Branch’s Video

Happy Saturday, friends!

Today I want to share Branch’s video with you. It is an 11-minute slideshow Glenn put together for Branch’s memorial service back in December, telling his story of our time with him. It has taken us a while, but it’s finally ready to be shared with the world!

I hope you like it! My favorite part is when we meet Branch in person for the first time. Such cool memories and moments to have on camera.

Branch Movie Official from Glenn Murdock on Vimeo.

Much love,

Kristin

 

April 12, 2014 - 12:41 pm Glenn - Now everyone will understand why I tear up when I hear "Roar" by Katy Perry!

April 12, 2014 - 1:14 pm Carol - I just sat here and bawled and thanked God for all the time you had. And, I'm so sorry he's gone. Really and truly. Thanks for sharing the video - great work, Glenn! Love you guys.

April 12, 2014 - 2:08 pm Andie - Kristin and Glenn, this is so incredibly moving. My heart is full and also as heavy as can be after watching. You two are amazing. Branch is amazing. Thank you for sharing this love and this special life with us.

April 12, 2014 - 2:16 pm Gina Davis - Cried long and hard. What a great video and such meaningful memories. Thankful God gave you the best week of your life and comforted knowing He is with God, never to be forsaken. Love to you Glenn and Kristin.

April 12, 2014 - 3:03 pm Amy - His smile!!! Beautiful. Branch is amazing and so lucky to have such wonderful parents.

April 13, 2014 - 6:59 pm Mackenzie - I LOVE the songs you picked for this. My favorite moment is when you kiss Branch and he smiles. Praying for you guys as you continue to grieve, and thanking God for the memories and time you had with Branch.

April 13, 2014 - 7:59 pm Joanna - absolutely beautiful. i loved watching it and getting to see you guys with him. what special special special moments and pictures. still praying for you dear friend. love you!

April 15, 2014 - 7:59 am Jamie - Thank you for sharing this! So special. I am blessed to know you and to get to learn about Branch's life, even from afar! You and Glenn are loved!

April 15, 2014 - 3:07 pm Sarah (tam) Leary - tears! what a joyous celebration of Branch's life. thank you for sharing him with us.

April 16, 2014 - 8:56 am Tina - I saw this a couple days ago (cried through the whole thing) and just didn't feel adequate enough to write anything in response. You guys are incredible and I'm so proud to know you. God is a good God who takes care of you and it is clear that he is your salvation. Love you guys (and Branch too!).

I have noticed something different in the air lately. Something fresh. Something I haven’t seen for a while.

It came quickly, unexpectedly, kindly.

It came as friends shared their exciting news of expecting a baby.

It came as I watched Mara gracefully receive gifts at a baby shower for her newest addition, all the while honoring Julia’s life and legacy. A baby shower after loss. Wow.

It came in the morning, after a full night’s rest.

It came in a walk along sunset cliffs with a dear soul.

It came in the tears streaming down my face every single day.

It came through laughter with my favorite people. Who knew seven miles could be so much fun?

It came as I held my breath, watching our new friends give birth to, and then say goodbye to, their sweet little girl.

It came around a table, sharing food and drink and love.

It came in the loud moments.

It came in the quiet.

In each little space :: hope came.

The journey of grief does not seem to start with much hope, and I think that’s ok. I think we have to realize the magnitude of our loss. Feel the loneliness. Sit with our sorrow, even though we don’t want to. It seems that is the only way true hope can enter in again. For when we are a big crumpled up mess,  God reaches down and touches us.

And that, my friends, is enough to give me just a little hope today.

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

Much love to you all,
~Kristin

P.S. I also wanted to THANK you all for praying for my car/mode of transportation. My car was able to be FIXED, which we originally had no hope of happening!!!! Thank you for caring about and praying for me — even in things like automobiles.

April 2, 2014 - 10:16 pm Carol - So very thankful for the hope. Love you.

April 3, 2014 - 9:33 am Jamie - Oh my goodness, I love this. Thank you for sharing!

April 3, 2014 - 7:07 pm Jaime - This is my absolute favorite bible verse. Well, so far:) You're in my thoughts.

April 4, 2014 - 9:10 am Lindsay - Love this Kristin.

Let’s Make a List!

