this, not just the
people who had the priviledge to know you personally. I hope you get to enjoy the farm
you've always wanted on Earth in Heaven. I can't wait to finally meet you.
Until we meet in Heaven,
Yay

---------------------

Me
by Kara Tippetts
Simple title. Im awake late at night with a desire to tell my new readers about me. I want to
tell about the me that has nothing to do with cancer. Dear reader, I want to tell you a few
snippets of me apart from the battle Im facing.
First, I have a great aversion to green peppers, all other peppers are safe, but I hate green
peppers. On the topic of loathing, peas would be top of that list, unless in fried rice or
sparsely in vegetable soup, sparsely. Ive never liked chocolate cake, and I think Ive had
people not like me for this alone. I was almost booed off the stage speaking at the kids
school when I said this out loud. I have a heavy salt hand. When my cardiologist said I was his
only type of patient he requires eat lots of salt, I was elated.
I love the smell of a skunk. Love it! When we pass the faint smell of a skunk on the road
Jason turns to me and says, do you smell that little hug from Jesus? I wear patchouli,
which would help make the skunk part make sense. Given the choice I would pick mountains
over ocean, but I love how small looking at the vast ocean makes me feel.
Im sure you have noticed, but Im a kisser. I love to kiss my people. Dont worry, my kissing
love is only for my people. I love a smooch, but Im the biggest fan of a hug and a long
snuggle. I call my first born my sweet moosh mouth and ask if she would give me her
beautiful lips. She is still a generous kisser to her mama, and more so when she knows Im
struggling. I love this about her. All my kids are generous with their affection. Little bit kisses
and hugs and loves all day long. If weve been apart for a time, I know I have to sit down for
Story love time to catch up on what weve missed in our hours apart.
I love to dance. I could be exhausted, in pain, past myself, and I will not get off the dance
floor. It is one of my most favorite things to do. I love planning a dance party. Love it. I love
watching my kids dance, and I love to dance with them. I love the face Jason makes when he
joins me dancing. Hes a mix of happy and when will it be over. I love all kinds of music, and
will look for any reason to have a dance party. Its my favorite thing about weddings.
I remember things in vivid detail. Most of my memories are based on what we ate. I have
distinct food memories and smells. In these two pictures, I remember exactly what I was
laughing at.
I think salad, all salad, tastes better when someone else makes it. I can build a lovely salad,
but I honestly think a salad made by another tastes better. The smell of bacon reminds me of
my grandma hero. Jason has grown me into a huge Mexican food fan. Huge.
Im an English major who has always wanted to be a farmer. I feel deeply at home sitting in

an adirondack chair overlooking a large garden. I remember when my grandma taught me how
to cut with a knife moving toward my thumb in her garden prepping for making tomato sauce.
I felt reckless and adult. I wanted to eat my weight in her warm summer tomatoes.
I do not mind what my kids wear, if they steal from my clothes, if their socks are two
opposing neon, if their hair is standing up. I micro manage teeth brushing and bedtime,
beyond that Im open. We require fruit for snacking, and kindness. We ask everyone to take a
thank you bite of everything. Its the bite that says thank you for the effort you took in
making me this. But we do not require our kids clean their plates. Dessert only comes on
occasion and to those who ate well.
Though I love reading, I would rather sit in the bed chatting with my littles while I rub their
feet with lotion. I love a great book, but my favorite is to hear the story of my kids day.
Knowing this I try to read with my kids before dinner.
I love the color green, have always wanted to wear fancy boots like Pioneer Woman, and I
think my personality would be best suited driving an old Chevy truck. An old one with the
wood slats on the back.
I had a season where I shared a booth at an antique mall with my Shellie. I started an
obsession with metal boxes. I sold one particular toolbox and I still miss it. She liked beautiful
Frenchy things, and I loved dirty metal stuff that probably required an updated shot record to
enjoy. We were a perfect team. Cancer and an adoption stopped us. One day we will be back
in business.
I love having the strength to be out. Just out. Out in nature out enjoying a park, out meeting
another mama. I love it.
Dont get me started on fire. I love fire. Love, love, love it. I would never be satisfied with
logs where the flames are always the same. I love wood burning, fire popping, warm, hot fire.
Im not a jewelry girl, but what I do wear has great meaning to me. Wedding ring, first
Mothers Day bracelet, ten year anniversary necklace. Jason knows I love the simplicity of
Tiffanys. They always steer him right.
My guy has my heart. He knows how I like my coffee, he knows I like long hugs, he enjoys
endless hours of talking with me. People think Im the vocal one, but alone, hes a big
communicator. Jason knows how to make me laugh the hardest. It starts with his break
dancing routine.
I like public speaking. It makes me incredibly nervous. But I weirdly like nervous. Its like the
nervous before a first kiss. Last time I spoke at the kids school I asked for a microphone.
They gave me one with a chord. I had more fun with that microphone than I should have. I
thought I was Bob Barker and walked and swung that chord and told way more jokes than I
expected.

My sister has a dress I love. I made her let me wear it when I met one of my favorite authors.
Two weeks ago I had just come to from surgery heard I had cancer, and got on the phone
with my sister. Her most lovely friends had taken her shopping to distract her. I got on the
phone, we cried a little, and I said, did you get me Frye boots? Did you put the dress in the
mail? I use my cancer card to tease my sweet seester. And she teases me right back.
Im facing hard, but I like my life, I really do. I love to laugh, and eat, and love on my people. I
see each moment as a treasured gift. Now you know me a little better, tell me something
quirky I dont know about you?
Thank you dear reader for listening to the random musings of this one mama. It was really
nice to take a break from cancer. Tonight I get to go watch my girl play her last volleyball of
the season. Its also a fund raiser for our family. The girls have planned all sorts of special
treats for tonight. We are so very excited to participate. Come on out to ECA and support
the Lady Eagles in their last game of the season.

Homecoming
by Blythe Hunt
Kara Tippetts went Home to Jesus on March 22, 2015, after a long battle with breast cancer.
Born Kara Lynne Thewlies on July 14, 1976, she grew up in Noblesville, Indiana, and earned
her BS in English Education at Indiana University. She met her husband Jason Tippetts at
Eagle Lake Camp, a Christian camp located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They were married
on May 16, 1998.
Kara was led to Christ in high school after a youth leader read her a tract about Christianity
and a friend invited her to youth group. Hearing a message about forgiveness prompted her
to seek a relationship with Jesus, where she found total acceptance, kindness, and Grace.
While she didnt experience instant change in her life, dramatic changes were softly, slowly
occurring in her heart as she trusted Christs love for her and allowed it to alter how she
viewed the world and the people around her. She saw the difference a gentle word could
make in response to an ugly remark, how an outstretched hand could break barriers of a
hardened heart. Kindness became Karas passion; it defined her relationship with Jason, and
then her four children: Eleanor, Harper, Lake, and Story Jane.
Answering a call to plant Westside Church in 2012, the Tippetts moved to Colorado where
they soon after had to evacuate their home due to the Waldo Canyon Fire. It was this same
summer that Kara received her breast cancer diagnosis. Despite beginning aggressive
treatment for the cancer, Kara put her whole heart into growing and developing the new
community that would become Westside, reaching out to others and teaching by example
how to love and care for people well and sacrificially. An extrovert with a big, warm

personality, Kara befriended neighbors, grocery baggers, those in line with her at Starbucks,
other moms from her childrens school. She never hesitated to share a smile and a kind
word. Her personality was magnetic, attracting people of all kinds, and she treated each
friend as though they were her very favorite.
Her well known blog
, where she originally posted about motherhood
and living in kindness, became a blog about looking for Gods Grace to show up even in the
hardest, messiest, ugliest places. It was a window into her life of chemo, church planting,
spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen with her littles, her passion for Jason, her passion
for those who dont know Jesus, and her struggle to accept her growing cancer as Gods
story for her life. Her self-described mundane life appeared anything but mundane to her
readers who inevitably fell in love with her inviting, joyful personality and her love for and
trust in Jesus; readers were attracted to her honesty, vulnerability, sense of humor, and
simple faith. She never hesitated to share the hard moments, but she always pointed her
readersand herselfback to Jesus.
As the cancer spread, Kara courageously embraced her situation, trusting in a Sovereign
God. She believed that cancer was not the point, but Jesus was; how she responded and
trusted Christ in the midst of this hard was where she would find Grace. As Kara and her
family processed what God was calling them to live out, she invited her community to join her
journey through this seemingly impossible ordealhow would she trust God in the midst of
sickness? And then, how would she trust God in the midst of dying?
In the fall of 2014, David C. Cook published her story,
. The response to
Karas book has been overwhelming. In high demand, Kara toured and spoke as her physical
condition allowed, touching even more people with the gift of her story and perspective.
Christmas neared, and the physical became more difficult. Kara fought harder than ever to
live well and love others well and with intentionality, especially Jason and their children. She
refused to be defined by cancer and considered every moment a gift and an opportunity to
learn more about Grace and trusting God; she believed suffering was not an absence of
beauty, but an opportunity to understand Gods love on a deeper level. Kara recently wrote,
My little body has grown tired of battle, and treatment is no longer helping. But what I see,
what I know, what I have is Jesus. He has still given me breath, and with it I pray I would live
well and fade well. By degrees doing both, living and dying, as I have moments left to live. I
get to draw my people close, kiss them and tenderly speak love over their lives. I get to pray
into eternity my hopes and fears for the moments of my loves. I get to laugh and cry and
wonder over Heaven. I do not feel like I have the courage for this journey, but I have
Jesusand He will provide. He has given me so much to be grateful for, and that gratitude,
that wondering over His love, will cover us all. And it will carry uscarry us in ways we
cannot comprehend.
Kara is survived by her husband Jason; her children Eleanor Grace, Harper Joy, Lake Edward,
and Story Jane; her parents Carolyn and Dennis Thewlies; her sister Jonna McMahon (Mike)
and their three daughters; her brother Dennis Thewlies, Jr., and his son and daughter; and
countless other loving family members, in-laws, mentors, friends, and her Westside Church

family.
~Letters from Kara~

Letters to my readers upon my death


I just wrote the simple title: Letter to my readers upon my death, and I'm undone. This is a
letter I have written in my head for months, but putting the first words on paper is my
undoing. I cannot begin to use this simple language to express the heart of what I feel for
this community. There is so much love in this community I can barely take it all in at times. I
have been prayed for, cried over, my story shared over and over. You all can't know the love
I have felt from each of you.
It's impossible for me to not imagine coming to this place again to share my heart new with
you. It seems impossible that this journey has finally come to an end. But I've done gone and
flown away to the land of no more tears- won't you rejoice with me? My pain is gone, my
fears are calmed, I'm in the sovereignly good hands of Jesus. He is my forever enough now.
What bliss I'm sure I'm enjoying. It's hard for me to separate my feelings for that place and
this.
If you have known my heart and met me here, would you commit my family to your prayers.
Prayers of knowing the nearness and comfort of God. For the rest of their days, not simply
the coming months. Would you commit them to the heart of your praying? I know it's a large
ask- but God is big, and I believe you are capable of this kind of big prayer love for my family,
my community. I believe God has beautiful things in store for my people, and I'm greatly
comforted thinking of all of your prayers backing my loves.
I have prayed long and hard about what will come of Mundane Faithfulness- this simple place
where grace is raised high and Jesus is exulted. Jason and I have decided to keep it going
with the special care of two of my friends. My web designer, Jacob, and my Blythe are going
to continue sharing these words of grace. They have all my archived writings and Blythe will
be offering her original writings as well as guest posts from my friends. Jason is also planning
on sharing- but he may need a little time. I know y'all will be gentle with him. His heart must
be unbelievably broken just now. He will find his footing, and y'all must know- you are
important to him. He reads your words as diligently as I do.
I don't know how to adequately express thanks to each of you. You have stumbled with me in
this journey towards my last breath with such comfort and grace. I'm humbled to have been
given such love and care from mostly strangers. It's astounding. Thank you.
I love you dear reader. Our time together has been a highlight of my life. You have prayed me
through so many difficult circumstances. So many days you were the grace that showed up.
Our family has known such peace as a result of your faithful praying for our family. Thank

you. Thank you. Thank you.


~Letters from Kara to her children~
(The first one is an excerpt from

My dearest littles,
Oh, how I wish this letter were written to my grown children. How I yearn and pray for long
days with each of you. Sometimes I see glimpses into what each of you are going to become,
but there is so much of your story not yet written. As any mama would desire, I want your
story to be a beautiful story. I have always longed for a beautiful story where each of you
learns to lean into Jesus, love Jesus, know Jesus, understand that his nearness is your good.
I never imagined that beauty being accomplished in hard--suffocating hard.
Reflecting on my own heart, my own growth, my own embracing of truth, it came through
deep hard, desperate hurt, and brokenness. I know, that I know, that I know, that this was
how God grew beauty in me, but I quietly longed for your story to be different. I hoped the
deep love your dad and I share and have for each of you would be enough to make your story
amazing. It does, but ugly beautiful is part of your story as well. I pray your hearts do not
grow hard, bitter, or angry at the hard that has entered your life.
I want to be there. I want to see who you become, how God shapes you. I want to see if you
choose lots of makeup or none. I want to know if you love to hike or prefer to snuggle to a
book. I want to know if you fiercely enter community expecting the best of life or if you
quietly observe and receive love in small graces. I want to know how you will smell. I know
your baby smell; will that follow you or will you join me in wearing hippy essential oils? Will
you remember in tastes and scents of moments? I want the moment when all of you children
gather and confess the sneaky things of childhood Daddy and I didn't see, didn't know. The
sibling secrets confessed in the safety of adulthood. Places you hid the food you didn't want
to eat or the trouble you found when we were away to dinner. I want the laughter of the
moments confessed and forgiven. I want the laughter of the moments confessed and
forgiven. I want the moments when you tell me of my failures and the times I hurt your heart.
I want to be there to enjoy the beauty of reconciliation in my weakness and repent of my sin
and hurt I inflicted on your heart. I want those moments. I want to ask your forgiveness and
learn a new love in the place of our forgiveness.
I want to know your loves. I want to walk through the hurt of your loves big and small. I want
to always be the comforter who points you to the Comforter. I want to know you, really know
you. I want to ask hard questions and be asked hard questions in return. I want to be with
each of you when you reach the age of understanding and remember this hard season of
cancer. I want to hear how we protected you, how we failed, how we showed you grace. I
want to process the returned pain of your memory of your sick mama and hurting daddy. We
loved, we loved, we loved, but we keenly knew the weakness of ourselves in that season. I
want to be with you as you begin to process that season fresh as an adult.

