Thursday, January 21, 2016

Overheard at the HennHouse: Pie Edition

Me: (patiently eating my dinner)

Tim: I wish I had some pie.

Me: ...

Tim: Pie sounds so good.

Me: (chewing)

Tim: I wish I had a pie.

Me: (slamming bowls and whatnot around the kitchen)

Tim: (standing thisclose to my face) What are you doing?

Me: giving him the silent treatment. Because, dishes, flour, sugar. PIE.

Tim: (not leaving me alone) You don't have to make pie.

Me: You told me a dozen times that you wanted pie.

Tim: That doesn't mean you have to make one.

Me: I'm making two.

An hour later...

Tim gets his SECOND piece of pie and goes to the table.

I make Isaac some whipped cream for his pie (the old fashioned way. you know, with cream and sugar)

I come to the table to sit with Tim.

He LITERALLY has crumbs all over his face.

ALL. OVER. HIS. FACE.

Me: (dumbfounded) What. Just what?

Tim: (giggling uncontrollably) You sat down too soon.

Me: For what? To see that you've put your face IN THE PIE.

Tim: ...






© 2015 Karin Shirey Henn, all rights reserved. 
Copyright notice: All content, including writings, artwork, photographs, or videos, posted on this blog is original to Karin Shirey Henn and the HennHouse unless otherwise stated and may not be reproduced without permission.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Faith like a mustard seed


When Esther-Faith was hospitalized five days after her birthday in 2010, one of Tim's colleagues brought some gifts to her and me in the hospital. For Esther-Faith, Joe brought a stuffed animal and to me he brought a necklace.

It was a simple silver chain with a pendent onto which a mustard seed was glued.

If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20

I wore that necklace every day she was in the hospital. I didn't take it off. I have been known to be a little superstitious. Maybe that was it. Maybe I ran out of energy to pay attention to my jewelry as I slept at home every other night and the hospital the other nights. Maybe I needed the reminder that faith is more than a word. Maybe I needed the reminder that tiny things can have a big impact. Whatever it was, I wore that necklace until I brought my girl home from the hospital.

At some point during the three weeks she was inpatient, the mustard seed fell off. It didn't change my faith that something small can actually make a big difference.

My dad visited Esther-Faith towards the end of her hospitalization. It was his last trip anywhere before the hospitalization that proceeded his stay in a nursing home, and then his death. They read books and played games.

I remember standing at the foot of her bed fingering the necklace and the spot where the mustard seed used to be as my dad and Esther-Faith leaned into each other and prayed.




Tonight as I was organizing and purging, I ran across that necklace. It is tarnished now. And still missing the mustard seed, I don't really have a reason to keep it.

But it is hanging with my other treasured necklaces--the one with Tim's badge number engraved in it. The soccer ball necklace that I wear for all of Isaac's matches. (And all of Liverpool's matches.) The necklace with the little yellow flowers and the quote from my favorite novel etched into the metal. The pearls I wore at Tim's brother's wedding--a gift from his bride. The butterfly my niece bought with her own money to give to me for Christmas. The stunning and unique necklace Tim gave me for our fifth anniversary. And the matching necklace to one that my daughter has with the word "magic" on the pendant. A memory from our trip to Disney.

I have quite a few treasured necklaces. Not a one of them is worth a lot monetarily, but to my heart, they are priceless.

And that is where the mustard seed necklace hangs. With the other treasures. It is not worn anymore. But as the celebration of her first decade on this planet approaches, I am reminded of the faith I continue to have in the God I serve, the medical professionals I trust with my daughter's care, and the belief that something small can make a big difference.

Whether it is a mustard seed.

A necklace.

Or an almost 10-year-old redhead with a fiery personality, fierce loyalty, and immense love.






© 2015 Karin Shirey Henn, all rights reserved. 
Copyright notice: All content, including writings, artwork, photographs, or videos, posted on this blog is original to Karin Shirey Henn and the HennHouse unless otherwise stated and may not be reproduced without permission.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Fifteen awesome things about Christmas 2015


  1. Having all of my kids wake up under the same roof on Christmas morning. Having them all in the house together doing holiday things. Just being together.

  2. Sleeping on the air mattress with my girl in the hopes of catching Santa in the act.

  3. Tim and the kids keeping a tally of all the times I cried during the holidays.

  4. Staying in our Christmas pajamas all day on Christmas day.

  5. Christmas Eve service, and hearing my sister sing carols.

  6. Christmas Pictionary.

  7. Reading my dad's favorite version of the Christmas story to my family to kick off the Christmas Eve festivities.

  8. Christmas movies--new and old. (I think our favorite three are White Christmas, Elf, and Arthur Christmas.)

  9. Christmas music. All day every day beginning November 1.

  10. Traditions--old and new.

  11. Cookies. So many cookies. Some of them, my grandma's recipes, I only make once a year. And every year, the kids are more interested in helping and learning.



  12. Teaching my daughter the fine art of peeking into the presents before it's time to open. Including peeling back the tape and making it look like no one was there.