It’s Wednesday, so I figured today I would make a list. It might be kind of like high/lows. Or maybe just random stuff I have been thinking or doing. Perhaps I will just make a list of things I love about Branch — though I do think that list would be too long to post on the internet. {what’s NOT to love about him?!? he’s the best!!}. At any rate, here we go.

1. I have just about had it with promotional e-mails.

Does ANYONE like getting ten plus e-mails a day, none of them actually written to you, all of them trying to sell you something? I try to unsubscribe but then somehow things keep. on. coming! In my grief-ridden state, my patience is muuuuccchhhh lower than it used to be, so anything that was “on the fence” or “slightly annoying” prior to Branch dying, is now excessively obnoxious and immediately eliminated.  If it’s not careful, the entire internet may get the boot.

2. We spent Sunday afternoon walking/hiking with Kimberly.

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Sunshine! Ocean breeze! Torrey Pines is the best! And I can check “6 mile walk” off my half-marathon training list.

3. Thin-crust pizza is delicious.

4. We stayed at the #1 hotel in America.

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I don’t know who decides things are #1, but whoever it is named The Grand Del Mar as their favorite place in the US, and boy can I see why. We were gifted a two night stay there earlier this week, and wowzers! Sooooooooooooooooooooo fancy! Beautiful landscaping, gorgeous pools, yummy food, and incredible service made our “getaway” totally extravagant and relaxing. What a treat!!! Thank you thank you thank you for your generosity, my lovely friends. {you know who you are! hi!!!}

The pools at The Grand Del Mar are always warm, so even though it was a little crisp and not exactly pool weather for our stay, we spent time wrapped in towels laying on comfy lounge chairs and reading books and magazines. A neighborhood duck apparently had the same idea, and hopped in for a quick swim.

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5. I am not looking forward to Easter.

It’s not even April yet, but it seems like Easter is just around the corner! I don’t usually have anything against Easter — it is, after all, an incredible holiday celebrating Christ’s Resurrection. I honestly just don’t know if I can handle it this year. Holidays are super hard, and I have found that EVERY holiday — even silly ones like Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day — has been more difficult and sad than I had anticipated. I am not planning on avoiding all holidays forever, by any means, but this first year I would just like to take a back seat. To skip anything official. To visit Branch’s grave and drop off little flowers or plants.  To take a trip to Paris and cry with Glenn there. Hey, at least we would be in Paris! I bet tears taste a little less bitter when you’re sipping champagne and eating a baguette under the Eiffel Tower.

6. I am cooking again.

I don’t know if I told you guys, but for a while I didn’t cook. Pretty much for my whole pregnancy, actually, and then for a month or so after Branch. Well, I’m proud to say I’m back at it! Most of my recipes have been simple and Weight Watchers friendly, but it has been fun to plan our meals, grocery shop, and be in the kitchen again.  It has also been a lot easier to eat at home since we are still in hibernation, with no plans of emerging anytime soon!

There’s my list! Hope you all have a lovely Wednesday. And, just for kicks, here is a picture of us with Branch when he was 3 days old. What a cute little muffin!

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Much love,
~Kristin

I’m All Over the Place:: Weight Loss, Being Anti-Social, and A Cry for Help

I will start with my cry for help. It isn’t quite as drastic as it sounds, so don’t go calling 911.  It’s about my car :: poor little Camry essentially exploded on Saturday. She has been a lovely little car to me, only requiring the occasional smack of the starter to get up and going. Although we knew she would not last forever, we were planning on her being with us for at least 2 more years. She obviously felt now was her time to leave. If any of you hear of a reliable car being sold for *very* little money, please e-mail me. Stick shift or automatic!

Welp, on to the next update… I’m losing weight!

Remember before Branch was born when I talked about not wanting to have to deal with baby weight when you don’t even get to keep the baby? Yea, it’s pretty much as awful as I thought it would be, except that the grief part is worse. Oh boy! It’s a fun journey I’m on, people, let me tell you.

Even still,  I AM very grateful that I am losing weight. It is not rapid, as healthy weight loss rarely is, but it IS coming off. I am really enjoying my re-entry into the world of Weight Watchers, and find the weekly meetings encouraging and challenging.

Here is my photo for this month. I am going to be comparing each month to the starting point so that I can be encouraged by my progress.  I’m glad I chose the purple yoga pants for these pictures. It adds an element of excitement!