I want to dance. I want to dance at your graduation, your wedding, while we wash dishes,
when days are painful. I want to dance to loud music, quiet music, music that reminds us of
our limits. I want to slow dance with you on my toes, fast dance silly, and just dance because
it's Tuesday.
I long for the want of these moments to make them so. As I have breath today, I will live the
life I have been given to love as well as I can. I will seek forgiveness in my failing. Each breath
is a gift, as each of you children have been to me. Past Jesus and your daddy, you are the
very richest gifts. You have shown me love I didn't know I could feel. You introduced me to
limits in myself that I did not know. You all showed me to seek grace at the end of myself.
You have extended sweet forgiveness when I flew from the boundaries of grace and kindness.
You met me in my bottom with love and laughter. You walked our hard with beautiful grace.
The hardest part for me is ending this letter. I never want it to end. I want these words,
these loves shared, these graces to never stop being named. I want to sit around every meal,
hearing the intricacies of your days. I want to put the meal before you but feast on your
living, your loving, and your hard. So as long as I have breath to breathe, I pray you learn the
naming long past my last breath.
Eleanor Grace, Harper Joy Sonnet, Lake Edward, and Story Jane: I love you. I love being your
mama. I love each moment I was granted besides you. When you meet the edges of life, the
hard moments, the suffocating realities, I pray you would look to Jesus. I pray you would
know His goodness, and in those edges know my prayers are meeting you-- uniquely meeting
you, even if I cannot. Thank you; thank you for all you have taught me of life. What a gift
each of you is to my heart.

Dear Littles,
One day you will be big. One day you will fall in love- you will one day be sitting where I am in
the wonder of parenthood. From the ages of 12, 9, 7, and 4 it feels impossible to imagine. But
I do imagine those days for you. Where will you meet the edges of yourself, and where will
you find yourself gentled and softened by parenthood? Where will you find yourself doubled
over run laughter and joy? Where will you seek advice, or will you quietly struggle alone? How
will you partner with your love and in what areas of parenthood will you and your love find
yourself on different pages? Will you have a large family, or will you want one that is small
and manageable- if that is possible?
Will you enjoy the struggle through figuring out discipline or will it feel hard and daunting? Will
you laugh in wonder at the mind of your toddler? Will you love nursing like I did, or will it be
too hard? Will you pull your children close, will you love the smell of your little heads, will you
let them in your bed or will you meet them in theirs when they have bad dreams?
In the places where you met my weakness and remember my struggles with parenting will

you be angry? Will you offer grace and forgiveness? Will you let God seep into the places I
failed? Will you pray to break the bad pattern I lived under and let Jesus be uniquely your
guide to strengthen you in the places I was weak? Will you? Those moments will come, I
cant wait for you to do better than I have done.
Will you remember that in the midst of hard we still laughed? Will you carry that with you?
Will you walk with your children in the heavy burdens of life and teach them to hand them
over to Jesus? Will you be carefree in parenting or will you be a worrier?
Who will you be as a parent my dear ones? I come with question not advice. I come with
dreams and hopes not answers. I come with the dream to see it, to be there, to be your
support. I long to be a grandma, to help, to love, to remind you of goodness. I want to be
there to show you something amazing in your child you were too close to see. Oh, my prayer
is to be there.
I just know you will be amazing. Your love is unique, your love is huge. Let the big reckless
love of Jesus help you on the hard days.
And enjoy it. Enjoy the little moments as the huge moments that they are. I come with
questions and a hope to be present in your life. If Im not- know my prayers will be there
with you. I just know you will be fantastic parents.
~Kara Tippetts
----------------------by John Blase
I sent you the link to the rare Mary Oliver
Interview in hopes her wild voice and
Silky words would inspire you to write.
I knew shed wooed your mind when
You began texting me quote after quote
Youd copied down, this one your favorite I SAW WHAT LOVE MIGHT HAVE DONE
IF WE HAD LOVED IN TIME.
But you never sent the one I hoped
Youd hear and pause to consider WHEN THE MORTAL DIES
IT WILL BECOME SOMETHING ELSE For that is the line the poet spoke that
Made me think of you.
Now that youre gone my grownup thoughts wrestle with
Exactly what that something else is that youve become.
While off to the side the faith I held as a child

