Tag Archives: memories

Blessed by hearing stories of how our family’s story touched you. . .

After reading so many encouraging words of comfort today and reminders of how we are being lifted up in prayer, I wanted to mention the indescribable blessing of hearing stories about how our story impacted you — either when you first heard about it or along the way.

Like water to a thirsty soul. Refreshing. But leaving me wanting more.

Never forgotten

How a truck crash irrevocably changed the month of May & every other month for that matter.

So. . . my family is planning a special Mother’s Day. It was fun to listen to them plan the menu–homemade carrot cheesecake & strawberry pie, grilled chicken, veggies, rolls–preceded by an outing to see Captain America/Civil War. Looking forward to it.
And I am looking forward to it–figuring, of course, that I will wish AnnaLeah & Mary could be with us to help celebrate and go to the movie with us.
Then, after hearing the grand plans to make it memorable, I suddenly realized that Mother’s Day this year is May 8. The day we lost Mary. . .
I will try my best to live in the moment but. . .
That is how a truck crash irrevocably changed the month of May: How a Truck Crash Changed the Month of May; or What Happens When Nobody Takes Responsibility?
And every other month for that matter.
12a Christmas 2012 Rocky Mount 066

Was this drawing made by Mary or AnnaLeah? There’s no one to tell me the answer.

This morning, my granddaughter was showing me drawings that she has been making. It made me think of how creative AnnaLeah & Mary were (each in her own way) and the sketchbooks which I have in a drawer. I got one of them out and then was confused: was this drawing made by Mary or AnnaLeah? And when was it made?

There is no one here to answer my questions.


Eagerly awaiting the revelation of joy unspeakable–together!

AnnaLeah and Mary,

I thank my God  always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you,

so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

Love, Mom

I read these verses this morning and immediately thought of AnnaLeah and Mary. I had been planning on writing a post on April 28, the day of Mary’s Confirmation Questioning in 2013–the Sunday before our crash on May 4–though she never went through her formal Confirmation Service (was to have been in June).

I am thankful for the life and faith of AnnaLeah and Mary Lydia and that they are eagerly awaiting the revelation of their Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, who will confirm them to the end, until we all–together–stand in His presence. Joy unspeakable!

a66 AnnaLeah and Mary's balloonsimage1 (6)

A simple song sung by a mother with simple trust in the Father for the gifts He has given & still to come.



A simple song sung by a mother with simple trust in the Father for the gifts He has given & still to come.

A simple song sung by a mother — with simple trust in the Father for all the gifts He has given and which He has promised are yet to come.

Mary & AnnaLeah sang this song one year with a King’s Kids choir in Texas. I know that they believed its simple words by faith as a mustard seed.

Video footage from Mary’s Baptism, AnnaLeah’s Confirmation, & their journey home to their Father in heaven above.

“Simple Song” lyrics & music by Honeytree (Nancy Hennigbaum)

I will sing a simple song
The meaning will be clear.
And you’ll never have to wonder
When you’re far away from here
Just where I am coming from
And where I take my stand
Beneath the cross of Jesus
Holding to His nail-scarred hand.

The Bible says it in a simple way
And so do I.
Our Father up in heaven
Sent His only Son to die
So that you and I could be free from all our sins.
Take a look at Jesus Christ in faith
Eternal life begins.

He rose again.
He conquered death forever
When He rose again.
I know it won’t be long
Until we rise with Him
To spend eternal life in Paradise.
This is my simple song.

And I know it’s nothing new.
But every simple word is true.
And this is my simple song.

Lyrics & Music: Honeytree (Nancy Hennigbaum)

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary in Michigan



They weren’t here to give their brother a goodbye hug.

When we said our goodbyes to Levi, as he headed out of the country to serve the people of Peru, I couldn’t help but think about the two who were not here to hug him goodbye.

4b AnnaLeah mary levi ed bldg mt olive

Remembering the good times Levi had with AnnaLeah & Mary:



Fight then, wherever you may be, to protect us all from the end-that-shouldn’t-be.