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I have lost 10.2 pounds so far. Hitting the 10 pound mark was super thrilling! We’re in the double-digits here! Yahoo!

In other news, Glenn and I have basically thrown our social life to the wind and turned into hermits. I acknowledge that our interpretation of being a hermit is probably still a more active social life than many of my introverted comrades would ever want, but it sure feels like hibernation to me.  Although I do love spending time with friends, I am really enjoying living in moderate isolation.  I say no to social engagements all the time and have found a new sense of freedom in quiet evenings. It seems to take so much energy just to exist, I have no option but to pull away from everything else.  If you are friends with us and haven’t seen or heard from us in a while, please have patience. Fresh wounds over here!! We are holding on for dear life and who knows when we will emerge! We welcome e-mails, letters, calls, texts, and gifts {I mean really, who doesn’t?!}.  You may never hear back from us, but that doesn’t mean your actions and words were not appreciated.

Glenn and I are learning a lot about losing a child, or more specifically, how to actually SURVIVE and hopefully someday re-enter society after losing a child. What we are experiencing is a rather harsh and brutal reality. It is no fun, but then again it really shouldn’t be. Death is never any fun.

We are surrounded by excellent support :: I jokingly refer to my “grief team” which consists of our grief counselor, my mentor/spiritual director, Glenn, and a few friends — bless them. It is hard to hurt, and I am sure very hard to be a friend to the hurting. The hardest part, it seems, is that in many ways this is just the beginning. As the world goes on around us, as our tragedy is no longer fresh, as friends continue on with their lives … our loss sinks in.  I am grateful for people who do not expect me to “move on” or be more than I can be today. Thank you.

And finally — as I sign off I wanted to share this sweet picture with you as well as a verse. This is an idea I got from our grief counselor earlier today, to continue sharing photos of Branch and add corresponding verses from time to time.

Isaiah 52:7
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!””

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If there is anything Branch’s life proclaims, it is the good news of our God who reigns. What a lucky Mom I am to have a son whose life screams of His mercies every day.

Much love,

Kristin

March 19, 2014 - 6:42 am Kelly Reynolds - Love this post! First of all, you look GREAT! 10 lbs down is a huge accomplishment! Second, take the time you need to heal. I love how honest you are. I think it would be worse if you were filling your every second with something and not giving yourself the freedom to grieve and process. You and Glenny are simply the best! Love and miss you guys! Keep sharing Branch's sweet moments and photos!

March 20, 2014 - 12:52 pm kirsten - you will be stronger in the broken places. but the healing hurts.

March 20, 2014 - 5:45 pm Mom - Lookin good, dear daughter. Love you.

March 22, 2014 - 2:36 pm Carol - 10 pounds! Way to go! I'm glad that you are doing what you need to do. Thanks for continuing to share Branch with us - it is such a gift. Love you.

The Arrival of Spring

“All this earth — could all that is lost ever be found? could a garden come up from this ground at all?” ~Gungor, Beautiful Things

Spring is coming. I can feel it. I can smell it. The fig tree in our  backyard is beginning to bloom with light green leaves.

We have had a particularly hot winter here in San Diego, making for dry days and scratchy throats and extra sweaty attempts at walking or running. Heat is not my favorite. Come to think of it, I really am the ultimate weather brat :: I hate it when it’s hot, and I hate it when it’s cold. 65 degrees is about the perfect temperature for me, sometimes the upper 50′s are ok, sometimes the lower 70′s are ok. Otherwise — I whine. It’s not my best quality, I know.

This spring feels different than any other. There are many “first” we are coming up on since losing Branch.  It’s interesting to think of where we were this time last year compared to this year.

Last spring we found out I was pregnant. This spring we are up to our ears in grief and infant loss books.

Last spring we went to Disneyland just about every other week. This {early} spring we went to DisneyWorld.

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Last spring I was working part-time at the University of San Diego. This spring I am going to be working for my brother-in-law at Sea World. {This is kind of fun! He is the director of one of the Sea World summer bands, and I get to help out with non-musical stuff!}

There are so many things that happened in the past year that I never could have imagined. Many of them are sad, like not having sweet Branch with us anymore, but some of them are good.  Watching God use our friends to show His love and grace through the hardest times.  Meeting and spending time with our firstborn son. Learning about loss in a very new way. Noticing our hearts gain empathy and gratitude.  Daring to dream, from time to time, of Branch’s future siblings.