Holds that
Youre now a part of everything from
The warmth of the winter sun to
The unself-conscious laughter of children to
The fragrance of lilac blooms in June.
For in death you were swept up into Him
And since He holds all things then its not a stretch
At all to say youre now a part of the grand show.
Mary Oliver would say youre EVIDENCE OF THE CONTINUANCE.
But Kara Tippetts would grin wide and say Oh, Mary,
After death there is something else.
There is everything else. There is Jesus.
P.S. Youll have to forgive us if we have days or weeks where
We are unlikeable in our grief. This is only because we liked you so very much.
Death may have lost its sting, but it still burns.
And we press on here in the strange beauty of sadness.
Kara Lynne Thewlies Tippetts
July 14, 1976-March 22, 2015
http://www.mundanefaithfulness.com/
Since Ella and I are both the oldest in our families, I can see a lot of myself in her. For one,
we both have quiet personalities.
Excerpts from
Recently I took my daughter Eleanor to dinner to have a discussion about beauty and
modesty. She is tall and beautiful, and everyone is noticing the striking outside that is
developing. But I have seen her heart, and it is such a tremendous gift. We went to dinner
and we laughed, giggled, took selfies together, and ate hamburgers. She chose a giant bacon,
onion, barbecue, something. It was unreal. She devoured it, and evidence of it covered her
entire face--it was everywhere. I laughed so hard. I told her what a fun date she would be
one day. I told her how in my day, girls tried to act like they didn't each much food. She was
stunned, and she said, 'Mom, isn't dating about eating great food?' I love it; that's my Eleanor.
No frills, just real, and I think she'll be exactly the same on her date, covered in hamburger,
laughing loud with her infectious laugh, and seeking joy.
~~~~~~~~~~
"I am sitting on the bed of my eldest daughter, Eleanor Grace. I have learned the hard art of
waiting on her to share with me. The waiting hurts. She knows how to stall. She knows well
how to avoid the tears that need to be shed. But I see the tension growing in her. I have little
knowledge how to approach her quiet personality. She needs space, and she needs me to be
pushy. It's a tender balance. She carries a weight I cannot understand. She has a knack for
holding, withholding, shouldering the heavy burden of now. Her silence is her gift and her

sorrow. But I reached the end of my ability to wait. So I asked a few questions, and I realized
her grief was so much closer to the surface than I realized. She confessed that she has very
few moments without fear of losing me. We both finally let go and spilled our words, shared
our hearts, and expressed the burdens weighing us.
The life of a middle-school girl is painful simply by design. My tenderhearted,
giant-love-giving firstborn has walked this journey with me, knowing the possible outcome of
cancer more than any of the other children. I would catch her listening, watch her eyes grow
pained looking at me, and I watched her slowly becoming more quiet.I pushed, often too hard
for her to share her heart. She attempted efforts at 'okay' that I never believed. but this
wearing journey causes you to question when to push. Finally, one evening we broke in her
bedroom into a thousand carefully kept pieces. It was not pretty, but it was beautiful.Her fear
meeting my own of future days without me in them. This would be a part of her story. We
wept together. I told her how I lacked imagination for words, but I knew God's grace would
meet her there.I told her I was fighting to believe the goodness of our story that seemed
anything but good.
Too much a reality for too tender an age. I cannot change the story, and I'm so ill equipped
to protect her from our pain. She admits she's carrying it for the littlest one of us. She fears
for the little attached girl, Story Jane, walking one day without a mama. She feels she has
had so much of me with her, but she fears the littlest will only have an understanding of my
essence. She wept that Story Jane will not get to know me like Eleanor does. Her tender
heart was breaking for another, introducing me to a new depth of beauty and love that I had
not known in her.

Love and Strateeeegery


by Kara Tippetts
Oh, I love today. I absolutely love it! Today is the birthday of this wet gift. This sweet, kind,
loving first born is such a joy to our family. She is growing up, and Im loving every minute of
it!
We attended a wedding last night on the eve of her big day. She loves to dance almost as
much as I do; shes certainly better than I am. We danced until 11 and had a ball. Thank you
Just Dance 4; you gave my shy dancer confidence in their moves. So. Much. Fun. Ella keeps
talking about the potato bar. I keep thinking about the cake! AMAZING. It was my guys first
wedding to officiate and I was so very proud of him. Love that guy.
Oh, they were so sweet. I love a good wedding. I smile big, big, face hurting smiles. God bless
this amazing couple.
Now to my Saturday morning vacation strategy. I had a huge list of needs for the family trip
to the mountains. We had various hiking boots needs, rain coats, and much more. I spent the

week praying that I would head the right direction Saturday morning. With a crazy busy week,
I had this morning to find all of our needs for vacation.
I woke early, had coffee with my guy, took breakfast in bed to my birthday girl, and headed
out. The North End had a neighborhood yard sale. I love a good yard sale, and then we
headed to my local thrift store. It was an excellent morning. I found Keens, boots, rain coats,
books, the works.
Then as I was leaving I remembered this is farmers market Saturday. I know I will later post
more. I absolutely heart Miller Farms. They are in the Costco parking lot off North Nevada.
Oh, they are generous, kind, and so helpful. I have so much produce for $25. Truly a week of
produce. Its amazing. They are kind, and so lovely.
Excuse the terrible picture taken from my iPad. This picture doesnt even include my fruit
and potatoes. Go, you wont regret it. Tell them Kara sent you. These are people that meet
kindness with kindness. I look forward to knowing them every Saturday morning until next
October. I know I will save a significant amount on my grocery bill with this amazing farm.
Lastly, I love this state. Im ready to explore it more. Ready to visit more of the wonderful
areas this place has to offer. I would love to hear your favorite camping recipe.
Ella, my brave girl. Im proud of you. Endlessly proud. This was a tough year for you, and I
love what has grown in you. I cant wait to hear your loud giggles on vacation. No matter
where I am, when I hear your laugh my heart is a little lighter. I pray this next year gives you
much to laugh about. Deep belly, pee your pants, big streaming tears from your eyes laughter.
Your Proud Mama

This is happening!!
by Kara Tippetts
Last night we filled our house with a much loved family of 9. We planned a simple wings and
things with people we love on the eve of Ellas first day of school. We planned to eat and the
mamas left to an orientation with the big girls while the daddys enjoyed the littles. The fun
thing about the crowded table, is that there is always room to make it more crowded. My
friend stopped by after her camping vacation dirt stained and happy with her motley messy
crew. We had plenty, and the kids were so excited to expand their party. So the night
rounded out with 11 kids and 6 adults taking in the last bits of summer. We earned our sleep
last night. It was a full, joyful day.
This morning my first born is going to a half day of junior high. They invite the seventh grade
to spend the half day alone in the school for an orientation. Im thrilled for Ella. Shes
nervous about getting to class on time. Shes anxious about her locker combination. Normal,

exciting, tummy twisting stuff. Yesterday, we learned of a bug collection (not easy in this
state).
There was a moment yesterday where Ella and I were both anxious. When we glanced at her
schedule we noticed she was in gym class. Ella had chosen to do a sport to avoid gym. Her
eyes were bewildered. She had her heart set on art class. The kind woman in charge of
enrollment said there wasnt room, but that perhaps, a change could be made in the first two
weeks. I sat down with Ella and I looked at her. I said, we would pray about it and that we
would consider if this was something worth really lobbying for or if this was not the big deal it
felt like to my seventh grader.
We happily attended all the classes. Then it came time to go to gym class. I walked in and it
was a room of boys, Ella was the only girl. At the sight of that, I knew. I walked straight to
the office. I knew Ella was liable to be in tears if we didnt deal with this. I went in, I pleaded,
I kindly requested, and I made the case that she was the only girl in there. She listed names
of other girls, but they were older, girls Ella didnt know. The kind woman relented and added
Ella to art. She could still be moved out, but Im hopeful she will be able to stay. It was just
one of those moments that you just know how important something is to your child and you
have to advocate for them. I love the school she attends. I feel like they really care about
their students. I was so grateful for the change made for Ella.
We practiced her locker combination, we met her teachers, we heard what was expected of
her, and we prayed. Jason is ready for the routine, me, not so much. I like all my birds in my
nest home, sleeping late, playing hard, free, free. But I love our school, I guess this is really
happening. Im officially a mama to a junior high student. Gulp! Ella came to our room full of
excitement and nerves for her day, we giggled, we prayed, and we discussed the day. Lots of
events today. She is a gift, and Im beyond excited to do this year with her. I will not be
sidelined by cancer. I will be a front row seat participant in this year with my kids! Holler!
Tonight, we celebrate the end of this glorious summer. Tonight we party, we toast to the new
year. Tonight we give thanks for a season of time together as family where we experienced
much joy. I think a family bike ride, a dinner, a fire, and perhaps a tent are in order! Cheers!
Summer, you were very good to us this year.

The Weight of Being Oldest


by Kara Tippetts
I wrote this post two weeks ago after telling sweet Ella my diagnosis. I have since seen her
courageously face our reality. It is a true wonder the grace placed on our family and
especially our kids. That said, the struggle I see in our children, they have hurting hearts
without communication skills to deal with their feelings. We are taking the hearts of our
children very seriously in this battle. We are prayerfully considering what steps to take for
their support. God has been so very faithful in directing us in our path.

I have never known the weight of being the eldest in a family. I have always enjoyed the bliss
of being the youngest. Being youngest affords one a carefree perspective. Even now,
watching my older siblings deal with my diagnosis, I see a weight carried on them I do not
carry as the one with the disease. Ella,I see the weight of your position and birth order in
your face, and I greatly respect how you were uniquely designed as my firstborn. You dont
always carry it, but there are moments, flickers, glimpses into the knowing you carry.
Part of your weight isnt just your birth order, its your age. You are our only child that
understands that cancer is deadly. This morning you braved my news of my cancer with such
strength. You claimed your tears were empathy tears mingled with mine. I didnt want to tell
you, weigh you, but I didnt want to upset you with not being honest. You, like most oldest
children, are a gifted eavesdropper, and I wanted to tell you, and not leave you with the
puzzle of what you have overheard. When I asked you what you wanted to know, your
pleading eyes asked for me to tell you everything.
Everything is too tall an order. I want you to be a girl. I want to hear your giggle. I want you
to not carry this burden. I want to be your mama, not place you in the role of too much
responsibility. My heart longs for you to live with a lightness of heart, a knowing of joy, and a
freedom from this burden. So forgive us, but we will make edits to our reality to protect your
young heart.
I love watching you play volleyball. You have a gift of being a part of a team. I see your gift
for building relationships as you play. You love the team aspect more than the individual. You
smile, laugh, and absolutely love the high five. You celebrate small victories, and dont linger
in disappointments. I love to be on your sideline screaming. I love when your serve makes it
over, your hits connect, your smile spreads across your face.
Sweet Ella girl, Im not sure why cancer is a part of your story, but it is. I pray God uses it to
make you a more beautiful you, which I cannot imagine. You are so brave. You have so much
more courage than I have ever had. You love big, youre humble when you are wrong, you
gently exude who you are with confidence.
I told you today there isnt a cure for me, but there will be good days. I asked you to savor
these days with me. We started to dream of what that could mean. We talked about running
away to visit family and see the ocean, we found laughter in the midst of our tears. We will
walk this in joy, and you will be deeply loved in the pain. I have loved every single moment I
have had with you.
Ella, you are a gift to my heart. Lets go embrace what California has to show us today.

Ella Full of Grace


by Kara Tippetts

"Dont let your hope die down keep it burning through the only God. I will praise Him when
the sun rises, the sun sets, and all in between. Know that you are His."
~Ella
Okay, I struggled over Instagram for my girl, but tonight she put up a picture of a fire and
wrote this sweet bit of truth. I think Ill keep it around for awhile. All the minion pictures and
random pet pictures were all worth this sweet glimpse into her heart.
I tried so hard to play it cool how much I loved it. Heres a secret, I cry hard when I see a
young person singing their heart out to God. One time when I was teaching a mama and
daughter led chapel. I couldnt stay composed, it was so very beautiful. This was her little
song to God on Instagram and it absolutely touched my heart.
I think I have shared that I cant sing. Im not being humble in any way. I cant. Its terrible.
Ella can. She has a sweet voice and she pours her heart out in song, its so beautiful. But
tonight she shared her heart in a few sentences. She met me in words. Met me in the place
my heart sings, written words.
Lord, make this her hearts desire. Make it mine too. From great highs and deep lows, put a
song of praise in our hearts. Mostly, let us know we are yours, never to be snatched from
your hand. Thank you for the ways you use my children to remind me of truth.

Dearest Ella at 22, oh how I love you. I want to be there to see your beautiful heart fly from
this safe, loving place and know your own faith, your own convictions, your own mind. I pray
your heart remains kind and tender. I pray that 2024 finds you deeply loved, known, and able
to find joy in your days. I hope your faith knows a depth I could only imagine. I pray you meet
the hard in your life with humility and not fear. I pray our story has not grown anger in your
soft heart, but has been the place that keeps you dependent on Jesus. Im excited to see
the path you take educationally. You are bright Ella, you work hard at school. I pray you
dont get in your own way with school. You could be so many things. Choose a path your
heart is excited about. I pray you meet many gentlemen that encourage your heart, but you
would begin to know what it is to see integrity and genuine faith in a man. I was married at
21, 2024 finds you 22, it could also be your story. I pray Jesus gives you discernment to find
a gentle leader that cherishes your heart. I pray you would trust your community and your
family to speak truth to you in the midst of such big decisions. I pray 2024 finds you
connected to community and not living on an island of independence. If 2024 finds you
without me next to you, I pray you will have learned the art of opening your heart to women
you trust in your life. I pray you learn to share your hurts, your heart, and your fears and not
live bottled and afraid. It will be a hard muscle to learn. But I pray my absence doesnt grow
you hard, but more compassionate. More loving. More willing to meet another in hard with
grace. Oh, I want to be there.

My First Teen
by Kara Tippetts
On the eve of your big day, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for your life. Words cannot
describe the joy I feel in doing life beside you. This morning I told you to join me for coffee.
We dont have the fancy iced numbers you love, but you quietly stepped inside and returned
with a cup of coffee and sat quietly beside me. You are growing up, and its beautiful to
behold.
I like you Ella. I simply like who you are. I like your infectious laugh, and I like the gentle
kindness that has followed you through your days. There is an unmistakable light that shines
within you. Its beautiful. Its utterly unique, and it points me to the goodness of Jesus. You
reflect the very best of grace.
You have always come to the party of life looking for and expecting the best of each
moment. You do not wait to be invited, you simply show up and seek goodness. That has
been such a grace in your personality. Moving could have been so very hard on your heart,
but you never grew bitter. You walked into the new classroom and immediately chose to be
confident- as though you had always been there. Your teacher delighted over your courage.
You are courageous. Last night you sang so beautifully. Your daddy and I were so blessed by
the sweet sound and confidence in your singing. I wanted to weep for joy in hearing you. And
more in seeing the friendship that grew between you and your teacher. You look for life, the
best of it in relationships and you found that in Blythe. I was simply overcome with gratitude.
Im proud of who you are. Not for anything I have done, but for what God has done in you. I
feel like Im the mama that simply gets to watch as Jesus grows and draws each of you
children near to himself. Its breathtaking.
Its inevitable- you are a young lady. But you will always, always be my little girl. I am not a
mama that does not want you to grow up. No- rather the opposite. I love seeing you grow
long, beautiful, kind as the days pass. Each moment feels like a beautiful gift next to you and
your siblings. Grow up Ella, capture the very best of life. Embrace Jesus and all that he has
for you. Hard will come, but He will be there to capture you and grow beauty in you- though I