I would like to be able to write hopeful things, on this hopeful day of Resurrection remembrance, about our chances of being able to save lives. But the fact of the matter is that, unless a miracle occurs, it is likely to be Second Verse Same As The First, A Little Bit Louder And A Little Bit Worse. Followed by Third Verse and so on. . . ad nauseam.

The day after Easter in 2013, just a month before our crash, I shared a song with friends. I wrote about it a year later on facebook:

One of the really true and hopeful things about that song is in the last verse:

No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand!

image1 (6)image2 (1)

But, as true as that may be in the spiritual sense (because AnnaLeah and Mary will be with their Lord and Savior forever to infinity and beyond; they are where they belong), it is most certainly also true that sin, death, and the devil can wreak havoc in our lives here on earth–including the careless and callous attitudes and actions that contribute to traffic crash deaths.

IMG_4465 Vision Zero Petition Book Cover draft

Oh, I understand that by the grace of God I can endure the pain and grief which has come upon me as a result. And maybe I can even be a tool in His hand to ameliorate the situation just a little.

But the forces of darkness that rage against genuine efforts to end senseless traffic deaths are truly powerful and scheming. It is only because I believe that it is not by might nor by power but by His Spirit that we could ever prevail that I press on boldly calling ever more loudly:

Our stories show the world that this violence has to end.
But the forces up against us make it hard to score a win.
Yet we’ll climb up this mountain of grief once again.
Weeping is our strength; let this battle begin.

Fight then, wherever you may be,
To protect us all
From the end-that-shouldn’t-be.
As we join together against this enemy,
We will find the way to victory.

Lyrics: from the broken heart of a mother (remembering the peace and joy of AnnaLeah and Mary)

Tune: Simple Gifts

and  Lord of the Dance

We rescue; Jesus saves.

If you are a parent (or even if you are not, but our story moves your heart), please share our story with at least one another person. Maybe we can reach that 1 million people Jerry is hoping for. And just maybe the president’s heart will be like a stream of water in our Father’s hands. (Proverbs 21:1) Pray for it to be so.

Share the petition and also send an email to President Obama: Tell Obama you are standing with us.

Vision Zero will not undo the past, but it can shape the future.

Last night, I was sewing a row of quilt squares while watching some television with the family. I am thankful that I have this means of cathartic grieving. But, I have to say, it caused an ache deep within to touch those familiar pieces of some of their favorite clothes.

Vision Zero will not undo the past, but it can shape the future.

A row of quilt squares from Mary & AnnaLeah's clothes. For Quilt Number Two
A row of quilt squares from Mary & AnnaLeah’s clothes. For Quilt Number Two

8 Mary AnnaLeah Vanessa Dad Father Daughter Dance 001gertie 8812 alm IMG_03424 gertie 2193

Mary’s Confirmation Questioning on April 28, 2013–Six days before the crash, on May 4, 2013, which ended their lives.

Crash Fatality Causes & Solutions: Not Either/Or, but Both/And

When we met with DOT policy officials on March 4, we found that we were in agreement on a very important perspective regarding crash fatality causes and solutions: What we need to be addressing is not one thing or another, e.g., improve underride guards OR develop crash avoidance technology. No, no, no. It is not a case of either/or. It is definitely both/and!

Our crash was not an accident and many factors were involved in what came about that day. They all need to be addressed.

My heart is broken and anything less than genuine pursuit of every avenue for safety advancement only serves to deepen the pain.

gertie 587 gertie 588 gertie 616 gertie 643

AnnaLeah, Mary, Marcus, and Vanessa, Spring 2012, Grafa Park, Midland, Texas

Weeping Willow Memories: Mary and AnnaLeah enjoyed a spring-like day in the winter of 2009 at Grafa Park in Midland, Texas. The branches of a weeping willow tree became the setting for the unleashing of their imagination. (Preserved for us by their sister, Susanna Karth)

Remembering the reason for our advocacy; Our first post 2 years ago: Meet AnnaLeah & Mary

We launched this website two years ago with the first post on March 5, 2014:

Meet AnnaLeah & Mary

We will always remember you.

Bear Photo Story 1 001AnnaLeah writing