These signs of spring are small, and often must take a back-seat to the hard but holy work of mourning, but they are there. In the midst of the sorrow. In the midst of the hurt. In the midst of the fears, the exhaustion, the hibernating — tiny little leaves break through and remind me that spring is coming.

My verse for the month of March is Hosea 6:3. I hope it speaks to you as it has to me.

“Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”

My prayer every day since losing Branch has been that we would see glimmers of hope, be they ever so small, every day. May He continue to reveal Himself, and may we have the eyes, ears, and hearts to hear, see, and feel His goodness in our lives. For He is SO good, even in times of great loss.

~Kristin

March 12, 2014 - 4:56 pm Jamie - Just beautiful! Thank you for sharing this, my heart needed it today.

March 17, 2014 - 12:21 pm Lindsay - Thank you, Kristin.

Grief — What It Looks Like {Part Two}

This photo was taken three months ago today. Branch was still with us. We were taking him home. We didn’t know how much longer he would hang on. We were living in a bubble of comfort, provision, joy, and looming sorrow.

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What is my life like now, three months later? I am writing today to share with you all, because some of you have asked, and also for my future self :: to remember all that these days contained.

I am always sad. Always. It has been helpful to be reminded that three months is still FRESH. It’s ok that life is still a blur. It will likely get worse before it gets better. My soul is raw, and the only salve is tears, kindness, and gentleness.

Meeting new people is hard. I am authentic by nature, sometimes to a fault, which makes it very difficult to navigate conversations with strangers and acquaintances. What do I say? How do I say it? Do I tell them about Branch? Do I pretend I don’t have children? Trying to figure all of this out is quite difficult.

When I see pregnant women, I pray that their baby will be ok.

The act of mourning takes up most of my energy. According to our grief counselor, it is supposed to. There is a reason people of cultures past wore all black, or a band around their arm, or a torn cloak. Losing a child is, quite simply, awful. It is something that will never go away until we get to Heaven. I often find myself wishing we had a daily “symbol” of mourning to put on. Maybe I will bring the black armband back. As a badge of honor, a reminder to have grace with myself, and a warning to those I come in contact with :: in mourning. beware. be gentle.

I long for Heaven. For Christ’s return. For healing and restoration. For all to be made right.

It seems we can not find success. I am sure this is mostly due to our grief, but it seems like we are being thrashed in the waves. I am ready for a “win”. Financially, physically, relationally, emotionally. Anything — can it just be success for once?!

Truth be told, it’s kind of depressing to be me right now.

And yet…

In all of this sorrow, the buckets full of tears, the heart-wrenching agony and coming to grips with the finality of death — I see glimmers of hope every day. I long for the day when there is more hope than there are tears, but that day is not today. It will come, slowly, as I do my part and step out each day.  Actively mourning. Asking God to show up in each space. Remembering and rebuilding.

Our grief counselor introduced me to this quote by Dietrich Bonhoffer, and I absolutely love it. I feel he paints a perfect picture of hope without dismissing the pain, and of remembering the precious life that was lost while we wait to be re-united for Eternity.

“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve — even in pain — the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.”

May we be grateful, even in the midsts of our pain, for He is so good.

~Kristin

Branch Lionheart Murdock Fund

March 7, 2014 - 3:28 pm Carol - Thank you for sharing. I'm so glad that you are so authentic - it's beautiful. Also - that quote - amazing. Thanks. Love you.

March 7, 2014 - 3:59 pm Lindsay - Beautifully said, Kristin.

March 7, 2014 - 6:09 pm Heather Mora - Praying for you, from psalm 31:19-20, 24. Lord, bestow on Kristin all the goodness You have stored up for her because she fears You. When her feelings are hurt, be her shelter and her refuge, and keep her safe from the schemes (inconsiderate words?) of men... Hear the sound of her pleading as she cries to You for help. I pray Kristin would be strong and courageous and put all her hope in You Lord. Amen. I'll keep praying :)

March 10, 2014 - 3:42 pm Erin =) - I wish we all had the courage to be as real as you have been through all of this, Kristin. You make Branch proud, I know. Thinking of you always!