can hardly imagine more beauty.
To your present dear heart- I have been working on a secret for a long time now. You were
so brave and courageous in moving to these mountains with us, and we are so proud of you.
You have stayed true to yourself in this new place and sought and captured love and
friendship here. But I know how much your heart misses the first home you ever knew. I
know your heart misses your safe friend, your companion since two. You become tearful
every time I mention her. I am pleased to tell you-you, your Harper and I will be headed to
North Carolina in September. I have been working hard on this gift for you. The Toneys, the

Dietrichs, the Stanleys, the Greenlees and many more cant wait to see you and remind
you that you are a young woman cherished. I know you have your heart set on a ring- but I
know, I know, I know that this is a hearts desire you never imagined to hope for dear heart.
Happy birthday Eleanor!
So enjoy your dinner dear one, embrace each moment. Life has plenty of hard in it- be ready
to cling to Jesus, but for now- this moment- lets celebrate beautiful, loving, kind you. And
lets spend the summer dreaming of flying away to the land you love. I love you sweet first
born. Every day, every single day- you are a gift to me. I stinking love you!
Always,
Mama

Tears in my Popcorn
by Kara Tippetts
I wrote a review after seeing
with friends. When I left that movie I simply
didnt feel my biggest was ready for the movie. Then one evening we had a dinner party and
a friend changed my mind. Chris Hooper gently spoke to me about my decision to keep Ella
from this book and this movie. He was so kind to listen to me and my fears.
He then turned to me and gently told me something I had not considered. Chris has unique
entrance into my heart and my story because he lost his mama at a young age to cancer. He
simply said, Kara, Ella is the only person among her peers that understands the pain of
cancer. Letting her read this book and see this movie will help her not feel alone. In that
tender comment I knew he was right.
I told Ella she could read the book, and she absolutely consumed it. She has been asking for
a movie night for the two of us. The movie came to the dollar movie theatre in town, and last
night we ran away together to see this heartbreaking story. On the way, we talked about the
sex scene in the movie. I told her how Jason and I deal with scenes we dont feel
comfortable watching. She heard my heart in it, and was careful when the scene approached
to protect her heart.
There was a point in the movie where Hazel Grace bowed her head and said, this is not the
life I want. That moment cracked the brave veneer of my daughter. Ella was undone.
Together we left the movie arm in arm and sat quietly in the car and shared our hearts, our
hurts, and the pain of our present. I was able to tell Ella what a cherished child she is. I was
able to articulate through the tears my hopes for her story. I shared that I long for her to
remain a young lady, and if I do fly away- I asked her to let my girlfriends step in and bring
big mama love to our family. But we were honest about the high calling of being oldest in a
family like ours. I honored her heart, her protection of her siblings, her big sister love.

I went on to ask her to enjoy life, even if my life is fading. I asked her to embrace joy- to live
each moment bravely. Then we wept, wept for the story we have been asked to receive, but
struggle to understand. Then we spoke of the hope of heaven- our future together. A hope
lacking in the movie.
I came home and shared with Jason the gift of the painful evening with Ella. Then he went on
to share his burdens. We laughed, we wept, we tried to articulate our hearts in a new way. I
will say, I woke this morning with painfully swollen eyes from so many tears. I looked at Ella,
and she too was sporting swollen eyes.
I always say tears are the best evidence of love. They must be braved. The movie has a
quote that is fitting, pain demands to be felt. Goodness, I believe its true. Chris Hooper
was right, this was good for our hearts. All of us try and live braving our pain. We need these
moments to release the pressure cooker of pain that builds up over time.
How do you brave your pain? How do you struggle to live near to your pain honestly? Does
living well mean faking at happiness when you are inwardly breaking? What would sharing your
pain look like? Do you feel the pressure of hiding how you are feeling? How can you live
honestly today? How can you let the tears fall in your popcorn?
I will forever cherish this painful night with my first born. I will forever love the tears she
braved with me. I love that we had this time where we could speak honestly about my flying
away, her pain in the separation, and the struggle for joy in the midst of pain.
I ended by asking her what Ella wants from me while Im still here. She simply said, you
mommy. I dont need to jump through any exciting hoops to love her well. I simply need to
live beside her with all the love to Im granted to pour out onto her tender heart.

Love Intentional, Love Maturing, Love Exceptional


by Kara Tippetts
Forgive me for being so absent recently. I have been giving brief updates on my Facebook fan
page.
I have been in the hospital longer than I can remember. So many have given so much to
protect, enjoy, and embrace my family. I have this one story about Eleanor full of Grace I
want to share before I let myself sleep again and the story fades with all the medications Im
taking to get through each painful moment well. It is a story I will never forget, but I want it
to be documented here~ to let her know how stunning the love in her life is to so manyespecially this mama of hers.
After my last chemo and radiation on my hip, food would not stay down, my pain would not

ease. An MRI showed that cancer had spread in my pelvic area, exposing a pain that could
not be helped with conventional medicines , I was in rough shape. We tried very hard to deal
with the side effects at home, but we were failing miserably. Failing. To say I was
discouraged, would be an understatement. We complied and entered new treatment to battle
my cancer. Now we are awaiting surgery to help us manage pain.
My kids were invited to spend the day playing with the Adkins- our family ages match up
really well. Except for one of my littles. Justine does not have a 13 year child. We asked Ella
if she would please go spend the day to be helpful and support Miss Justine as she was
watching a gaggle of children, and maybe- just maybe she would also find some fun of her
own. Ella agreed, as she knew that she could offer help to Mrs Justine, as well as enjoy
herself at the same time. Jason went to grab the kids, and Ella came in proudly telling me
about her time with Justine. She told me how open-hearted Miss Justine is with her and let
her cook with her. I asked her if she was open hearted with Miss Justine as well? She said,
no mommy, but I really love it in her. Oh love, oh love... Justine will continue to create a safe
place to fall, as so many of my girlfriends are- that one day, one day big and open hearted
will be you as well. It wouldn't look like Justine and me- but come close, I have a secret... I
think you already live this way. Big giant hearted, open hearted and full of such grace. You,
my dear, well, it's written all over you. You are treasured daughter of the King, of our home,
and in the lives of countless others. Oh my kids, my kids, my kids have been shown such
generous love from many. So, so, so many!
That evening Jason brought dinner to my hospital room with all the kids. It was tight, but we
were so glad to be together, we dog piled each bed- kids, mamma's bed, Or the kids would
snuggle in tight with my sister on her fold out bed. It proved to be a delightful. I spend my
days resting so these brief visits can grow confidence in my children that I'm still here.. I
know I'm not fooling anyone. But it feels like my job- to ready myself for the arrival of my
loves. It's not as though I pretend to be strong where I am not. I simply want to be present
when they are present.
Goodness, will I ever, ever, ever get to this story. Relaying back to the top, Ella enjoyed her
day with our giant hearted friend Justine. She came in proudly to my hospital room carrying
beautiful ceramic loaf pan filled with banana chocolate chip bread- still warm from the oven.
She asked me to have some, I kindly declined- food wasn't working for me, and especially
sweets. Then I saw her face drop a bit. I turned to her and said, "goodness, please forgive
me, I would love to have some of your beautiful creation." Soon, little brother came up and
asked for a slice. She gently turned to him and said- "I made a giant loaf in the car for us all
when we get home." I then gently asked Ella to share this bread with Lake. Her face
darkened a bit, but she kindly handed over the slice to her beloved brother, Lake.
As they were all leaving that night, we gave hugs, and loves all around. When it came to Ella, I
thanked her for her hard work and her yummy gift. It wasn't until night as I was literally eating
every bit of the bread that Ella had made me- when it finally dawned on my, smacked me in
the face, brought me too a lucid place of understanding the BIG LOVE of my daughter. I cry
now thinking of her wanting to bring me something special. Special for me- her sick mama. In

any other circumstance, she would have shared with Lake.


I get what Ella was doing- because I'm doing it too. I'm fighting to love those in my life with
great intention from my little abilities. I struggle with having so little love to return to my
people as they continue to lavish, lavish, lavish BIG LOVE on me. I simply feel so inadequate.
clicking a few buttons to purchase gifts on the computer feels like an unrealistic way to show
my love, but this hospital bed feels so limiting...
Then, all at once it hits me. This little loaf of bread meant just for me, was intended to show
me specific love from my daughter to lift my weary heart. Goodness, how blessed I truly am. I
later called Ella and apologized for not immediately seeing her big love. I told her through the
coarse of the evening I devoured each bite of her bread. And with each bite I knew she loved
me. Her love was the very best ingredient. And even sweeter than all the yummy bread- I
believe my Justine was teaching my little girl the ways of loving another with intention. And
guess what- Ella was listening. And though I want to be that teacher- the hard peace is
coming- my children are and will continue to be kept long past my last breath- now that's a
stunner.
This girl, Eleanor, my other girls, Harper and Story Jane, Lake and my Jason- well, we are all
stumbling through this dance trying our best to cherish one another with intention. All the
stuff, the stuff will one day land in a goodwill box, but the memory of my girl bringing me a
hot loaf of bread will forever remain with me. Seeing my children grow in grace and the BIG
overflowing love of Jesus- well, that's my favorite gift given this year, one that I didn't even
ask for but was deeply loved out of the intentional love of another.
An excerpt from
"Recently, Jason came in the room in tears and asked me to go and snuggle besides Harper
Joy. He was letting her share all her words of her day with him before bed--her favorite time
of day. Then suddenly she turned to Jason and asked, 'Is Mama going to die of old age or of
cancer?' Jason struggled for the words, but found himself completely crumpled under his own
grief. He came and asked if I could support him in answering. I walked down the hallway and
climbed under the covers with my vocal, young daughter. This one longs for the words, to
hear the explanations, and process the feelings out loud. She is very much like me. These
moments are a gift to my own love of words, feelings, and expressing troubles of my heart.
I snuggled close and she draped herself over me. Her eyes were big and tearful. She wanted
to hear from me. She wanted the truth. I knew this was a sacred moment, a moment where
the truth was being asked. She wasnt asking for false hope; she wanted me to love her with
honesty. I told her I had heard her question, and I asked her my own question in response. I
asked her if she believed God would meet her in both of these places. I looked at her face
and wondered at her love, her beauty, her tenderness, and I asked her a question many
grown people cannot answer or embrace. In the most painful fear and hurts of our lives, will
God be good? Not just the simple: God is good, indeed, always good. Not the rote, recited,
memorized answers we have been trained to give in the edges of life. But the asking: Is

Jesus really good in the awful of cancer, fire, heartbreak, and devastation? In the face of all
that is broken, is God good? I let the tears come that night. I let myself cry before my
daughter as I told her I knew without question that the goodness of grace would meet her if I
was taken by cancer and not old age. I told her I trusted God with my moments, and in the
midst of our pain. I told her I would always be her mommy, that I was gifted with the joy of
doing every day of my life next to her life. That my love would always be next to her, even if I
did not get to be. We showered her pillow with our ears, and I went on to name the joys I had
in being her mama specifically. I told her the joy of her birth, the wonder of loving her in her
infancy. We talked about her little toddler years that were full of wonder and words. How she
was always so true and full of love for her big sister. I talked about her quick mind and her
easy humor. Then I simply held her and thanked her. I thanked her for getting the amazing
opportunity to love her. I thanked her for her tenderness and heart in all that she does. I
thanked her that from her birth up to that moment I was given the treasure of loving life
beside her. I told her those days have been the fullest and most meaningful I had ever known.
Then I asked her to tryst with me that both of us have our days exactly numbered in love. I
told her my prayers were to remain beside her, but that if the answer isnt yes, to trust God
that the story is good.
Her deep blue eyes that she got from her daddy looked at me and agreed, Goodness will be
there, Mommy, I believe with you. We talked about how the tears will be beautiful. That
though the hard might come and our hearts be broken, that brokenness isnt bad. The tears
are evidence of our love for one another. They did not stop that day, and they will not stop in
the days to come. But tears are a gift, not something to withhold or bottle upthey are the
essence of the best of life. The love here, now, today has grown our hearts, and makes the
parting of our hearts suffocating and hard at best. But out tears will be treasured, kept, and
stored in Heaven."
Like Harpers older sister, Ella, I am quiet, but I still see a part of myself in Harper. If people
tell me things, I want them to tell me the truth.
-----------------------------------

Harper My Joy
by Kara Tippetts
Dearest Number Two,
Oh my love, how could you be nine today? Werent you just placed in my arms yesterday?
Your eyes so big, so blue, met mine and have not departed. Your eyes are so full so full of joy
or sadness. You feel things so keenly, so fully. My dear one, you have brightened my life,
deepened my heart, given me such joy.
You are a leader of people, a magnet that draws people near. People invigorate you, and you
never give up on a day. You would never sleep if your body didnt give you over to it
eventually every night. Where there is a person, there you are. Where there is a need for

love, there you are. Where there is life, there you are.
Sweet baby girl, you brought sunshine in the storm. A hurricane could not keep you away,
and your entrance into this world forever changed mine. Your heart is a gift to me dearest
second born. When I slow down my pace and listen to your heart, I am blessed. In the quiet of
your bed at night, your words spill forth in a beautiful rhythm. I love your passion to share
everything. I love that you share it with me.
Dear one, I love you. What a treasure you are to my heart and the heart of our family. Your
sense of humor is unique and hysterical. You know how to both laugh and cry the loudest. I
love your ability to love so big, so deep, so fully. May The Lord ever draw you nearer to
Himself. Im so thankful for the way He made you. What a treasure you are dear heart. Im
so thankful to be here with you.
All my heart,
Mama

Harper my Joy, 2024 will find you 19. Gulp. Oh, I want to be there to see you at 19. Your
bright, light hearted living that watches, asks, brings curiosity to every situation. I want to
see the educational path you choose. You have such a sharp mind. I want to see how God
uses that gift you have. You have the ability to draw people very close to your heart. I pray
2024 sees you using those gifts to Gods glory. I pray you meet your hard with a soft heart
and move fearless in life in the midst of pain and struggle. I pray you brave each situation
you face with grace, big love, and a dependence on Jesus that draws people near to God. 19
is such an exciting season of possibility- I pray you seek adventure and move past fear and
embrace this horizon of endless joy. You are so physically strong, I pray you use that
strength to glorify God and enjoy life. My prayer for you if I am not there to see you in this
beautiful season of your life is that you would not allow bitterness of heart at my absence. I
pray you would remember our joy together, our soft moments, our giggles, and our shared
curiosity in living, I pray you would still know those special places in your life. I pray you
would meet me there, and live in curiosity, joy, and love even if Im not right next to you. I
pray your heart would remain open.

Harper Full of Joy


by Kara Tippetts
I went on this ten year old trip with Ella over three years ago. The goal was to have fun,
connect, and discuss coming adolescence and share faith. Ella and I ran away to Williamsburg
and had a ball. Here are a few things that we did together.
Together we looked at the book, The Care and Keeping of You. American Girl puts out this

book, and it is a really lovely book about body changes and speaks well of simple care. It was
a great place to begin the conversation. I am not one to give a book and say read this, and
expect the child gets it.
I also explained sex to Ella on this trip. I asked her first if she wanted to know where babies
came from, then I shared the basics with her and let her then lead the discussion. I explained
how the Bible looks at sex and the sacred bond it creates between a husband and wife. She
asked some really sweet questions. I also went into detail with Ella about not telling her