  13. Decorations. Trees in every room. Pictures, bells, glitter, wreaths, knick-knacks, stuffed animals, and more.

  14. Trying really hard to not make it about the presents, but loving their faces when they open them anyway.

  15. Reading the same Christmas books and Jesse Tree stories and lessons every year, and being surprised by all the new things I learn each time.


© 2015 Karin Shirey Henn, all rights reserved. 
Copyright notice: All content, including writings, artwork, photographs, or videos, posted on this blog is original to Karin Shirey Henn and the HennHouse unless otherwise stated and may not be reproduced without permission.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"The Diagnosis" after 10 years

There's a scene in one of Tim's favorite movies where Jeremy Piven's character is yelling at John Cusack's character about the 10 years that have passed between them seeing each other. (See the movie clip below.)

Every time a decade passes after a significant moment in my life, I think of this scene. I've tried quoting it, but in my experience, not many people are familiar with the movie or the scene.

Today, I want to yell TEN YEARS! TEN YEEEEAAAARRRRSSSS!

Ten years. Since I sat in a chair in a strange doctor's office and received, at the time, a diagnosis that felt like the worst moment of my life. Listening to words I had never heard. Watching my mom's face. And my Tim's face as they struggled with the same understanding.

Ten years since I left a message for my mother-in-love to call me from her job teaching second grade. Ten years since I sat in my parents' living room and spoke no words from shock and fear and questions.

Ten years.

Ten years.

Ten years.

We have lived a lot of life in these 10 years. We have faced a lot of giants. We have shed many tears. We have celebrated milestones and fought defeat. We have watched a little girl flourish and become. We have stopped hearing the ring of that diagnosis in our memories. We have stopped listening when a doctor says "can't" and started watching when our daughter says "can."

We have allowed ourselves to regret feeling sad at hearing that diagnosis. I'm not sad that Esther-Faith is here. I'm scared a lot. I worry more than I should. But I'm not sad. We have learned to manage symptoms and doctors and therapies. We have learned to be assertive and ask questions and get the right tests at the right time.

We have not stopped worrying. We have not stopped being vigilant. We have not stopped praying. We have not stopped being surprised. We have not stopped seeking what is best for her.

Esther-Faith is perfect exactly the way she is. I couldn't imagine her any other way. And I don't think she has felt sad about her diagnosis much at all.

In many ways, I can close my eyes and remember every detail about that day and the days that followed. It is, of course, a moment frozen.

But life is moving. SHE is moving. And in the last 10 years, we have learned to move. To not be stuck in a moment that was--at the time--awful. And even now, I can look back at that moment and see the beautiful. My dad's hands on my very pregnant belly praying for his grandchild. Holding my precious niece--just weeks old. Being surrounded by friends and family and my faith and my colleagues and even strangers. Tim's arms around me before I found my resolve. His whispered prayers for the child we hadn't yet met.

And the way she was named. Her name.

Perhaps my favorite moment of becoming her mom was giving her a name.

We didn't know she was a she until the moment of her birth. And on that day, Tim knew before me. We had two names picked out. But when she was born and I was near-hysterical, Tim met her first. He watched her birth. He followed her to the incubator. He heard her first cry. His voice is the first she heard this side of heaven. Then he came over to me while they were stitching me up and said, "It's a girl," a tear slipped from his eye. "We have a daughter," he said. "And she's beautiful."

I wasn't thinking about names. I was thinking about survival. But Tim was thinking about names. "Her name is Esther-Faith," he said.

So yeah, 10 years. TEN YEARS.

Ten happy years with a little bit of being scared and some worry thrown in there.

And in a couple of weeks, we'll celebrate the 10 years it's been since her birth.

Now, that will be a celebration.

(I know this is a lot of pictures, but this is quite literally only 0.19% of the pictures Tim has taken so far in 2015. So, you're lucky.)





























And of course, the movie clip. Posting this video is not by any means an endorsement of the behavior of these characters. Because the law.




© 2015 Karin Shirey Henn, all rights reserved. 
Copyright notice: All content, including writings, artwork, photographs, or videos, posted on this blog is original to Karin Shirey Henn and the HennHouse unless otherwise stated and may not be reproduced without permission.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Guest dancer


I don't know many teenage boys who would willingly go to dance class with their little sisters, but tonight mine did. It was the annual "take a family member to dance class with you" class at the studio. In the past, Tim has gone with Esther-Faith, but he had to work tonight.

So, she took Isaac.

They spent the whole class laughing and interacting and playing. Isaac learned some steps, and Esther-Faith loved teaching him.

The other guests were able to watch their dancer and follow along. Isaac could not. So, I frequently saw Esther-Faith turned to face him and positioning his arms and feet--telling him what to do because she could not show him.

They had so much fun. And they were such a pleasure to watch.

I think they are the definition of "adaptable."







© 2015 Karin Shirey Henn, all rights reserved. 
Copyright notice: All content, including writings, artwork, photographs, or videos, posted on this blog is original to Karin Shirey Henn and the HennHouse unless otherwise stated and may not be reproduced without permission.