Sacred Moments

It is interesting, the things I notice now.  The sun’s rays hit the waves and the whole ocean seems to light up. A smattering of rather plain birds hop around my yard, munching on bugs and grass, chirping sweet songs to one another. The man working the register at Walmart wears latex gloves and scans each item slowly and with care — taking his time to ensure he places similar items in the same bag. Joy comes in little moments now, more than in big waves like it used to.

A few days ago I was driving home, all dressed up from having just spent the afternoon with three of my dearest friends. “The Girls” is what we are called. There are five of us all together, but one lives far away. We are, and have been since we were little, on a continued journey of friendship. Laughter and silliness. Break-ups and marriages. Moving far away and coming home. Searing loss. We learn to love one another through thick and thin. To stand back, show grace, embrace freedom, comfort when one of us falls. I love these women.

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“The Girls” had taken me to high tea as a birthday gift. It was an afternoon of delightful sweets, warm cups filled to the brim, and sweet chit-chat. On the drive home, I felt happy. Beth Moore says “Happiness is inappropriate when it’s our goal, but it’s not inappropriate when it’s God’s momentary gift. Open it. Enjoy it. And remember it when times get tough.”

Happiness. It’s different than joy. It’s different than gratitude. It is, in its own way, sacred.

Monday — the tenth of February — marked two months since Branch passed away. If I am honest I must say the past month was much worse than the first month after he passed. Our grief counselor explains the “steps” of a person in grief as a three-fold process.

First comes shock. It doesn’t matter if you knew death was coming. It doesn’t matter if you thought you were prepared. When a loved one dies, shock sets in. You live in the world of numbness and shock for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Second is disorganization. A scattering of every part of your life. A mess. A place of confusion. A time to re-evaluate, to pull away, to spend more time alone. I call this “hibernating.” As the days, weeks, months go on, you begin to put some of the pieces back together. To re-structure, re-enter, re-invest. Piece by piece, moment by moment, your life takes shape again. It is a new life, a different life, often a better life.

This brings us to the third and final step : growth. We have all heard of post-traumatic stress disorder, which I must say sounds absolutely awful, but our counselor calls this phase of grief “post-traumatic growth.” I love this. Glenn loves it even more. {if you have ever had a conversation with us about family values, you know “growth” is #1.} The growth can not be rushed. It can not be forced. It stems from the depths of your heart.  It will, I hope, embody the love, the life, the value and importance each living being on this earth has — things I have learned through the great love God gave us in giving us Branch. Post-traumatic growth.

I am, and probably will be for a while, living in the disorganization phase. Things are very confusing. I am easily overwhelmed. I need a lot of time alone. Slowly, I am putting some of the pieces together.

I started to tell you about the tenth of February — the two month anniversary of Branch’s death. Glenn was out of town, and I had been exceedingly productive around the house, which made me feel really good about myself. I was missing Branch a great deal, and found that he would pop into my thoughts even more than he normally does. I decided it might be nice to stop by his grave and spend a few moments there, praying and crying and whatever else I felt like doing. After visiting the grave, my plan was to go on a quick hike and then meet up with two of my beloved friends, whose husbands were out of town with mine. As I told them, via text, of my plan, they entered in. They said they wanted to come. They rushed out of the house, threw their kids in the car, drove in awful traffic, followed the Spirit’s prompting.

Driving to the cemetery, I felt happy.

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Sacred moments. They do not come often, but that makes them even more precious. My prayer for this week is that I give my heart to God every day. That I allow Him to continue to mend my wounds. That I do not miss the places, be they filled with sorrow or joy, where He is showing up.

from Isaiah 61
“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted….to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called Oaks of Righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.”

May we sit in the kindness of the King today.

~Kristin

February 12, 2014 - 1:25 pm Annette Z - I remember you "Girls" from CABC youth group. I remember seeing you and Glenn at Hume Lake and being so happy for the two of you. Though I'm not there I pray for you and Glenn daily! I pray for you to continue in God's love, strength, and comfort! I rejoice and cry with you. As a mother I know what it is like to rejoice at the growth of the tiny babe inside of you growing and kicking. You and Glenn are a remarkable and inspiring story! Maybe someday just a thought you should take your blog entries with pictures of Brant! So you'll always have a scrapbook of him. Praying continually for both you and Glenn and with Love!