friends. That it was important for the parents to get to share this with their own children. I
also said that her friends would try and tell her things about sex, but I wanted her to trust
Jason and I with her questions.
We also spent a lot, a lot of time discussing how through middle school in particular there is a
temptation to have the voices of peers become louder than Jason and I. I told her this was a
very natural temptation, but I longed for her to fight it and remain close to Jason and I. She
and I have often revisited that conversation. I feel distance between parents and children is
often the starting place of rebellion and bitterness. It must be constantly looked at and
discussed.
Then, lastly, and probably my favorite. I asked friends near to Ella to write her letters. I asked
them to write her prayers, hopes, stories, loves that I read to her throughout the trip. Oh my
goodness, this was amazing. So many challenged Ella to begin to take ahold of her faith
personally and to walk her own path near to Jesus. It was simply amazing to get to share
those letters with Ella. In many ways, Ella was a bit young to take it all in, but I have saved
those letters for Ella. One day they will be given to her as the absolute treasures they are.
This will be the outline for Harper and I on our trip. But she and Ella are very different. I will
be making changes to love sweet Harper specifically. For instance, Harper doesnt care
much for food. Shes much like her daddy here. She simply eats for fuel to get going, but not
for the joy of the tastes and wonders in bites like Ella and I enjoy. So finding the perfect food
spot will not be on the list. Harper loves art. So we plan to look upon beautiful art, and maybe
try and make some art together. We will also play. Play in water, play in the hotel, play as we
shop. And lastly, Harper loves to talk. Harper and I will spend most of our time loving each
other with words. Its the place we connect. Words, words, words.
She is like me and becomes a bit fixated on something. Currently she is absolutely fixed on
purchasing a rodent of some type for a pet. So almost 95% of her conversation revolves
around that. Shes wearing us down, and we are tempted to give in to the request simply to
start a new conversation. Shes so much like her mama. So, we will enjoy one another, enjoy
the wonders of the big city, and live well beside one another. We might hunt down our
favorite cupcake in Denver, and rummage through thrift stores, and end up at a pool where
we can swim and laugh together. I will read her the letters from friends, and share about her
coming years. But unlike Ella, we will also talk about cancer. Harper is the child that wants to
know what is happening. She is the one that is comforted by the truth. She is not afraid to
look upon hard and ask real questions.

Harper my Joy and I will run away to laugh heartily, love deeply, and dream big. I have also
been praying about making a video with each of my children. She will be the first. I want to
video the two of us talking and dreaming about the day she gets married. I want to video the
conversation with each of my children. I want to discuss their dress, their dreams of the day,
their picture of who they might one day love. It will not be easy- for me. But I think it will one
day be important. So on this trip, I plan to snuggle in bed and video a fun interview with
Harper regarding that amazing day. It will then be kept, forever kept for her. And on that
special day she will see that video of the two of us giggling over and talking about that daythen on my own I will add a short video specifically to Harper. I will not be sharing that
special video here, but saying it helps me be accountable to take that hard step with my
loves.
Living well sometimes means doing hard things. I cannot wait to live well next to Harper this
weekend. I feel so blessed to be here for this moment. There will be a lot of hard that will try
to steal this moment of joy. Quiet prayers while Im enjoying Harper begging for the same
special time with Lake and Story Jane. But I will fight, I will beg, I will pray to live present
next to my Harper Joy. Will you please pray this weekend is a treasure that we both get to
carry the rest of our days?
Thank you so much bourkey. This shiny Suicune will always be loved.
Kara always characterized Lake as a stubborn, driven young man. It's kind of funny though
how well those qualities fit Suicune. Suicune was a very stubborn legend for me in both
Alpha Sapphire and Pokemon Shuffle, and I know Lake worked very hard to get to level 100,
even though the rest of his siblings got there before him.
An excerpt from
"Tonight my son, Lake, wondered at my hair returning. He asked me about chemo and my
heart in the battle. It was a gift of love hearing him tenderly speak to me and reach out to my
heart, wanting to know my journey. We then bowed our heads and thanked Jesus for the
return of my hair and the break from chemo. Lake asked Jesus that I wouldnt have to
return to the place of bald, quiet, sick. Lake always prays for chemo to never return. To him,
chemo was the devastating piece for menot the medicine. I understand. Cancer has never
made me sick, but chemo, well, chemo is a brand of sick all its own. It was such a grace to
see gentleness from in his heart. If I fail to slow down to listen and look for the graces in the
busyness of life, I wont see this developing story of mercy in my sonthe tenderness and
sensitivity that have grown through our story of suffering is beautiful."
--------------------

This boy, this boy!


by Kara Tippetts

My teller of tall tales, my big kisser, my fierce lover, and my strong handsome Lake Edward is
turning 7 today. Delivering Lake was like giving birth to a rocket ship. The doctor barely
caught him. He took flight immediately into my heart.
Being verbal, overly talkative, this quiet young man offered a unique challenge. We spoke for
three years in cuddles, kisses, and grunts. I wondered if Lake would ever speak. We went to a
gifted therapist who taught Ella, Harper, and me that we were the trouble with Lake not
speaking. We were speaking enough for ten households. Once we backed off his precious
words came.
Lake has an intensity to him that lives big and with great loyalty. Once Lake loves you, he
loves you great big. I say I have a super power. I have the power to get a smooch from this
young man from across any room. He will stop anything hes doing to come give me a kiss.
I snuggled in his bed the night before his party and asked him about his life and friends. He
went into great detail about each one. I then asked him who he wanted to marry. He sweetly
looked at me and said, well, you mommy! Be still my heart! I didnt know I was top of his
list! That made my month. Then he asked me to help him know how to pick someone his age.
Oh my goodness what a gift that conversation was to my heart. She should love Jesus, be
his friend, be kind, and know how to make him laugh. Surprisingly, a few girls he knows fit the
ticket.
So many of you offered wonderful games for our nerf gun party. I offered each one to Lake,
but he already knew exactly what he wanted. First, he wanted a few obstacles, and second
he wanted a free for all. So we played, we ate, we opened presents, and we played some
more. Lake had the time of his life. He was overwhelmed by all the gifts, as was I. And he fell
happily asleep feeling so loved by his friends.
Jason spent most of the party fixing the jammed guns. What a great day! What a difference a
year makes! So thankful to be strong enough to have a party for Lake, but I cant lie, I may
or may not have spent the afternoon in bed after this shindig. Anything to celebrate this
sweet gift.
Dearest Lake,
You have a gift of big, HUGE love. Selfishly, Im so thankful that love is often directed at me.
Your love is healing to my heart. Your sweet smile brightens my morning. I love that you
wake up joyful. I can hear your giggle down the hall as daddy wrestles you awake. You are
utterly different from the girls. Utterly. Our family is more full, more joyful, more filled with
wonder with you in it.
I was so anxious that my illness would keep you littles at a distance. By Gods grace, the
opposite was true. You loved me so big through our hard. I sometimes miss your kisses on
my bald head. I always say the big girls gave me an education in parenting and you gave me
my PhD. I have loved the challenge of shepherding your heart. It has not been easy, but it

has always been a great blessing of my heart to learn to nurture and guide such a spirited
heart. I pray your intensity is used to glorify God the rest of your days.
I love you sweet boy. I love your happy bed head, your blue eyes, your thick wide hands, and
your toothy grin. May you grow to be a man that knows your nearness to Jesus is your only
good. I pray you continue to be quick to repent and apologize, and you keep your love of
prayer. May God bless you with a godly wife that loves you well. Until then, Im so thankful
you still want me for your wife. Im not sure what age it is that dream goes away and reality
enters, but Im in no hurry!
I Love You Lake Edward! There is not another like you! Happy Birthday, may 7 be fantastic!
Mama

My dear Lake, 2024 will find you 17. Oh Jesus, I want to see these kids at this age. Will he be
taller than his daddy? Will he still need to sit close to me at the end of his day? Will his wide
Jason hands be busy with projects? Will he be tender? Will he know his own mind, his own
strength. Lake the moment you were placed in my arms I turned to your daddy and asked him
to name you. But then I said, look closely at your sweet face- this child is unique. He needs
a unique name. Once our eyes met, I knew we would be on a lifes adventure. I pray your
stubborn heart is stubborn for integrity and truth at 17. I pray you have a heart like your
daddy, strong for truth but soft for love. I pray you are a gentle leader among your friends. I
also pray you learn to love the best of this state. I see you loving all the adventure that
Colorado has to give. Oh, I want to be there with you, I want to bialy you as you rock climb, I
want to climb Mt. Princeton with you, I want to go on bike rides where you graciously go slow
for me. If Im not with you in 2024, my prayer is that the soft place of your heart that I hold
does not grow hard or cold. I pray God grants the grace to protect that special bond and
allow you joy at remembering and not anger at my absence. I pray you would not be afraid to
let another close to you like you have let me. It has been a great gift to me.

Tender Love
by Kara Tippetts
There is such tenderness in the broken places. I feel uniquely blessed when Im witness to
the truth of the heart of another unclothed, open, vulnerable. Its the most beautiful, most
stunning in life. Sharing the tears of another is the greatest joy I have known in my life. When
someone reveals a hidden shame or brokenness, I feel witness to the miracle of grace
seeping into the hard cracks of living in fear and shame.
Yesterday, I was napping after having my PET scan. All at once I heard the sweet desperate
voice of my young son trying to find his mama. I could hear his voice- small and desperate.

He came beside my bed broken. His finger was quickly wrapped in toilette paper and full of
blood. Mama, Im sorry, I cut myself. It hurts mama, it hurts.
I pulled him in my bed, lifted his feet and smothered his tenderness and fear in kisses. I knew
this was a sacred moment. Slowly, he let me look. It wasnt big, but it was deep and on his
knuckle. I added the bubbles and a clean wrap and smothered him in my love.
You see, boys grow, and as they grow they take on courage. But these glimpses, these
stunning glimpses of tenderness and brokenness and fear are the essence of the very best
of life.
The bleeding stopped and we quietly prayed for the courage to do the next thing. He bowed
his head and asked Jesus to meet us. The girls went to play, and my young man and I went
to see the kind doctor.
We opted for glue. But first- irrigation. Painful cleaning out of the cut. They came, and his
face held its courage until the ladies left. Then he put his shoulder and let the tears come.
He asked me again to pray for the time the glue was coming. I knew that would not hurt, but
he needed my prayers for courage. They were my highest calling.
You see, a mama gets this special tender place in her sons life until another comes to be his
wife, and I imagine a bit longer as life gets hard. This moments, this tender moment next to
my son was a gift, a treasured gift. That in that moment I was a safe place for brokenness.
Its what I long to be in life- a safe place for the broken.
My story is feeling desperately broken this day, but I know I will be met. Tenderly as I could
meet my son tenderly. Im afraid just like my Lake was afraid, but the brokenness is the
essence of exposing our need for Jesus.
Emmanuel- be with us. Thank you for the tender moments. They are such grace. Thank you
for my son. Would you let him know the strength of tenderness- even if his mama isnt there
to capture him when its hard. I know you will.

Inevitable Pain, Stunning Grace


by Kara Tippetts
We had a big day full of celebration yesterday that left us all full and a bit ragged. Jason only
woke one for VBS this morning. Our oldest had responsibility, so she needed to show up,
even if she was a bit party worn.
I had a sweet morning talking through retreat planning and speaking engagements, and the
kids slowly made their way down the stairs into the bright day. One even slept all the way to
11. It was unbelievable, especially since my road is currently being torn up by giant earth

movers. In the loud, they slept on in response to the amazing night with friends we enjoyed
last night.
We all entered the car before noon to capture Ella. Lake was struggling. Struggling with me,
struggling in general. Everything was disappointing his heart. We were wrestling with the
edges of each other. We have gone a long season without feeling the edges this deeply. He
was angry, angry in a way that the tears wont stop angry. A mix of not getting what he
wanted from me and something else. I could hear the something else, but I could not name it.
I had mentioned the possibility of Chick-Fil-A, but my heart told me it would be a mistake. I
directed the car home. We arrived home, and I asked the girls to go inside and begin making
lunch. I invited Lake to join me in the front seat. Somberly, he made his way up beside me.
I asked him to look at me. As soon as our eyes met, I could see him soften. We needed to be
close for this talk. Looking at one another helped us both know that our words can help or
hurt our heartsboth of us. We were using the edges of our voices and our disappointments
to try and win at something, but nothing was being won. Nothing.
Then all at once, his voice became small. With tears in his eyes, he said I havent been very
much fun. He said Im in my bed a lot. And he said he was feeling angry about it.
My first response in my heart was, Ill do better, dear heart. Ill fight harder. Ill pretend
better. But I knew they would be lies. I knew that as much as I WANT to do better, it will not
likely amount to what he was wanting. You see, Lake knows, Lake remembers, Lake enjoyed
the mama that could go, and do, and laugh, and love with endless energy. My dear Autumn
would hear when I grew tired with little ones, but tired never stopped me before as a mama in
love with living. No, Im slowed in a new way. A way that hurts the heart of one amazing little
boy.
So, I listened and I turned to my beloved son and apologized. I simply said I was sorry. I told
him Im sorry his mama has cancer. I told him Im sorry for the ways that is making his heart
sad. I could not make promises, though in my heart I hear myself screaming to do better, play
harder, fill this growing hole in my sweet Lakes heart. But this is a new edge my young son
must meet. In my weakness, Jesus will teach him strength. Where I am less, Jesus will be
more. I cannot work, I cannot fix this edge, but I can love my boy honestly where we are
today.
I simply turned to my beloved boy and took his dirt stained hands in mine and prayed. I
prayed for strength beyond myself, I prayed for Lake to meet his own disappointments in life
with a gentle heart. I prayed for both of our angry hearts and asked Jesus to help us both
love one another well when we feel such anger at our circumstances.
I am not disappointed in the anger I met today. Noits inevitable. It is honest. It is what is
true for us today. But I also know there is a story bigger than our anger. I know that we can
listen to these feelings for a moment, but to hold onto them would be dangerous for us both.

So we sought the words that brought tenderness between us, and they came. Lake and I left
the van restored. Restored in a way that the honest sharing hurts, and hard, and pain openly
can restore us. You see, I couldnt make his hurt better. I could not promise that Ill
suddenly become stronger. I could only promise that we would both be carefully kepteven in
the midst of crushing disappointments. You all know I want to make those empty promises
for strength and better. But I wont. I will cry with him, pray for him, and point his pain to the
bigger story found in a caring Jesus that is not unaware that my young son is hurting.
I think my young son taught me something beautiful today. Something remarkable. The pain
of losing me will happen a little at a time not all in one crushing blow the moment I die. No, it
is happening a little bit each day as my limitations find new corners. And the beauty, the
grace, the stunning love of Jesus is that He is allowing me to be here for my loves in these
new edges. I get to gently point them to Jesus and teach them to depend on His love when
they meet their own pain in loss. I dont think I saw the beauty in that before. Its the grace
of the long goodbye. But maybejust maybewe should all live like this, not simply those
stricken with disease. Perhaps we are all to treasure each moment and give it eternal value.
The beauty of the long goodbye is my beautiful honor and joy in painting the picture of the
place Im flying away to someday. To let my loves know Im not flying away from them but
flying to something greater. And in that beautiful picture of grace a longing, a sweet longing
could begin to grow in them for their forever home where I will greet them one day.

Grief and Kids


by Jason Tippetts
A few days ago, we celebrated Lakes 9th birthday. In these events I feel my loss more, I
feel how disjointed I am from my past life. I miss Kara so much on these days; she was so
good at celebrating people. Kara wrote letters to each of our kids for all of their birthdays
until 18. Ugh. They break me.
I remember Kara mentioning not wanting to write these yearly birthday letters, and I agreed.
