From Half Past Eight to Twenty-One

The winers of the He Loves Me dvd’s from Cindy Bultema are: Elizabeth, Lori, Niki, anonymous & Lisa Schorp. My assistant Kim will be emailing you for your mailing address. Congrats!


Twenty-one years ago today, after twenty-three hours of labor and an emergency c-section, our daughter Kenna was born.

Kenna three hours old.

Later, joined by two brothers she prayed for, she grew into an arstsy, outspoken, outta-the-box, Jesus-lovin’ fashion plate.

Today, she resides in Charlotte, NC (left just weeks after turning 18) and is a full-time cosmetologist and part-time nanny. I thought today I’d run a piece I wrote in 1999 when she was 8 1/2.

She is coming home for her birthday this coming weekend and bringing her 17-year-old brother with her (who has been spending second semester of his junior year of high school in Charlotte too. Long “God story” for another day!) She’s smuggling my friend’s youngest daughter home with her for the weekend whom I love to spoil.

Kenna & brother Mitch on the day of his junior prom this year.

Needless to say, my mind is not on blogging this week! So, I will be taking this week off to prepare for their visit.

And I’ll be taking next week off to put the finishing touches on the 6-week dvd curriculum I am recording soon for my new book LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith. (releasing in October)

So, that means I will see you back here the day after Memorial Day.

Enjoy the ones you love—-both family and friends. The years fly by!

Half-Past Eight

A reminder of just how quickly the days fly by:

Dear Lord, Where has the time gone? It’s already half past eight. It seems just a minute ago the clock read one or two.

Just a while ago, you were so tiny, so fragile, and there was so, so much to do: Midnight feedings, endless rocking, learning to do all a new mother must do. I was scared. So were you—your tiny little fingers curled around mine—but we learned together, you and I, and the clock kept ticking.

Every tick, every tock, passed slowly, I thought then. I couldn’t wait to see you talk, then to walk, but each day seemed an eternity. And then your personality began to emerge. You cooed “dada” and strung together random words like a priceless string of pearls. What queen could buy these treasures?

First steps: “Oooohh”—Boom!—“Get up and keep going, honey!” First dresses: “Mommy, I pretty!” “Yes, you are my sweet.”Your first pony ride: I walked so close. You clung so tight. Before too long you begged me to let go. “OK, honey, but just for a moment.”

Everyone from doting grandmas to complete strangers told me how very quickly time would fly, but for me it seemed to march slowly on.

The clock soon struck three. Peter was there. And Flopsy and Mopsy and Cottontail, too.

So many hours we spent with them curled up in that old oak rocker. We left them only briefly; to visit with others.

Do you remember? Pooh and Piglet, Papa Small and Curious George.

They were our gang each afternoon before I lay you in your bed. You were too big by then for your crib. And besides, a new baby bundle of brotherly blue had taken over that corner of your room. “Shhh . . . baby’s sleeping. We’ll read one more and then off to bed, my lamb. It’s nearly half past three.”

Kenna 4. Mitchell 9 months.

The cuckoo clock cheerfully announced the arrival of four. With it came many new adventures. Your first trip to the dentist (you were very brave), staying all night at Grandma’s (how many cookies did you eat?), and Sunday School, birthday parties, and on and on and on.

No sooner had the cuckoo tucked back in and shut his wooden doors when the chimes rang out five times.

Is it five already? Where has time gone?

The chimes brought with them lace and frills and everything pink. We then spent our afternoons chatting over tea. Pooh and Piglet still visited at times, though not quite as often.

For the most part they were replaced with a new found friend. Remember? She met us in the old oak rocker faithfully each day. It was Laura. And Mary. And Carrie. And even that mean old Nellie Olson.

Oh how you loved their world! Your curls were replaced with two long braids; your pink with gingham blue. (It was Laura’s favorite too.) You wore that old bonnet strung down on your back and would answer only to “half-pint.” “Pa called Laura that,” you’d insist. So we churned butter and baked biscuits and I learned to answer to “Ma!” (What happened to “Mommy?”)