February 12, 2014 - 3:50 pm Deidre Meese - Kristin, our mutual friend has shared your blog a few times. I've been praying for you and Glenn and I think you both have been strong and courageous. I have two friends who have lost their little ones right after they were born. You're story that God is walking you through right now can definitely be used to his glory. I myself have experienced grief from other circumstances and I fully agree about happiness and about post traumatic growth. Thanks for being real. Love, Deeds

February 20, 2014 - 12:55 pm Lindsay - Kristin, Thank you so much for this post today. It was a very helpful reminder for me to notice God in the small moments. I am so sorry for your loss friend. I have only experienced the tiniest hint of loss in my recent miscarriage and I think of you and pray for you often. Much love, Linds

The Lionheart Half Marathon … and Weight Watchers

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Glenn has been kind enough to join me on some of my runs. Believe it or not, it has been COLD here in San Diego!

It has been over two months since I had a baby. Wow.

In early January I decided I had given myself enough time to grief-eat and sit around in my sweats all day. Spending my days watching trash television like Hart of Dixie and The Biggest Loser was pretty fun, if I do say so myself, but it was time for a change.  I still do a little grief-lounging, or “hibernating” as I now call it, but I have also started actively pursuing my physical goals. Weight Watchers has really worked for me in the past, so I joined up again. I was super hungry for a solid two weeks, and am now getting back into the swing of things.

Along with the good ‘ole WW, I am dipping my big toe into the ocean of running once more. When I got pregnant I was actually in pretty decent running shape, and was convinced I would be one of “those” pregnant ladies who just ran their way in and out of the delivery room.

Ummm, yea, that didn’t happen. If anyone is wondering, the early months of pregnancy are brutal, and the ONLY thing I could manage was lying on the couch, whining, and eating McDonald’s. Once I started to feel better I did maintain my walking and hiking, but running has not been part of my life since April 2013. That was quite a long time ago in running years.

Here is what running looks like for me today:  My legs hurt. My chest throbs. I can barely breathe. A mix of sweat and salt pour down my face. I feel like I am going to fall over dead any minute. I look down at my Garmin and notice that I have just hit the half-mile marker. Ouch.

Needless to say, this is already a challenging growth experience.

Growth. Ugh. Sometimes I wish I were done growing. I mean, ultimately I am so grateful to be able to be better than before, to move forward, to, yes, GROW… it’s just hard work.  It always has been, and it always will be. I am so grateful that God is gentle as I walk the path of growth in so many areas. It hurts, even when I know the end result is worth the pain.

Back to the running. It is hard — yes. But I am doing it. And, even more excitingly, YOU can do it with me! Glenn and I have unofficially dubbed this year’s La Jolla Half Marathon the LIONHEART HALF & 5K. We are running it in honor of Branch, and yes we will be making team shirts. We figured this was a good way to do something productive, get back into running shape, and honor our little boy’s life. He was so strong during his time on earth, we can be strong and run this race for him.

If you are interested in running either the Half Marathon or the 5k, and being part of Team Lionheart, here is what you need to know:

Date: Sunday, April 27th
Location: La Jolla, CA —   Torrey Pines is part of the course! Beautiful and challenging!
Distance: 13.1 OR 3.1 miles
Registration website: http://www.lajollahalfmarathon.com

If you live in San Diego, please sign up and run with us! Don’t delay! This race sells out every single year, so if you think you want to do it, sign up now!! Team Lionheart currently has about 6 people running the half marathon and 4 doing the 5k. If you are interested, we will be putting together group runs every weekend to get us prepped!

If you do NOT live in San Diego but still want to be part of Team Lionheart, we are going to be making shirts sometime in the next month or so and I will post about how to purchase one here on the blog.

And finally, I will end this post with my one month weight loss photo and stats. I have decided it will be an added level of accountability to post about my weight loss here on the blog. Sorry if that’s not your cup ‘o tea. It should only be once a month, so I’m sure you will be able to handle it.

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In four weeks I have lost 6.8 pounds. I am starting to see a small difference, and if you look closely you can see some change in the photo. Hoping to lose even more this month!

~Kristin

February 7, 2014 - 11:38 am Mom - Guess what? The last time I ran was April 2013 too, and I have no excuses for not running. AND I want to be a part of team Lionheart and will run for Branch at the half I'm doing on the same day out here!!!