Letters like this seemed so hard. Then a month later, I caught her scribbling in a bed full of
stationary, and I agreed it was a great idea to write the letters. As she gave me freedom to
imagine my future, I needed to give her freedom to say her goodbyes.
Lake said he felt sick a day before his birthday and he couldnt make it to school. I tried all
my parental tricks, but in the end, knowing his birthday was coming, I let him stay home.
Birthdays bring a wave of grief to my kids.
Lake and I sat together in a chair. His love language is wrestling, and with my recovery from
back surgery these love-moments have been missed. So I filled his love cup with physical
roughness. We talked about his birthday and how proud I am of him. Then I retrieved his 9th
birthday letter from the metal box. I knew this would be a wave of grief and emotion. He read
it and fell apart when it ended with: Love, Mommy.

He cried big tears. Broken-heart tears. I did, too. Some waves of emotion are unpredictable,
but these birthday ones are like the setting sunthey will happen. We talked about how much
his mom loved him, the special connection she had with him as her son, and how we miss her.
I am so impressed by his ability to show emotion, to talk about anger and sadness, and to
cry. To let his tears flow. We talked about waves of tears and what to dofeel them, find a
safe place or person, and let them out. We talked about who is safe for him and walked
through this event so he will be ready for the next one. This is a talk we have had before but
like parenting life is about repetition.
Then as he went off to play, I sat in peace. I did it; I made it through all of the kids first
birthdays without their mom. I feel this is monumental. It was these moments that I dreaded,
and I did it. God has been so gracious. Kara selflessly prepared us well for this future. And I
am thankful.
Entering the grief of my children feels confusing and complicated, but simple at the same
time. All four of my kids are different, and it is work to be in tune to their sorrowsimilar to
the work it takes to walk with them through life in general.

Life is hard, we may as well admit it and move into it.


Thank you so much, Diab I will always treasure this little Shaymin
I had PMed Diab (Master MX on PF1) asking how I could pay for his shiny Shaymin, since I
was unable to buy a giftcard. His response really surprised me. He sent me the Shaymin as
an early birthday present. We've only talked a few times, so I totally did not see this coming. I
wish there was something I could do for him. Unfortunately, he has quit PF.
-----------------------------------Story is the first one of her siblings to reach level 100 both here and on PF1, which is
interesting because she's the youngest. I guess what Scripture says is true. "So the last will
be first, and the first will be last." Matthew 20:16
You might be wondering where Story Jane's name came from. Before she was born, the
Tippetts family left their church of 8 years when someone from the congregation was greatly
opposed to them staying. To protect their children, Jason and Kara moved to the other side
of town. It was not a easy decision, but it had to be made.
Excerpts from

"I named my youngest daughter for that community of faith. When people ask where her
name-Story Jane-came from, I tell a story of love. I speak of a place where much of my
heart still resides. I do not regret naming her for a place that caused so much pain. I see how
much of the pain was my own tight grip, my inability to trust Jesus, my longing for love. No,
as I pray for the place that I proudly named my daughter after, I believe God is bigger. He
was for me, and I pray He will be for them."
"My littlest daughter, Story Jane, draws pictures of me bearing multiple scars. She traces my
scars with her little fingers and asks when they will leave. Story Jane rests her head on the
stiff breast implants that replaced my softness and asks when I will return to my former soft
self. Mu wounds from multiple surgeries bring her curiously close to me. Story Jane sees
them, asks about them, and then lingers closely, knowing only a fraction of what they mean. I
think she knows the heart of what my scars represent, but her littleness, like my own so
many years ago, makes understanding out developing story difficult. I could not know the
heart of my dad in his anger because of the littleness I watched from. Story also struggles to
know and understand the hurt in our story from the perch of her young age. She witnesses
the tears, sees my baldness. But all she knows is the warmth of my touch, here, today, and
the kindness of me that suffice where surgery has left me utterly changed. What she longs
for is my closeness, my touch, my kindness to meet her each cold evening when she sneaks
quietly into my bed to be near me.
She no longer asks for entrance next to me in the little hours of the night. She quietly enters
by my feet and finds the warm curve in my back and returns to the comfort of her dreams
next to her mama. Years will give her understanding like they gave me, but today, sitting next
to my love is enough. The other day she proclaimed that she never wanted to leave my side,
that I was always the warmth she liked best. I said nothing, only snuggled closer with a hope
for more days. More and more days of loving her. I want her to look back and see herself a
daughter of love."
From a blog post originally published March 4, 2014
Oh sweet spunk, my sweet Story Jane, 2024 will find you 14. I can almost imagine 14 as it is
only 2 years older than your big sister. Your young age in this journey has always been hard
on my heart. My prayer has always been that you would have your own memories of our love,
not simply inherited ones from your big sibs. Every day in Hawaii we made the most giant
bubble baths and played, laughed and tried each day to outdo our bubbles from the days
before. I felt sure, so sure, that you would remember this time together. Swimming, beaching,
flying, living in endless joy. I just felt sure that was the greatest gift of the trip. Remembering.
Always being able to remember. I want more, much more of life next to you. You are our
youngest. We all know it. We all are tender to your needs, desperate for your attentions and
cute ways. You are a treasured final child to our family. You ask over and over for more
babies, one day you will understand. But today dear baby of our family, I pray 2024 meets you
with much grace. It can be a hard season with girlfriends. I pray you have the courage to
navigate those confusing waters. If Im there, I pray we move in grace towards hard

relationships in your life. I want to be there to help you learn love in hard relationship, I want
to show you the power of reconciliation and honesty. If I am not there, I pray your big sisters
would gently shepherd you in the hard matters of girlfriends, life, and ughboys. I suppose
they could be part of the picture at 14, I pray a small part. I pray your faith would be sure,
and you would seek opportunities to express your faith. If Im not right next to you living in
the tension of the daily-ness of 14, I pray you would have a soft heart over my absence. I
pray all my children would not grow angry in my absence. Not that I would fault any one of
you that emotion. Its a fair one to feel. My prayer is that it wouldnt grow you hard or cut
off from all the amazing things God has planned for your lives.
From a blog post originally published April 24, 2014
Story Jane Turns 5
by Kara Tippetts
When this battle with cancer started I struggled- how I struggled- with the littleness of this
one. My heart often ached in the night for her. I struggled remembering truth when I thought
of her young age.
I struggled with the littleness of her and with her ability to remember. It was selfish really- I
longed for her to have her own memories of our love. Not simply inherited memories handed
down from her older siblings- though I trusted them to love her in that way. I just personally
couldnt remember 4- so I assumed she couldnt.
4 was such a gift next to this sweet girl. We lived last year with intention. We lived in love, in
grace, and right next to each other. She loves my warmth. She always says she loves living
next to my warmth. I love that. Last week I put her to bed in her room and told her I would
meet her in the early morning hours if she found herself chilly.
You see- this one wakes chilly in the night. Her first thought is not to pull up the covers she
has kicked off. Her first thought is- my mama is warm. And she tip toes to my side of the
bed, sneaks in quietly by my feet, and curls up by my back. Sometimes I wake, sometimes
not. But always we wake in the morning to giggles and snuggles. This has been the story of
each of my children. I have precious memories of each of my four babies like this- finding me
in the night. Then enjoying the grace beside each other in the morning.
Tomorrow! Tomorrow! Tomorrow! This sweet gift turns 5. If Im honest my fears in the night
were that I wouldnt get to see this day. But I see tomorrow, and what a grace it is that I get
to be there in it with her. I feel so very fortunate. What grace has met us on this journey to
give me these years next to her sweet love. My warmth, its still here, still meeting her in the
night, and for that I give thanks.
Dearest Story Jane,
Im so thankful for you. I am so very blessed to be your mama. The day you were placed in

my life was a great- good day. I love how Jesus made you. You are full of joy and adventure.
You are sneaky and enjoy to find experiments all through the house. You remind me I still
have a little one in the house when I find you covered in my makeup or filling a jewelry box
with lotion. You remind me of the best of life sweet girl. You are generous with your love, and
you expect every one of us in the house to shower you with that love. And we do. Its so
good to be the baby. We share that. We both know what it is to be loved as the baby of the
family.
I love you dear heart. I pray that you know the nearness of Jesus all the days of your life. I
pray you walk in the richness of love and faith. I pray where the hard edges of life meet you,
you learn to trust, to pray, to look for the grace that will walk you through each moment big
and small. If I am not in those future days- my prayers will be there meeting you. I have a
Story Jane place in my heart- its uniquely shaped, full of laughter, and made specifically for
you.
I love you sweet Story Jane. Thank you Jesus for letting me live right next to this gift. Thank
you for all my children and my guy. It has been a gift. Such a grace gift- this breath, this day,
getting to see tomorrow. 5- my baby is turning 5! A dream come true!
Always,
Mama
From a blog post originally published August 22, 2014
Dear Story,
I love you. I love your big giant love right next to me. You actually just came with the new
stuffed animal we bought together today when mommy was kissing and kissing you with lots
of tears down her face. You just found your way next to me in bed. Its as though you are
working to multiply our time together. I am in full agreement with you and love when you
sneak quietly beside me night after night. Who really needs sleep?
This kissing story is and will always be one of my favorite memories. Your Aunt Jonna always
gave big wide mouth kisses like you are trying out. They are fun, and I love how much you
love me. I love you that much and more. Its good to be the youngest. You get the mama
that has confidence to not be too worried about what everyone is thinking. But- I still will
never want a hickey. One day you will get to have your wedding kiss. Its going to be a good
one. Until then- Ill be here to smother you in kisses as long as I have kisses to give. The
best of big love.
Dear sweet girl, there are stories that families share, they are the stories of legend. The
stories that bring laughter. I pray this story knits its way into the fabric of our family. I pray
everyone one says, remember that time in church you wanted to do a wedding kiss with
mama. And in that moment you feel proud and not teased. Because it was the sweetest
moment of big love. It was a Story Jane moment. We all love and crave the affections of the
youngest. It is good to be youngest (its the secret we share- we both enjoy the happy

perch of youngest sibling).


Love and endless smooches,
Mama
Jonna is Kara's older sister. Reading about the bond she had with Kara on Mundane
Faithfulness makes me wish I had a sister. I know a few sisters in my life. Some of them are
as close as Jonna and Kara while others aren't. I hope one day all the sisters in my life will
be able to have as deep of a relationship as the one I witnessed between Jonna and Kara.

Sisterhood
by Jonna McMahon

Barbara Alpert
My sister and I share a very special bond; we share the bond of sisterhood. We are dear
friends. We have helped each other celebrate all of lifes joys. We have held hands through
thunderstorms. We have whispered secrets late at night. We have giggled until our tummies
ached. We have leaned on each other for support when we could not stand on our own. We
have loved, respected, cherished, enjoyed, argued, made up, advised, listened, and told one
another the painful truth our whole lives. We complement each other. We have a relationship
that is so special to me. It is hard to put into words. We are very close. We are sisters.
As long as we have been adults, Kara and I have not lived in the same town, but we talk on
the phone several times a week. If we do not speak to each other after a few days, we know
something is wrong. We have a way of avoiding each other when something is going ona
conflict, a situation we may not want to deal with. When we tell each other, whatever the
issue is becomes real.

Charlotte Gray
We usually begin the conversation with, Ok, why are you avoiding me? Whats going on? I
hadnt heard from Kara in a week. Something wasnt right. I felt uneasy as I left her a
voicemail. I said that I hadnt heard from her. I wanted to schedule a phone date to catch
up. Two days went by and I still had not heard from my sister. There was NO doubt in my
mind that my sister was avoiding me.

The phone rang in the morning. Hi, Jonna.


Kara, I havent heard from you in such a long time. Whats going on?
Jonna, my sister said in a calm, loving voice, I have breast cancer.
WHAT??... My world began spinning out of control. I remember crying. I remember asking,
Are you sure? I remember saying, It should be me!
Kara then said, Jonna, I am so sorry. This response blew my mind. Why was she so calm?
Why wasnt she crying? All of these thoughts were racing through my head. My baby sister,
Kara Tippetts, has breast cancer and she doesnt seem upset. My sister Kara, mother of
four small children, has breast cancer. My sister has cancer. My sister has cancer. My sister
has cancer, and shes apologizing to me? Why? Why are you apologizing to me, Kara? She
lovingly said, Because youre so sad.
She told me that she was not afraid. She said that if it was her time then she was ready. To
be honest, I was upset with her. I wanted her to cry. I wanted her to be angry like me. She
said, God has a plan for me. I am putting my faith and trust in the Lord. He is the only one
who knows the outcome. Im going to battle this cancer. Its going to be a tough battle, but
only God knows my future and I trust in him wholeheartedly.
I remember saying, Well, thats fine. You can be at peace with God, but Im a little angry
with him right now.
She replied, Jonna, you can be angry, just dont stop talking to him.
The phone conversations left me sad, upset, and confused. How can my sister, Kara, have
cancer? I can do this. I can have a prayerful conversation with God and tell him Im not
happy that my sister has cancer. My sister may meet him way too soon.
I had just recently learned to be thankful for my burdens, burdens that I dont understand.
So many burdens have been placed in my life. So many hard, gut-wrenching,
cant-make-sense-of-them burdens. To be honest, there are some burdens that I cant be
thankful for, but I try to find a different way of looking at the burden. So here I am, alone in
my house, trying to find a way to thank God for giving my sister cancer? My mind goes blank.
I just start talking. I am having a prayerful conversation with God. He may have been the only
person, at that moment, who could understand what I was saying. It hurt, it felt comforting,
and it helped! I prayed for strength. I prayed for wisdom. I prayed for understanding. I prayed
for guidance.
I was still having a hard time dealing with the news. God held my hand through the whole
process. He placed people in my life to help me understand breast cancer. He placed people
in my life with siblings who suffered from cancer. He created a support system for me. These

people included friends, family, and people I hardly knewpeople who helped me understand
and accept my sisters cancer. I had a friend who tenderly held my hand and explained all of
the terms that my sister was throwing at me. She sent my sister a care package full of
scarves to cover my sisters bald head when she lost her hair. She called my husband when
she knew I needed extra TLC.
Another friend of mine gave me a book called Jesus Calling. I began to read, re-read, and
read again every daily passage. I began to open my heart. Another friend told me the
importance of being strong for my sister. To be present for her. I needed to be her
cheerleader, her support, and her strength. She gave me a book called Calm my Anxious
Heart, by Linda Dillow. I began to read it. I started to understand how to be thankful for what
I have been given instead of focusing on the negative aspects of my life. It was a concept
that I began to pray to live by. My perspective began to change. I could choose to focus on
the horrible cancer and horrific treatment my sister is going through, OR I could be thankful
that it is 2012 and that there have been so many advancements in the treatment of breast
cancer. My sister has a fantastic chance at beating this disease.
I went to visit Kara. I was strong for her. I held her hand as she cut off her beautiful long hair.
We celebrated how fabulously she rocked a short pixie. I enjoyed her family. We laughed, we
cried, we loved.
I got to know my sisters community. I loved the people who loved my sister and her family.
My sister lives her life with an open, inviting heart. I saw how beautiful it was to live that way.
My sisters treatments are hard. It is hard to see her suffer. It is hard to hear fear in her
voice. It is hard to see her so sick she cant lift her head off the pillow to say goodbye to
me. It is hard to watch your sister have her head shaved as her husband looks on and
continually tells her how beautiful she is. It is hard when your sister ends up in the hospital
