KC Zoo Tiger Donation

To help fulfill Mason's dream and help the Tigers:
KC Zoo Attn Laura Berger "In Memory of Mason Kempf" 6800 Zoo Dr Kansas City, MO 64132

For the beauty of Snow and Magic on Christmas :
Elves of Christmas Present PO Box 3535
Olathe, KS 66063

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thank you TEAM!

WOW! What a weekend. Head for the Cure was so uplifting!! Thank you everyone for your support!! WHAT A TEAM!!!
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Eddie and I learned a lot about organizing a team and will be even better prepared for next year.
At the start of the race, I took a trip down memory lane; picturing last year's race with Mason by my side. This year I was determined to run at least a mile. As the race started, green balloons filled the air from our team. A tradition I hope to continue each year. Tears to my eyes as I could hardly believe Mason's song "I've Gotta Feeling" played when the walk started. It was a moment my mom will never forget as she was waiting for a sign to release her balloon. Mason was there with us all. My goal was to run the first mile, but I finished the entire 3 mile race, stopping a few times to catch my breath. It felt so GOOD to RUN!! I have not run 3 miles in at least 5 years or more. Mason was there by my side!! Thank you everyone for providing me strength today.
We already are anticipating next year's race!! We hope to see you all again next year. Thanks to those that ran, walked, cheered and volunteered. We could not have done it without you.
You are Team Make a Difference for MASON! We made a difference. We thank you again for being a part of this special day. I didn't get a chance to thank everyone individual, it meant the world to us you were there. It's an emotional morning viewing pictures from the race. For you Mason! These were just a few of the balloons released at the start. Some carried special tags, "this balloon was sent in Memory of Mason,Head for Cure 5K" Right before we got the helium for the balloons, a letter arrived addressed with a special tag from the March balloon release. A hug to our hearts and a must to tag the balloons for Race Day.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekend of CANS

Thumbs up for Thursday! Eddie took off for half the day, and we spent the afternoon organizing and enjoying the beautiful day. After Back to School Night; I fell asleep to the distance beeps of Maverick's DS game. A smile on my face as Maverick performed math equations on his DS. Maverick content as he competed against Mason's previous stats.

Excitement mounts today; I am picking up race packets and helium/balloons, for the upcoming Head for the Cure 5K on Sunday. Thanks to everyone WE CAN make a difference!!

On Saturday, Eddie will volunteer at Worlds of Fun for Harvesters; as a team of volunteers are constructing a pyramid from donated food cans. It is a world record attempt, so I'll be sure to post pictures. The kids and I plan on a relaxing day at home, it would be fun to help, until Ally reached for a can.

This morning the September Childhood Cancer Awareness banner flashed in my mind. I tossed and turned, indecisive on ideas to spread awareness next month. Stay tuned, I am sure I'll think of something.
Bippety Boppity boo! I am thankful for YOU! Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Darth Vader in the ocean...

Darth Vader is breathing down my neck. Strength does not come easy these days. If life were a Dreamworks movie; I could focus like Kung Fu Panda. If it only could be that easy. There is no Easy button.

Mason had such a uniqueness about him, the ability to calm. I miss the balance in our household, I miss everything. Life is such a mystery. There are so many examples each day to live, laugh and love. Three simple words when the world feels so against.

I won't go in to detail but; I will be honest, smiles are hard. There is turmoil within our fortress. We remember your strength Mason. There are times in life when the tide pulls us under and it seems there is no escape. Mason, I think of you every time the waves are out of control. Your brother needs you. Your sister needs you. I need you. We all need you. So what do we when Darth Vader joins us for a swim? We do the best we can.

We move forward today, thinking of you in the days to come. Remembering Mason this Sunday as we participate in the Head for the Cure, smiling with pride at our Team this year. Hope embrace us as we fight for a cure. We remember you, our hero in life's battle. Light the way to a brighter tomorrow.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake and Sobe

Maverick's sunflower

It's Monday and we are gearing up for the Head for the Cure 5K. Last night Maverick told me he hopes we get to 101. So this morning, I noticed we are up to 98 participants!! Wow!!!

Knowing next month is Childhood Cancer Awareness. My gears are moving slow, aching for ideas. I have called a few companies, each time encouraged that someone else becomes aware.