No time to question. Just look at the time . . . .

Six . . . and then seven. Maybe they were right. Time marched more quickly. You no longer needed me for books. Now you could read by yourself!

And often you did as that baby bundle of blue turned into a toddler who simply adored his Big Sis. So we journeyed to the library, blew off the dust and got reacquainted with Peter and friends. You introduced them to your brother who now occupied your lap. “One more time sissy, please just one more!” he would plead. “OK,” you’d answer. “But just this once, brother. It’s getting very late.” Oh, darling, if you only knew.

And now here we are at half past eight. Who knows at the stroke of twelve what you’ll be?

Kenna 7. Mitchell 3. Spencer 3 months.

The stork came again. Again he brought blue. “Two brothers. How wonderful!” came your reply to the news. This one came to rest happily upon your left hip. And there he remains perched as you now go about your day.

Mixing dough in the Kitchen Aid (what happened to your plastic play stove?) and answering the phone (what about the toy one with the curly cord you dragged behind you all those years. Where is it now?).

You’ve come so far, my baby. From scribbles on scrap paper mailed to loved ones far away to now answering e-mails. (Will you show me how to use it sometime?)

From ribbons and smocked dresses to bobbed hair and bell bottoms. Sometimes I feel as if I’m peering into a mirror from long ago.

“Your whole life is ahead of you!” strangers say to my girl. But not for me, for me time speeds by.

Help me make the most of this hour, Lord. I can never live it again. Just look at the clock on the wall. I’m afraid for this mom it is getting very late. Slow the time down dear Lord, please.

It’s already half past eight.


  1. Awe so sweet Ma! This is beautiful! I loved it! now I am ALL grown up and we are friends! I like this season of life, Let’s stay in it for a while! I love you!

  2. OH dear Karen – you made me cry :( I’m living the very words you wrote about – with my little girl – age 7 – she wore her hair in 2 braids like Laura today! You remind me to savor these days and not rush them. Thank you! This was a beautiful post.

  3. Oh my. I had to stop reading after about the 3rd paragraph. I was starting to cry and I’m at work. Can’t let my mascara run here at the office. People might think I’m weird. My first turns 21 on August 3rd this year. Even though he’s a boy… well, a guy, I can still relate. I will try to read the rest at home tonight when I won’t care who sees the mascara running down my face. Thanks for the memories!

  4. Wow Karen!,
    Your words broke though the dam of tears I’ve been holding back for quite some time.
    And let me tell you… I am an absolute mess right now with mascara and snot flying everywhere!! Lol!
    I struggled with infertility for almost 8 years before having a child.
    Now my one and only beautiful little girl Symphony will be starting Kinder in August! I really can’t believe she’s about to be 5 years old. The time has gone WAY too quickly just as many women told me it would.
    I tried to steward those words of wisdom offered by other moms and grandmothers over the years and cherished moments ON PURPOSE … almost daily.
    All of these years I have been taking lots of snapshots both with my camera and in my mind … thinking in my heart ….I never … ever want to forget this!

    I didn’t realize until today though that as this August is quickly approaching I have allowed myself to become busy and preoccupied with other things instead of spending as much quality time with my daughter. .I guess in a way I’ve been doing this to shield my heart from the sadness and hurting I feel.
    I’m not completely sure…. I just know I need to make a. change!!
    Thank you for helping me to reset my priorities. I may shed MANY, MANY tears between now and August…. (and that’s ok) but I will also enjoy those little priceless moments to he fullest and have no regrets when I look back years from now!!
    Blessings to you!
    Praying for your joyfilled visit with those you love!

  5. This was beautiful, Karen. I’m crying. Been a typical morning with my 3 young boys. Reading this was a reminder of the struggle. “The days are long, but the years are short,” I’ve been told. I can see it already…I wish it weren’t so hard! Dear Lord please help me to treasure these times, even with the runny noses, constant messes, and my desperate need for a decent shower!

  6. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you sharing. It’s a nice reminder on a stressful day. Enjoy your children.