because her tough chemotherapy treatment is too much for her little body to handle. Cancer
is hard. So hard.
As I prayed, I realized that Cancer has brought on some moments that would not have
happened if my sister had been well. A different way of looking at the burden God has put in
front of our family.
I have a loving, supportive, encouraging husband. He has been there for me. He knows when I
come back from visiting my sister that a breakdown is going to follow. He holds me until I
stop crying. When my sister needs me, I leave, and he plays the mom and dad roles
beautifully until I return.
I have really enjoyed taking care of my sisters angelsElla, Harper, Lake, and Story. I even
attended a Mommy and Muffins function with Lake at school. What a tender moment.
I was able to comfort my sister during her treatment.

I have met and fallen in love with my sisters friends.


I have had wonderful conversations with my sisters husband.
He has helped me understand what it is to be a patient, nonjudgmental person.
There are so many amazing people in my life. God-chosen friends and a wonderful,
supportive family have been with me every step of the way.
I have learned people want to help. It is a joy to let people into your heart. It is a joy to let
people help you.
I have learned that prayer is the most powerful tool we possess.
Some of the most precious moments I have had with my sister have been when my sister
was sick.
A few years ago when I was going through a rough time, my sister suggested I hang a Bible
verse on my mirror, to read it when I was feeling low. This passage helps my perspective. Its
still taped to my mirror. It has provided comfort and a wonderful outlook to live by.
Finally, Jonna, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything
worthy of praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).
I now have the peace my sister had during our initial phone conversation. Some days its
harder than others to maintain that peace. I want to protect my sister. But I know that to
pray for my sister is to protect her.

Isadora James
Little sister, you have taught your big sister so much.
Praying for you my love,
Jonna McMahon

Two More Days


by Jonna McMahon
July 14, 1976, I became a big sister. My very first memory of my sister, Kara Lynne Thewlies,
was her arriving home from the hospital. Kara and I grew up as very typical sisters. Being
older, I was required to entertain my younger sister. I could be mean and my sister could be a

pain. I always had a built in playmate.


Boy did we play! We played a lot of pretend: Barbies, office, school, and house. I will admit I
always took the better roles. I was the prettiest Barbie, Karas Barbies hair was always
tangled. I was the secretary, Kara was the boss, who really did not have anything to do other
than sit at the desk. I was the teacher, Kara was the student. I was the mommy and yes, as
Kara likes to tell, she was the dog. Kara was always happy to play with me.
Kara never really complained she played the role of younger sister well. My sister was a
tomboy and I was all girl. She preferred a baseball hat and I wanted my dresses to touch the
floor. Her nails were often dirty from playing in the mud, mine nails were usually painted. We
shared a room for a while. The lights would be turn out but the chatter went on for hours. We
laughed, we giggled, we cried, we fought, we were sisters.
Kara and I have always shared a special bond. We compliment each other. Kara is outgoing,
loving, smart, low maintance. I am quiet, compassionate, eager to please, and high maintence.
We grew up together. We know each other better than anyone. Kara and I have built a
lifetime of memories together. Our greatest joy, to the heaviest sorrow.
The day my sister told me she had breast cancer my world was turned upside down. I was by
her side through the battle. The haircut, the head shave, the chemo treatments, the
mastectomy, the radiation. My heart broke every battle she had to face. Every battle she
faced she would say, I am so sorry Jonna. It was a tough year. Through that tough year I
have so many precious memories being with my sister. Hard but wonderful memories. Arriving
to Colorado Springs just in time to watch gentle hands shave my sisters head. Looking at her
for the first time with stubble and seeing these beautiful piercing green eyes looking back at
me for approval. She looked stunning. Rubbing her feet, and she knows how much I do NOT
like feet. Caring for her children. Making her giggle when we should be in tears. These are
memories I will cherish for the rest of my life. Kara is all about making memories. Her story
line has changed. We are not sure where The Lord is taking this novel. We are hoping for an
unbelievable plot twist but until that comes we need to focus on making memories.
Kara is all about gathering people. I call her the creamy filling between the hard cookies. She
makes everything fit and everyone comfortable. When you are with my sister she makes you
feel as though you are the only one in the room. She loves BIG. All that meet her feel her
love. Kara has been in Colorado Springs for just a short while. She has gathered her people.
She and Jason have built a community. They have some of the finest people to be part of
their lives. Loving, giving, serving, caring, people who have helped my sister and her beautiful
family when they needed it most.
Now the time is crucial to help the Tippetts make wonderful memories. Her community has
put together a T-shirt drive to help raise money to support many more memories. Memories
for my nieces and nephew to have of their wonderful, loving mother. Memories for Jason and
his beautiful bride. I am honored to wear a team Tippetts T-shirt. My sister is the source of
so many wonderful, loving, funny, sorrowful, beautiful memories. I hope for many many more

with this beautiful gift from God, my sister.

No Goodbyes...
by Jonna McMahon
Two and a half years ago my younger sister called me and told me she and been diagnosed
with breast cancer. I cried, I cried, I cried, she softly said "Jonna I am sorry." I said "why are
you telling me you are sorry?" She responded, "because it made you sad". She then went on
to tell me that she was not afraid to go home to Jesus.
I have walked closely by my sisters side. We have shared so much. We have shared a
bedroom, clothes, late night giggles, heartbreak, we were each other's maid and matron of
honor, babies, tears, successes and now terminal cancer.
At the beginning of this journey with my sister, I decided not to be the one to tell her it was
going to be ok. I decided I was going to listen. I heard my sister tell me her fears, her
knowledge of her disease, how it was affecting her. She told me scary things. I listened. I let
her tell me what she needed to say. I cried with her. I prayed prayed prayed!
I have flown to be by her side as they cut off her beautiful long hair. I was there when they
shaved her head. How breathtakingly beautiful my sister is. I cared for her while she was in
the hospital. I listened to her as she talked about her funeral plans, the role she would like
me to take after she is gone. I am so thankful for this time and especially this direction. I feel
Kara and I have left no words unsaid.
So how do I say goodbye to my sister? Kara and I share so much but the most important
thing that we share is faith. We have both accepted The Lord as our savior. We are both
granted salvation. So I will not say goodbye to my sweet baby sister... I will say.. I will see you
again my love.. And that is a promise!

Philippians 3:20-21

Graceful grief
by Blythe Hunt
Jonna was in town shortly before Karas death. We enjoyed coffee together and I listened to
her tell me about this visit, this time that was likely her last spent with Kara on this earth.
She spoke with grace and love. She shared her heart and her thoughts about the children

and how much she loves them, we talked about how special aunts are, and spoke of the hurt
that comes with loving someone so deeply. The dreams that will never come to fruition, the
pain of having to say goodbye prematurely.
As she spoke, I watched Jonnas face, so much like Karas. My heart ached for her having
to say goodbye to her baby sister. She spoke eloquently, just like Kara, and with the same
irreverence that makes us all laugh. Her thoughts were amazingly well organized in the midst
of her grief as she talked about how her role will change in the lives of her nieces and
nephew. As different as these sisters may be, they are so alike, the biggest similarity being
how big they love.
I cant imagine my sister dying. I cant imagine how you live without a sister, how your heart
must break for your sisters babies left behind. And yet here is Jonna gracefully walking her
story with a radiant trust that God will carry her through the darkest days.
She later sent this update and I asked if I could share it on the blog; I rejoice in the love
between these women and how it will bloom even bigger in Heaven.
I am sitting at the airport processing my trip with Kara. This was a beautiful and touching trip
but very, very hard. As we were saying goodbye, she looked in my eyes and said, Jonna,
what do you think?
I said, I think you are great.
Have I deteriorated?
Yes, I replied, Since the last time I saw you
She agreed. Then I said, Kara it is so hard for us to watch you suffer.
She nodded. Yes, the pain sucks.
We talked a lot this week. About our plans of growing old together, outliving our husbands
and sharing our last years together. About how that is not going to happen now. And we cried
more than we laughed, but it was beautiful.
I truly feel in my heart I just said goodbye to my sister. We hugged and I told her, I love you.
So much.
She said, Jonna, I know you love me and you love me so well...but I love you more.
Not possible!
And she replied as a bratty little sister would, I love you more because I said it first. And
we laughed through more tears.

I told her last night that sometimes it can be hard for me to see sisters. I want to be jealous,
envious of them that they get to be together. But my sister taught me differentlyI want to
celebrate that beautiful bond two girls have because I have the bestest sister!!! Even when it
will be past tenseI had the bestest sister!!!
I wouldn't trade one ounce of heartbreak for a second of time I had with Kara. She is
amazing!!! She is even doing dying well!!!
I am so honored to be by my sisters side through this whole process. I am so blessed to
have the very, very best sister!!! I love her so, so much!

Jonna's Tribute
After Karas memorial service, her sister Jonna led a time of sharing at the reception. She
began by sharing her own tribute with us; it was powerful, beautiful, joyful, and full of love.
Seeing Jonnas grace in speaking so eloquently about Kara even in the midst of her own
deep and piercing grief was something I will treasure for the rest of my life. The relationship
between these two women was a privilege to witness, and I cant wait for them to be
reunited in Heaven. She also shared at Karas memorial service in Indiana last week. I asked
Jonna if I could publish her tribute on the blog. Enjoy and soak in the abounding grace
I want to start off by reading something Kara wanted to share with you all. She wrote this in
her final days:
My little body has grown tired of battle, and treatment is no longer helping. But what I see,
what I know, what I have is Jesus. He has given me breath, and with it I pray I would live well
and fade well. By degrees of doing both, living and dying, as I have moments left to live. I get
to draw my people close, kiss them tenderly, speak love over their lives. I get to pray into
eternity my hopes and fears for the moments of my loves. I get to laugh and cry and wonder
over heaven. I do not feel like I have the courage for this journey, But I have Jesusand he
will provide. He has given me so much to be grateful for, and that gratitude, that wondering
over His love, will cover us all. And it will carry uscarry us in ways we cannot comprehend.
I was unsure how to honor my amazing sister. I mean she was an accomplished writer, a
wonderful speaker, she inspired so many.where do I start? So like everyone else, I hit the
google key.
KARA. I looked up her name. The Irish meaning of Kara means love. The Greek meaning of
Kara means pure. I thought that was amazing. Anyone who knew my sister knows those two
words describe Kara. But I would like to make up my own version. The name Kara means to
me pure love.

For the many in this room you know what this love is; it is the love that she had as she stood
in front of you either in a crowd of people or one on one. It was the way she looked at you.
The way her green eyes would look at you as if she could read your heart. As if there was no
one else in the planet except the person standing right in front of her. Her love was a pure
love, an everlasting love.
I am Karas older sister. Life with Kara was fun. She was my secret keeper, my nighttime
companion, my playmate, my first girlfriend. Kara and I were very different. I am reserved, she
was outgoing. I am nervous walking into a crowd of people I dont know, she was looking to
make a new friend. I am a pleaser, she was a questioner. Kara was great to have around. I
was the girly girl, and Kara enjoyed playing in the mud. She would beg me to go fishing with
her at our grandparents pond. I found this miserable. Kara would bait my hook. She often
cast for me as well. If I caught a fish, she would get it off for me. So I became a really good
at fishingI was basically just holding a pole for her! Oh now that I think about it, she had me
wrapped around her finger even then.
She was younger but she taught me many things. She taught me how to be a good friend and
love someone well. Kara and I had a very strong bond. She was always my go-to for problems
and advice. I can remember many times hiding things from her. She would call and say, I
have not talked to you in a few days; what are you not wanting to tell me? Kara would never
jump on my band wagon and join my pity party. She would dig deeper. She would ask me
questions about my heart and how I was approaching the problem. It is hard to face your own
heart when you know it is not soft and loving.
I love this quote from my favorite author:

Kara Tippetts, Big Love


I will never forget the call I received from Kara two and a half years ago. She was avoiding
my calls. I had tried reaching her before I was to go on summer vacation. We talked several
times a week. I knew she was hiding something. I even phoned her on vacation. Nothing no
answer, no call back. Finally we connected. She calmly stated, Jonna, I have breast cancer.
I sobbed. I trembled, I was shaking. I was devastated. She said, Jonna I am so sorry. I said,
Why are you telling me you are sorry? She answered, Because this is making you so sad.
She then went on to tell me she was not afraid of dying, she was not afraid to go home to
Jesus. It was heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.
I immediately jumped on board as one of her soldiers, cheerleaders, and prayer warriors. I
flew across the country often. I held her hand as they cut her beautiful long blond hair into
an adorable pixie. I arrived in time as they shaved her head. She looked stunning. I came for
chemo treatments and I filled in for her at school for a mom-and-muffin party. Through this

hard, I was loving my sister. Through these struggles, we laughed. Through the tears, we
could look into each others eyes and know the love we had for each other without saying a
word.

Kara Tippetts
When Kara was nauseous I would rub her feet. Now I HAVE to tell you: this was the biggest
task for me. When we went on road trips as a family when we were little, I was the one who
could not fall asleep. Dennis would be sound asleep before we would be out of the driveway,
Kara would be asleep by the time we were out of the neighborhood, and I would be sitting in
the middle on the hump seatyou know the seat, with no leg roomand Kara would take
her little wet feet and put them on me. YUCK. It would make me crazy. There were times I
swore I saw a little smile grow across her face. So when she had chemo and asked me to rub
her feetthat was a huge act of love. I was up for the challenge but I am pretty sure
through her misery as she would peek to watch me rubbing her feet I think I saw that same
sneaky smile.
I could sit here all day and tell you funny, amazing, touching stories of my sister. I know many
of you witnessed our relationship. Many of you are praying for me. I truly believe that is how I
have the strength to stand before you today. But the one thing that describes my sister and
her pure love is to be a witness to her amazing marriage.
Jason, my sisters beloved. I googled his name as well. Jason comes from a Greek word
meaning healer. That describes Jason perfectly. He assisted my sister into the ultimate
healing of our Lord's Kingdom.
When Kara met Jason it was so beautiful. Watching their young, innocent love blossom into
an incredibly solid marriage was breathtaking. I had a front-row seat to this love affair. Kara,
as many of you know, had a very strong personality. Jason embraced it and guided it so
softly and eloquently. Jason and Kara worked every day on their marriage. Their marriage
was not perfect but their love for each other was. The way Jason would look at my sister.
Oh, I could see the love in his eyes. When my sister became ill, Jason was the rock. Jason
has cared for my sister the moment he said I do.
Kara would often say to me, I could not live without Jason, but Jason could live without
me. That is such a strong statement. The love and support my sister felt with Jason was
real and it was powerful. I was in Colorado when Kara was getting her port put in. We all took
a walk in the park up a small mountain. Kara was walking ahead with the kids. Jason turned to
me and said, Kara is so beautiful. I am so lucky to have her. It was so sweet to hear him
talk so lovingly about my sister.
The way Jason and Kara handled the hardest goodbye is so beautiful and has made us better
people for watching it unfold. I could not ask for a more godly, loving, caring, supportive,
faithful husband for my sister than Jason.

As for my fabulous nieces and wonderful nephew They each have a piece of their precious
mama with them. I get to watch them grow, and I get to point out all the fantastic things that
are just like her.
When you think of Kara, you think of the word community. I googled the definition of
community as well: Community: A feeling of fellowship with others as a result of sharing
common attitudes, interests, and goals.
Kara built a community wherever she went. From a tiny girl to a grown woman, Kara brought
people together. When she came to Christ, she built her community on the strongest
foundation possible. Her marriage, family, and friends. She grew strong, loving relationships