February 12, 2014 - 1:28 pm Annette Z - You look amazing! Keep it up!

Thirty-Two!

It’s official. I’m thirty-two!

I feel like that seems old, but I don’t really feel old at all. Hmm.

This year, 2014, I made two travel goals. Glenn and I often find ourselves committing to trips, weekend getaways, and family visits across the country that we don’t have the money for at the time of commitment, so then we are scrambling to pull together cash a few weeks before said trip.  This year we are changing things. No more scrambling. No more committing to things willy-nilly. We have promised each other that we will only commit to a trip once we have ALL the money we need in the bank.  Seems logical, I know, but you would be surprised by how easy it is to say YES to fun things without having the cash  in advance.

At any rate, my two travel goals for 2014 are: ski in Deer Valley {ideally for my birthday, which, yes, was last week} and vacation at the most luxurious place I have ever been : Manele Bay on the Hawaiian isle of Lana’i.

Trip number one: HAPPENED LAST WEEK! And it was awesome!!!! If you follow me on Instagram, you already know this. It was such a great trip that it is worth talking about here on the blog, too.

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I grew up skiing, and it is one of the only sports I actually enjoy.  We have great friends who have a home ON THE MOUNTAIN at the Deer Valley Resort in Utah and are sooooo generous to invite us to stay with them each year.  It’s honestly one of my favorite places to go, and skiing is one of my favorite things to do, so this is the perfect birthday trip for me!!

This year we only skied one day, and it was pretty brutal…  In all ways.

I haven’t skied in about five years, so needless to say I wasn’t exactly in “ski shape” when I hit the slopes a few days ago. I also had to remind myself, and allow Julie and Glenn to remind me, that I have had a bit of a rough few months. I had major surgery just over a month ago. I am just barely starting to jog again. I birthed and buried a baby. {Low point.}

I cried a couple times on the slopes {once on the lift, once at Stein’s while having a pretzel and hot chocolate}, but still did it.  The first run was really hard, the second just slightly less difficult, and then the rest of the afternoon was super fun. We even did a couple of “advanced intermediate” runs, which were a great challenge!

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I am probably boring you with all of these details, but honestly, by the end of the day I was genuinely proud of myself and wishing we could stay longer and ski every. single. day.  It started to feel like my birthday, like a “celebration”,  if even for just a few minutes.

In this season, where it seems like everything is so brutally hard, I have noticed that holidays and “celebrations” are extra difficult.  It feels almost too vulnerable. Like we shouldn’t be celebrating — like there isn’t really much to be happy about because, ultimately, what we are celebrating seems so shallow compared to what we have lost.  It feels weird. Really, it just feels  sad.

On our anniversary, when I was having a hard time feeling celebratory, Glenn reminded me that even though it’s different, there are still things to celebrate without pretending like we are happy-go-lucky or like Branch never existed.  He reminded me that celebrating our marriage was extra important this year because our marriage was what allowed someone as wonderful as Branch to come into the world. I am grateful for Glenn and his perspective.

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For my birthday I tried to remember that, too. I can still have fun. It’s ok when sadness is wrapped into, and all around, the fun.  It’s just fine when you have a great time skiing and still cry several times throughout the day because you wish you hadn’t lost so much so recently. A celebratory birthday is not defined by faking it, but by doing things you love with people you love — people who laugh with you, make fun of you as only friends can, and cry because they feel the profoundness of your loss alongside you. Thank you to my friends and family for being those people. For taking me skiing on my birthday, for planning special dinners, teas, parties. For sending me gifts in the mail. For singing to me on my voicemail. For wishing me a happy birthday in all sorts of ways.  You, my friends and family, my “tribe” as some say — you make everything better, and make me so grateful for all God has given me in my thirty-two years.

This morning Glenn was reading in Job, and this part struck us both — it’s at the very end of the book:

10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.

We are awestruck over the generosity and kindness our friends have shown us in this season. They come and eat with us at our house, they take us to dinner, they comfort and console us, they give gifts that seem far too generous. They are kind in every way.

I am starting to open my soul and listen as God tells me that He makes all things new. That His promises never fail. That spring comes from the winter. That He will bind up my broken heart. That He restores all that is lost. That He loves me so.