I am still trying to balance family and household duties. When the kids are in school I seem to organize; closets, rooms, and cabinets. The queen of organization you would think, but not so.

The strangest things make my heart cry. A simple straw brings tears, a plastic straw; Mason used straws to drink. An Ice pop wrapper, a simple reminder of Mason's last request. His struggle to eat. It is strange and unpredictable the times my heart shatters. Maverick wanting to color his ceiling with orange and black stripes. A sigh to the heart as Mason I'm sure smiles at the idea.

Yesterday we splashed and relaxed at home, and sunshine filled our hearts. Smiles were all around, but I still look around; MISSING!! I look above for answers. Where is our echo of laughter, our extra ray of sunshine?

Maverick spotted an empty hamster cage in the attic, it brought an instant idea. Maverick was so excited to visit the pet store finding two Siberian dwarf hamsters; one for Ally, named Strawberry Shortcake and one for Maverick, named Digger Sobe. Both boys we think. Although Ally pretends hers is a girl. I can't help but smile at the pictures from this weekend. The little things that make the heart happy.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thoughts in the middle of the night

Guess what? My allergy medicine is non-drowsy. So here I am. Thankful for our community of family and friends. Tonight was the Back-to-School Bash. And there were many smiles and familiar faces.
So after arriving home, I shared a poem with Eddie about a pair of shoes. It is a poem that I found written by a mother who lost her 5 month old son. I feel compelled to share the poem.

"A Pair of Shoes"
author unknown

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes. They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think
about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

It does NOT amaze me; there are a few that find us unapproachable. Could it be because we appear fragile? That we don't cry enough? That words just don't come easy? Words might seem offensive? I find myself wondering, "Did I say something wrong in the blog?" But in reality we just want to be normal. It is hard to imagine normality, it keeps its distance from us. But please don't be afraid, we are still the same people, forever walking with a different stride.
This is not directed to one person, maybe nobody at all, maybe it is us, maybe we are the ones that feel so odd. We read stories weekly about a child gaining his/her wings, I still struggle with words of comfort. It just isn't right. I never knew 46 kids are diagnosed with cancer everyday. 7 kids die from cancer everyday. But now we do, and what do we do?
There are times when I have decided to stop writing the blog, and then anger or pain boils inside and I begin to write. I want to do something to make a difference; even though I feel our hands are tied.
As Eddie read the September magazine of Parenting, an article exists on Breast Cancer, but what about Childhood Cancer? Is it too unapproachable? It exists you know. Next month is September, Childhood Cancer Awareness. I carry HOPE inside my heart; with more awareness; more steps to finding a cure. So, I close for the night hoping someday another parent will not have to start their day wearing uncomfortable shoes. And I still am here to write, even if it's just you and me.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Black dragon

Have you ever had a dream that you just couldn't figure out? Black dragons were circling, and circling over my head. Floating gracefully above my head. So I kind of had a chuckle and wondered why on Earth I dreamed about black dragons? If only I had counted them, or paid more attention. For fun, I searched a dream dictionary ( see below).
BUT, what amazes me more.... As I was glancing through pictures, a picture stood out like no other, I almost missed it. The EXACT same black dragon in my dream, Mason wore on his arm in March 2010. To view this picture right after my dream well, you tell me?

To see a dragon in your dream, represents your strong will and fiery personality. You tend to get carried away by your passion, which may lead you into trouble. You need to exercise some self-control.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back to School

Yesterday was the first day of school. It was a hard "first" for us, as we all remember how much Mason loved school. Go ahead scroll down and look at the picture of Mason with Rex, that was the first day of school last year. He loved school. The above picture is Mason's first day of kindergarten, there was nothing holding him back. He was like Superman, full speed ahead!! Just ahead the crosswalk where Mason, a third grader, stopped and told me, "Mom I have double vision" Upon explanation he said, "I can see 2 stop signs." The same crosswalk, we crossed and headed home after visiting the school nurse.

Yesterday as we headed to school, I tagged along with Maverick for the first day. Rain fell from the sky, it felt refreshing on our heads, and the dark skies seemed to match our moods. There was a cold sting that hit my heart as I glanced ahead to the crosswalk. We walked across so naturally as we have so many times before. Maverick, a fourth grader, and sister Ally, a soon to be preschooler. There was a tiger following our footprints; we will always remember our forever fourth grader as we venture to a new school year.