that were all Christ centered. She branched out to her blog community. Always pointing them
toward Christ. Kara is pure love. And now she lives in peace with the Lord. We need to take
what Kara has taught us. We need to start in our homes and extend that glorious Christ-like
love to all.
I would like to recognize someone who has done that very well. Mickey is a perfect example
of Christ-like love. The way she cared for my sister and her family while she was dying. She
is amazing to me and to everyone here. Thank you to showing us how to love. Thank you for
the love you have shown to our family. We love you so much.
My heart is overflowing with love from all of you. What an honor it is to celebrate the life of
Kara Lynne Tippetts. Remember: today we get to live well.

A bond like no other


A few weeks ago my sweets and I were able to sneak away for a weekend getaway. We were
heading to the beach just the two of us to celebrate the wedding of long-time friends. The
time away was much neededrelaxing, reconnecting, and slowing down from our fast-paced
lives. I had never been to a beach wedding before, but I knew it would be a treat.
The setting was wonderful. The bride was gorgeous and the handsome groom could not take
his eyes off her. It was amazing to witness. Every time my husband and I attend a wedding
we hold hands and look at each other with tears of joy in our eyes. We are remembering our
wedding and the day the Lord made us man and wife. I just love weddings!
But this time something else stood out to me more than the bride and groom. I was not
expecting it, but I could not take my eyes off them: beautiful sisters. It was the mother of the
groom and her younger sister. I watched them. I admired them from afar. I did not want them
to know I knew their secrettheir secret looks, their secret smiles, their secret tears. Every
time they were looking at each other they were sharing a beautiful sisterly bond. Only the
two of them knew what each look, smile, and tear meant. Each one of them made it to all the

nieces and nephews and shared their infectious love. When the music started they grabbed
each others hands and away to the dance floor they went, calling all to join them. I was one
of the first ones out there; I cannot resist a great dance party with two beautiful sisters
beckoning!
I contained my tears for most of the night. Then came time for the mother of the groom to
dance with her son. The way the Aunt watched her sister and son dance together was a
sight to beholdthe pure love she had in her eyes for each of themthe way they sang to
each other. I simply fell apart. Tears came, my heart ached. I missed my sweet sister. I
looked to my left and I found my handsome husband looking at me. He was watching what I
was watching and he had many tears too. He knew my heart was hurting. He held me and we
watched this beautiful moment together.
At the end of the evening, I walked up and complimented the sisters and told them I enjoyed
watching them and their family. They were so kind and loving. I did not share that I once had
an amazing sister. I did not tell them that Kara and I had dreams of dancing together at our
childrens weddings. I did, however, tell them how much I enjoy watching sisters who love
each other.
Sisters have an amazing bond. I no longer have a sister on this earth. There is not a day that
goes by that I dont think of her, miss her, ache that she is no longer here. The one thing I
do have is the promise that I will see her again.
I also have three amazing daughters. I watch the bond between them grow stronger each day.
I watch them argue, forgive, support, love, and encourage each other. I am so thankful they
have on another. I am so thankful they were able to witness the love Kara and I shared.
I miss my sister. Sometimes I miss her so much it takes my breath away. Sometimes I miss
her and I cannot believe that she is really gone. I still hear her in my head. I hear her words,
her voice, her thoughts, her encouragement, her love for me, her laughoh, I miss her laugh.
I am so thankful for the time we had together, I am thankful for her children. They all carry a
piece of her. I am thankful for my aching heart that means I loved so deeply, so
unconditionally, so purely. I am thankful that Ella, Harper, Lake, and Story each have a sister.
I am also thankful for all those beautiful sisters that surround me everyday. To witness the
bond of sisters is so beautiful and so, so dear to my aching heart.
I am also so thankful for my brother. Because of him I still get to be a sister. He and I have
each other. He and I have beautiful memories of our beloved sister. He and I both lost a
sister. He and I know the pain we feel. Thank you for all your love and support, Dennis. Thank
you for allowing me to sister you.
Thank you, Kara, for no words left unsaid. Thank you for pushing me to be the best I can be.
Thank you for teaching me how to love. Thank you for being the best seester.

Mickey was Kara's mentor, and the first to show her the love that Kara is so well known for.
Getting Mickey was no small feat for me; I had to save up 231 boxes for her. Mickey always
called Kara a gatherer who created beautiful RTG (reasons to gather). This shiny Mew was a
RTG for the Wishmakers clan on PFQ. Their kindness was vital in the box saving process. (I
think more than half of my boxes came from them.) This whole ordeal reminded me that lofty
goals can be achieved with God.
The reason why I chose Mew for Mickey is that I see her as the cornerstone for the entire
Mundane Faithfulness community. Not only has she always been there for Kara's family, she
was also there to encourage Kara's friends when their hearts were weary. She knew
everyone's hearts, and it has been said that Mew contains DNA from every Pokemon.
~Excerpt from

My dear friend Mickey decided to come in the middle of my treatment and walk alongside our
family. She stayed multiple weeks and helped carry us through some very dark days. With
each new treatment, I hit a lower low, a weaker weak; the bottom grew deeper and deeper.
Mickey came, stayed, nurtured, and protected. She loved us gently in our exhausted state
and surrounded the kids in their fearful place with her gentle, joyful brand of love. I remember
the first outing Mickey and I braved bald. We went to Costco and lunch. Mickey has a gift for
conversation far exceeding my own verbal abilities. We entered the warehouse store talking,
and we left talking. I barely noticed the glances and felt utterly free from the uncomfortable
wigs and hot scarves. I felt liberated in a new way. We went to a nearby hamburger place for
lunch. In the middle of my bite, I found a hair in my burger. Mickey looked at me and frankly
said, "Well, we know it isn't yours." We laughed harder than I had laughed in months. It was
laughter we needed, exactly when we needed it. Mickey's timing with that one-liner, and also
her presence in our home, was right on target.
-------------------------------------

She's here
by Kara Tippetts
Im resting better, Im feeling better, Im watching the love I have known since I was 17 be
extended to my children.
Gentle kindness is shepherding the hearts of my children. My dear Mickey and Kim were
some of the first to hear of my illness. From that moment, they committed to getting her
here. She offered an entire month. We could not comprehend the gift. We could not
understand the love that would sacrifice a month of life to support this large family. Tonight
Jason and I fell tired into chairs, and looked up and saw her patiently helping our oldest with

a book report. Jason said, I am so thankful she is here.


This afternoon she cleaned out the drawers of my baby and took out summer clothes. She
enjoyed Johnny Cash with Story Jane, she is training my puppy, and she walked me to the
grocery to give me a moment of normalcy. This list could go on and on.
Mickey and I were cut from the exact same cloth. We can work hard at tidying the house, we
can plan a party, but we can also spend the entire morning in pajamas chatting and drinking
coffee without a hint of guilt. Okay, we do the second more.
I have been really wanting to go out in public bald lately. I have been talking and talking about
wanting to brave bald. I do not love wigs, scarves, hats. I want to go like I am. Today, with my
Mickey, I braved it. She and I do not, for a moment, ever stop talking. I have taken wrong
turns, been lost a mile from my house, because Im wrapped in a conversation. Today I
braved Costco and lunch without a head covering. There were many looks, many turned
heads, looks of sweet sympathy, but in the safety of the person next to me, I hardly noticed.
Mickey has brought an interesting political conversation rather than a hateful one. I rarely
talk politics in any forum, but in the safety of a loving relationship we can talk and even
disagree. Its lovely. Its not all highbrow discussions. Today we were talking about our
affections for hip hop to dance to while cooking.
This is the very best of what my friend brings. Jason would say its the caramel corn (he ate
his weight in it last night). Its the time spent gently loving my kids. She has brought love in
the depths of our cancer journey. I can see the subtle ways my kids are hurting. She has
brought consistency and patience, and cereal for dinner. She is a gift that makes my weary
heart so thankful.

The Gift of Two Months


One cannot know how they will face cancer. The sick nights and long days in anguish fighting
for a good attitude for the people you love living next to you as you struggle. The stupor of
drugs and pain is exhaustingly long. When we started this journey, we knew we needed help
to navigate this mine field. We knew we needed the kids to be supported in a gentle, loving
way. This was going to break us all.
I have known Mickey since I was 17 years old. I was a hurting, broken teen confused and new
to my faith. The minute I met her and her children, I knew I wanted to be in her life. To know
Mickey is to know you are invited, welcome. Her door was always open, and she met me toe
to toe with her love to talk. I have always felt important, loved, and cared for by her. I
remember in college Mickey caught wind that I was struggling. She drove down to
Bloomington and took me camping.

When I started treatment, Mickey was in the thick of wedding planning and preparation for
her sweet daughter. We had told her we wanted her to come, but knew her schedule was full.
Over full. I will not forget when she texted us back. She said she needed two weeks to
recover, but she wanted to stay for 5 weeks. It was so humbling. First, we didnt know how
to receive such a gift. Who gives that much of their life to us? Mickey, thats who. And her
guy Kim gives just as much in letting her come. She came before my third treatment, and it
was the perfect time. We had had a lot of in and out, and having her for 5 weeks was a gift.
We were in the dark middle days of treatment. we could not see the end. Weary doesnt
describe it. She came in with gentle joy, and she told us she would do anything except
discipline our children. That was such a gift.
Our kids were weary in their own way, and they simply needed love. All of our character flaws
were showing, and we all desperately wanted someone to love us even in our ugly.
Through radiation, I thought I could tough it through. I was tired and in pain, but it was
manageable. But I wasnt looking at my guy. He kept suggesting we call in help, but I was
stubborn and trying to be a toughie. What I wasnt seeing was how exhausted Jason was.
Once I came to, I suggested he call Mickey. My sister wanted so badly to be here, but she
was in the thick of end-of-year activities with her girls, and it just didnt work. She offered
to help me get Mickey here. Jason made the call. He came home and said he almost wept
when she said she would come. We were hoping for a week. She gave us three. What a gift.
Today is our last full day with this grace gift. Today this gift also turns 60. We will celebrate
surrounded by the many people that have come to love her in this town. Jason and I really
want to lock her in the basement and keep her hostage forever. But we know we have not
deserved the two months of her life she has given us. The kids are in full card-making mode.
The sun is shining, and its time to party. Words fail me, dear friend. Thank you for walking
with me in my darkest hour.
I love you, dear one. I dont want you to leave us; you helped us see the joy in our day. You
pointed us to kindness with our children. You helped us say yes more to the requests of our
young tween. You cleaned the kitchen countless times. You helped throw a party, joined me
when I couldnt do anything but sit. You welcomed young mothers into your fold. You laughed
when our kids chose chips and dip for breakfast and cereal for dinner. You showed us where
the battle was and where the battle wasnt. Community surrounds you, and Im so blessed
to be counted as part of that community. You love big, you love well, and you love always.
Im so thankful you took me into your family all those years ago. Happy 60th.

To love like Mannymickey


by Blythe Hunt
I seriously cannot stop raving about Mickey. Or Nanny Mickey, as she is affectionately
known. Mannymickey to my toddler. She is a woman who knows how to love and love

instantly. The first time I met her, she made me feel like we were old friends. She noticed me,
made me feel seen, and pursued me so I could be known. Oh, my stars; her love is a balm to
my motherless heart.
I recently said to one of my sisters, I wish Mickey were my mother.
Erin jokingly replied, I just wish I had a mother!
I chuckled, but her words made me think.
Kara and Mickey love big. Love well. Love in ways that matter to the recipient. They are
unique in that instead of loving in ways in which they are gifted, their gift is loving! Does that
make sense? They love according to what their recipients need. A selfless, beautiful, healing
love.
This kind of love is transformative. I am not tempted to hoard it or keep it to myself. After
time with Kara or Mickey, I want to turn around and love someone else, embrace them and
remind them of how special they are, just like Kara and Mickey do for me.
So when Erin pointed out the obviousthat we are motherlessmy mind started thinking
about how blessed weve been with women who have filled that role in our lives. No one can
replace a mother, but we can still love well and effectively. And because we have received
this kind of love, we can love others, too.
How many motherless women are around me?! How many women (or people in general) dont
have mothers or have mothers who have been cruel or absent or lacking in love? Each friend
who has this brokenness in her life is a friend who could benefit from the gift of love. And
how easy it is to send a text or a card, engaging people and reminding them ultimately that
Jesus loves them and finds them irresistible? What a gift it is to share a cup of coffee with a
friend and listen to her heart. What a joy to help carry her burdens and take them to the
cross together.
Ive said it before and Ill say it again: I want to be Mickey when I grow up but I am called to
be her now. How can I move toward the hurting people around me like Mickey does? How can
I use my words to encourage someone even if our conversation is brief? How can I pursue
others and make them feel noticed and valued?
This love, it comes from Jesus. And the more I understand it through the big love of women
like Kara and Mickey and my sister Erin, the more I can translate it to other peoplemy
husband, children, friends, neighbors.
The ugly truth is that we are all hurting. Despite her brave face and unquenchable courage
and strength, Mickeys heart is breaking for Kara. Karas heart breaks for Jason and her
children. The list goes on. But the more-than-good news is that we dont have to hurt alone.
We can put an arm around each other, cry on each others shoulders, remind each other of

the gentle love of Jesus and the promise of the joy to come.
Im learning this kind of community is rare. But community is not foundit is built, one brick
of love at a time. So how can we move toward each other? How can we reach out to
someone who is hurting? How can we remind someone that they are seen and cherished?
How can we notice someone who feels unseen?
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment,
and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.
I John 4:18 & 19

Encouragement from Mickey


by Blythe Hunt
A few days ago, Mickey wrote this in a message to a few of us gals as we wrote back and
forth, struggling with the impossible task of saying goodbye to our Kara. I thought it would
encourage your hearts, too, as we all process this awful but hope-filled goodbye.
I know how hard it is for your young hearts to understand what you are being asked to do. To
love in friendship so deeply and then to hand her back to Jesus. To give her up when your
journey has just begun. How does one do that? You have had her about as long as the
disciples sat at Jesus' feet. How they must have felt their journey had just begun. How
desperate they were at losing their closest friend!
But they learned, as you will learn, that He never asks us to do it alone. His Spirit of Grace,
His face in your friends, His voice in your heart will comfort you. There will be tears. But
there will never be a loss of hope or joy. I think this week you lovelies should prepare your
hearts. The placing of you in this wonderful, sweet mommas life is coming to bloom. You
have no regrets for how you have loved her, you have no regrets for how you have served
her. Each in a season of this time. Each with a special purpose.
She is a heart of peace right now. She grieves her loss of her loves, but Jesus' face will
instantly heal that. Remembershe longs also to see in that moment how He will look at her.
Oh, what a day that will be! She's leaving this party early, but for a grander, wondrous party.
Kara would want a dance party; she would want you to continue what she modeled of loving
in kindness, to look for ways to continue what you have learned in her sufferinghow to show
up, how to love those hurting hearts around you. She always saw her story as a one small
piece of Gods earthly kingdom. There are many, many more stories of hearts hurting that
need friendship and encouragement and a pointing to Jesus.
Your story is not ending here; it is just beginning. Now go and continue to love with kindness,
with thankfulness that you were given this gift. If sadness overcomes you, put on the dance

music and dance!! I love you all so much. Some live a lifetime and never experience a day of
friendship that you have been given.
Mickey, thank you for speaking love, truth, and comfort into our hearts. May we all strive to
love big with kindness and encourage those hurting hearts around us.