Thanks for being part of that.

~Kristin

February 3, 2014 - 11:28 pm Eiley Ehle - Yes, YES YES!!!! May he restore your soul and bind up your broken heart. Thank you for letting us walk with you from afar. Praying He brings beauty out of your ashes. love and hugs, Eiley

February 4, 2014 - 10:04 am Mom - Beautifully written, as always. I love you and am so proud of how you and Glenn are walking with God through both the sadness and the joy.

February 4, 2014 - 2:36 pm Bronson - Amen! Great reminders Kristin! You guys are so beautiful in every way.

The Number of Perfection :: 7

There are many things I have jotted down and stored away, either in my head where only I can see it, or on paper so I don’t forget…things to share here with all of you, things to keep inside, things I only feel vulnerable enough to share with a few.  It’s a real madhouse in my brain/soul/body these days!  Today, though, TODAY I share of seven perfectly imperfect years of marriage with my one true love.  Happy Anniversary, Glenny… five days late.

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Seven years ago you promised… to have and to hold.

I don’t really know what “to have” means. Maybe just that I am yours and you are mine. That no one else will do. That having me as your wife  and you as my husband is, as long as we live, God’s way of showing us how we are His. To have.

My understanding of “to hold” grows each year as I grow in my love and respect for you. A tight squeeze of the hand. A wink from across the room. A kiss hello every morning, and goodbye every night. A protective arm holding our precious baby. An embrace of comfort when there is more sorrow than my body can contain. To hold.

Seven years ago you promised…for better, for worse.

Everyone in the world will roll their eyes, but life with you is always for better.  You work hard. You refuse to be mediocre. You choose wisely. Sometimes, when I am tired, when I am wounded, when I want to be a victim… you remind me of the better. Of my choices. Of my opportunities. Of the fun, the rainbows, the treasure, the real reward that awaits after the storm. You remind me that it is all for better, because we have a tradition of better.

I am skipping over for worse. You know  how I feel about naysayers, negative nancy’s, and those doomsday prophets. Get out of my face, people. I want none of your nastiness. {hashtag anger.}

Seven years ago you promised…for richer, for poorer.

Someone dear recently talked about Proverbs 31 and it brought new light to that passage. Remember when you grabbed my hand and read that to me? Ever the romantic, my beloved husband.  When my friend was talking about Proverbs 31, she specifically mentioned the part about “laughing at the days to come.” I loved this.

She laughs at the days to come. For she is wise with what she is given, she has used her resources to care for her family, she does all in her power to support and be a good steward of the income her husband brings in.

I am still learning about financial wisdom, about what stewardship looks like for our family, about how to best support you and invest our income. Thank you for trusting me as you do. For giving me freedom. For loving my cooking. For richer, for poorer.

Seven years ago you promised…in sickness, and in health.

Oh how I wish sickness were not part of our story. My heart is still so broken, so fragile, so sad over giving birth to a sick little boy. But we did it. I don’t know how. My mind still reels. But we did. You held him when I was scared. You told me I was doing a good job. You protected us, your family, with everything in you. I know God is pleased. There is no one on this earth who holds me as tenderly as you do…in sickness and in health.

Glenn, you do such a great job at loving and cherishing.  You are, quite frankly, the absolute best. I love you.

~Kristin

January 25, 2014 - 5:32 pm Lindsay - I love this so much Kristin. Thank you for always being so real. Happy Anniversary to you both. May your marriage continue to be a blessing, not only to you but others. xo, Linds

January 27, 2014 - 5:04 pm Erin =) - This is beautiful, Kristin - we always say how blessed we are with our loves, and this is such a meaningful way to capture that. Wishing you a lifetime of that love ahead-love you guys!

January 27, 2014 - 8:16 pm KRey - Love the love you two share! It's clear you were made to have and hold one another! You two are perfect complements- happy 7 years! Next year we celebrate in Jamaica!

January 28, 2014 - 12:12 am Glenn - I am so lucky to have a wife who is so encouraging. I hope I can be worthy of posts like this. I love you and look forward to whatever God has in store for us this year.

January 28, 2014 - 4:53 pm Caitlin - Wow! I'm amazed by your love, your words, your vulnerabilty and grateful that I have an earthly example of what God intended marriage to look like. Love you two so much!