I was overjoyed to hear Maverick had a great first day. He proudly wore a Tiger shirt. Today he hopped on his bike and rode off to school, full speed ahead.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Make a Difference for Mason

Wowsie!!! So excited, Make a Difference for Mason/Head for the Cure Team has 83 members. We can't wait to see everyone at Corporate Woods in Overland Park on Sunday, August 28. You can still register to join our team, see to the left of the blog for details. You can also sign up to volunteer that day. Or come on out and cheer on our team of 83. We also have Team T-shirts, thanks to Classic Awards we have shirts available for $ 5. Our Team Mascot is the Tiger!! Thanks everyone for continuing to Make a Difference in memory of Mason.

Ally wanted to share her picture below.

Mason, Ally and a beautiful Christmas tree.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Greased pig

Our wild adventure week continues. Monday and Tuesday morning we stayed close to home; it was nice to relax. Tuesday evening we headed to the county fair. Gotta love free entertainment. There were lots of carnival rides and Grandma brought smiles as asked the kids to pick a ride.
Ally picked the motorcycle ride and Maverick the Hang glider. Then we supported the local 4-H club with some grub. We passed by tons of commercial sales booths. Every county fair has their "fair" share of water filter salesmen. We saw a few rabbits and chickens, but the main excitement was the Mutton busting. It was a riot watching the young kiddos hold on tight to wild sheep and then disappear into clouds of dust. Maverick participated in the Cattle Stampede, where you try and be the first to grab the ribbon from a cow's tail. Later he attempted to catch a greased pig. Hundreds of kids participated in each event. Ally refused to participate, instead cried out in distress over a cheap plastic tiara that mom and dad refused. The life of a princess is so hard.

Today, a trip to the KC Zoo. It was a perfect day to visit the animals as the kids explored. So many happy memories whenever we visit the zoo. In the Tropical house Maverick proudly snapped a photo, happy to spot the first tiger.

Wow!! Team Make a Difference for Mason Head for the Cure 5K has 65 members! Our hearts burst from your support. So many times this week my insides glowed with pride; we live in such a wonderful place. It's like riding your favorite carnival ride over and over until your insides giggle. So many activities and sights to keep our minds busy. There's a hug in the air. Maybe it's the new way we view our day.

Ferris Wheel lights flicker...as lighting bugs fade into the night.
Good night everyone. May you feel God's Love, as He wraps His arms around us.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Love is the only gold

Wow!! What an Extremely awesome volunteer experience!! It was amazing beyond words. There was an abundance of volunteers, not that many raised their hands to digging in the dirt and rolling sod. Eddie was the first and my hand automatically followed his lead. At first, I thought I must be crazy! We were the Sod Team! We have a new respect for those with landscaping jobs. We spent our entire 7 hour shift, tucking, lifting, rolling sod and filling in patches with our hands and knees in the dirt. We also hauled plants and bushes, amazed at how quickly the yard transformed in to pure beauty. Eddie and I even got to help the fire department water. The ground was so dry, and the fire dept kicked in as the sprinkler system was still in the works. And although we missed seeing Ty and the crew, we had a job to do. Our hearts were overjoyed from our experience. Mason you have taught us important values to forever carry in our hearts. Compassion runs through our veins. As we drifted off to sleep last night, Eddie and I chuckled, all we could see was grass!

Wow again!!! Here's to you for making our hearts smile. A special thank you to our Make a Difference for Mason Team. Thanks to everyone that has signed up for the Head for the Cure 5K and those that are volunteering. We have a team of 45, growing stronger every day. Details can be found at the side of the blog; team entry fee increases August 12.
I feel strengthened as Mason smiles from above. He is watching the love spread. The love that makes our hearts sing. The love that makes us who we are. Feeling uplifted as his spirit energizes me daily.