  7. Tears are running down my cheeks…….my sweet girl is 20 and will be flying off to Guatemala on Sunday with other nursing students to serve the poor. We were also blessed with 2 boys after our girl, and as much as I love my boys, I miss having a little girl. Thanks for sharing your heart. Enjoy your kids this week!

  8. Okay pretty much weeping right now as I have become the one who tells those younger moms who seem frustrated, bedraggled, and weary as one long day stretches into the next, “It passes so quickly.” I know in that moment, that mom doesn’t believe me and she’s heard it from the likes of me so many times before. But while it is true, time passes and before you know it, your child is moving out, moving on, I have also realized recently, there’s an incredibly rich amount of living that goes on between then and now.
    Bless you Karen with your visits and your videos!!

  9. Wow, writing thru happy tears…our daughters are: 26, getting married in August and 18, graduating high school in June, then entering college in August. To say that we are slightly overwhelmed this spring & summer is putting it mildly : ) What a beautiful way to document your childrens’ lives. Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. Hi Karen,
    What a wonderful gift God has given you to express your memories of your children in such a tribute and reflection of your family. The timing of this could not be more appropriate for me and I thank you very much-Enjoy your family time.

  11. Lovely. Have been thinking of our youngest daughter’s birth the last few days. My time flies. She was our third child and our first biological child after ten years of infertility. Now two blinks later she is 22, married almost three years and expecting her first child (and our fifth grandchild :-) )

  12. Oh, so beautiful!! My daughters are 3 1/2 and 20 months. A good reminder for me to treasure every moment.

  13. just beautiful…please remember to print that out, either on fancy paper in fancy font, or have someone calligraphy it, when she has her first baby. ok, wipe the eyes, swallow the lump, got to get dinner early for the baseball player!

  14. This was wonderful!! It brought tears to my eyes!! Mine are 7 and 4 and time is going by so quickly. Soon it will be mine turning 21…I have a lot of work to do before then. :) Thanks so much for sharing with us!!!

  15. That was so beautiful, and so are your children. Time might be slow when you are a young Mother and tired, but oh to keep the time from running, those times ARE precious. Now as a Grandmother, I try to keep the time at a little slower pace, my Grandchildren are growing up too fast! How I love them and my children, no matter what their age. God bless you and all you young Mothers! Pray for us Grandmothers too, we so want to be Godly influences to our Grands!

  16. OH MY GOODNESS! I have 3 girls who are almost 8 1/2, 3 1/2, and 4 months old! Time SO quickly passes! It seems like yesterday I was in labor with my first! You just made me tear up! I love my girls SO much, more than they will ever know. I pray they know and I tell them all the time that I love them! This world doesn’t offer GOD’s love like we can to them. I want their self image to be strong and GODly. My 8 yr old is already wondering if she looks pretty and if her legs look fat! Say what?? I tell her all the time that she couldn’t look fat if she tried!! She is a beautiful, tall (only 1 ft shorter than me!), and thin girl! SO not looking forward to those lovely teen years! I know how I was and it was NOT a pretty site! HA! Praying more for them. Just got my 4 month old dedicated yesterday! What an awesome reminder to pray for our children daily and their walk with Him! Thank you SO much for your ministry and your posts! GOD Bless!!

  17. That was so beautiful. I am sitting here with tear stained cheeks, nursing my six month old daughter while my three and a half year old little man Naps and my 11 year old young man is at school. Time goes by so very fast. I am thankful for the reminder today to slow down and enjoy the time while its here. Thank you. I hope you have a fantastic visit with your treasured children. :)

  18. oh…thanks for sharing your lovies and your heart, karen! enjoy the goodness of the Lord during your time with them! <3

  19. OK, this was definitely a tear jerker for me! Our oldest is 25, and our youngest will turn 8 this month, LORD willing. There are 6 others sandwiched in between, and yes, the time surely does fly right by! I am so very thankful for my family, for the joys and the tears, for the many lessons of life learned along the way. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

  20. It sounds like you have a great visit to focus on. Enjoy your babes! Mine are all still at home (even my college 2). I’d miss them if they were far away.

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