Last night a quote from Facebook, "Love is the only gold." What a quote to describe our day. Our new sense of direction. My mind immediately shifts to a dream I had months ago. In my dream I opened a treasure chest with one word inside, "Love".
Today, our treasure chest is open to share with all.
Love is the only gold." - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Friday, August 5, 2011

Early Girl wins

Tomatoes are rolling off the vine. 14 tomatoes off one plant. They are calling out to to be sliced, diced and maybe even swallowed whole. (they are just a wee bigger than the cherry tomatoes)
Maverick planted an Early Girl, Big Boy and cherry tomato. The Early Girl wins despite the small tomatoes. The Big Boy had a disadvantage in the upside down planter. It begs for mercy. One lone tomato, too pitiful to even pick, but a couple blossoms cry out. It truly is trying. But as for the planter, free to a good home. Go ahead the sign in the corner says," Laugh"

After the beans and peas non-productive ways, they were uprooted.
The strawberry plants raised their hands up in their air; more room to sprout!
Sunflowers, zinnias, and cosmos are in bloom. The cosmos seem to be really choking the area, but I give them credit for putting up with the few drops of water they received.
2 green thumbs up for this year's garden, there is already talk of expansion.
We will keep you updated, will there be yellow squash in our future? Lots of green cherry tomatoes ready to ripen.

And thanks again for reading, I hope the farm report doesn't cause anyone to run astray.
It's time to say goodnight, after all tomorrow is a brand new day. Oh the irony; it is 1:37 and I post Early Girl wins.

6:43 a.m.
Eddie is the first one to give my posts feedback, I could tell my tale of vegetables threw him off his gourd. I guess I should have stuck with my post about "flamingos in the pool". There was so much more sprouting from my mind last night, and after only 4 hours of sleep I am sitting her typing again. It's Friday, and Ally was the first to turn on the light and yell, "It's morning" Fortunately, she fell back asleep after this morning's introduction. I think I'll do the same, but I had to add this to the post in case anyone else out there is feeling squashed. Peas forgive my twisted humor.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My list and beautiful creations

So I have been going stir crazy, always thinking, what's next? And I wonder why my kids can't sit still. Well, every time emptiness closes in, I want to do something about it!!!! So I make a list.

Not a grocery list or a honey to do list. Those are on the fridge. An inspired list. Mason use to make lists. He wrote lists of the games he played, grocery lists, etc.
Mason's last note... a grocery list. He knew he didn't have to write ice cream, that was a given.

What I wouldn't give for a Mason list today. Instead I imagine lists and carry them in my heart. After all, I was told recently, the loss of a child is a loss of your future.

My inspired lists consist of ideas to help spread awareness of childhood cancer. I can still hear Mason whisper his dream to help find a CURE!! The helplessness inside me will never go away.
Ideas constantly flow through my mind. As we pray daily for children that are currently battling or families that have too lost their loved ones.
September is Childhood Cancer awareness month. It needs much more ATTENTION!!

It is still adventure week for Maverick and Ally, as we have 13 more days left until school. Unfortunately, yesterday Maverick rested all day from a stomach bug. Ally was content painting a blue flamingo, a Big black spider, and various art designs, see the beautiful creations below. Reminds me of our visit to Kaleidoscope. The huge banner above cried out to us...Life is a special occasion. In just five words, a smile.

The summer heat traps us inside again, today's forecast, record breaking highs 105-108. But with a paintbrush, some imagination and a simple scoop of ice cream; we'll be o.k.


"The Bad Guy"

"BIG black Spider" (trust me he is there)

"Tiger and Butterfly"

Monday, August 1, 2011

startled bliss

So I am wide awake this morning. Sleep unwanted and a nuisance. I hunger for dawn, as I crave sunlight.
Yesterday, I was blessed with an unexplainable joy. I woke up with a smile, giggling as my insides burst with happiness. Church energized and uplifted, but it was almost an overload. Where is all this energy coming from? It was strange and so awkward, how do I control this abundance of happiness? The world tilted in a new direction throwing everything off balance, it was almost a disturbance. But I treasured and savored every ounce of joy; feeling drunk in its presence. Happiness poured out of me like a waterfall. Maybe even more so like a fountain of Merlot, even though I prefer Cabaret Sauvignon.
Thankful for a day of pure bliss, yet so startled by its existence....
Maybe it's the body's way to tackle grief. Maybe I just need to embrace the gift. Maybe it's my hug from heaven.
It's o.k. to be happy, it is o.k.
We are a vessel learning to swim through waves of deception. Emotions floating in a bottle.

God continues to guide us with His amazing powers. I am thankful for friendships he has strengthened and introduced. Here's to the beginning of a new week, a new day, an open door and startled bliss.