Carter’s Story: God’s Amazing Grace

Carter was born in February  and as his birthday rolls around each year I am reminded of God’s amazing grace in that we are able to celebrate yet another year of his life. Here is part of Carter’s story.

It’s a Saturday in May 2002.  I am holding our 3 month old baby and something doesn’t feel right.

I’m afraid.

I look at his lashes, gently curled on his pink baby cheeks and feel as if I’m saying goodbye, as if he is slipping  away from me, as if he’s dying.  I try to push the thoughts aside, but they persist.

I had wondered about this baby from the beginning.  During my pregnancy he rarely moved,  when he did the movements were slight. I chose not to worry. I chose to look forward to a calm and peaceful newborn.

Toward the end of the pregnancy I suffered some extreme physical symptoms.

I’m unable to sleep for four days and four nights straight.

I have night sweats and uncontrollable shaking episodes.

I’m unable to eat.  Any food that I put into my mouth comes right back up.

I am able to sip fluids and by the fourth or fifth day am able to eat small bites of food.

I have the flu when labor begins.  I’m running a fever, coughing, sneezing and vomiting. As we leave for the hospital I hang onto a friend’s neck and beg her to pray for me.

Active labor has arrived and the baby’s heart rate drops. It drops too low. It is not rebounding.

They put in an epidural in case a c-section is necessary.

It’s not.

Our smallest baby is born, running a fever.  Our other four children come to visit, but may only look at their new brother through the glass in the nursery.  The doctors aren’t sure what, if anything, is wrong.

Carter and I recover at home together and he is the calm, peaceful newborn that I had imagined.

I have a healthy, laid back 3 month old and can’t explain why I feel like something is so terribly wrong on this sunny Saturday morning in May.

I share my thoughts with Mark and he doesn’t think I’m crazy.

I say that I think that we should call our pediatrician.   “What would you tell him?”

That stumps me.  “Hi Dr. G. this is Kimberly.  I think that there is something wrong with our baby.”  “No, he’s not sick.”  “He’s been eating fine.”  “He looks good.”

I decide not to call.

Our family heads to a friend’s birthday party.  Our gaggle of small children is excited about a special afternoon playing with friends.

I try to squelch my fears.

Everything is fine,” I think to myself.

Verses are running through my head,

‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God.’

Dear Lord, please protect my baby.

Please give me your spirit of peace.

Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief.

The party is in full swing when Carter falls asleep in my arms.  With four other children ages 5 and younger and all the fun activities available, I normally would have placed Carter in his car seat nearby and helped some of the other children blow bubbles or swing.

This was my one concession to fear:  I could not put him down.  I needed to keep him with me.

So I stand and hold our sleeping infant.

I watch his face go from baby pink to white.

You are really letting your fear get the best of you.

This isn’t happening.

This is just your imagination.”

You’re being paranoid.”

I need someone to reassure me.

I ask my friend, “Does Carter look all right to you?”  Carter begins to turn blue.

My friend jumps into action.

For me things are a blur.  “Dear God, please don’t let me baby die.

Someone calls 911.  “Dear God please make him breath.

I try to wake Carter.

I can’t do this.”

“I can not stand here and watch my baby die.  Dear God please do something.

Carter remains unresponsive.

Mark comes.

There is discussion about driving to the hospital or going by ambulance.

I am unable to make any decisions.  I feel that if I do the wrong thing, he will die.

I can do nothing.

I am paralyzed by fear.  I can’t think.  “God, please don’t take him away from me.

I can’t decide.  Car?  Ambulance?  “Please wake up.  Please start breathing.

I can’t even remember how to get to the hospital.  “God, please.

By the time the ambulance arrives, Carter is awake and breathing.   His color is beginning to return.

When we get to the hospital all of his vitals look good.  They put him on a heart monitor and send us home.

Our pediatrician says that he believes the incident would have been billed  “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” if I had not been holding Carter.

I’m thankful that God’s Spirit spoke to me on that day in May 2002 and I’m thankful that God preserved the life of our son and that we’ve been blessed to celebrate 8 years with Carter.

I’ve mentioned before that I tend to be very aware of the fragility of life.  (Yes, I’m fearful at times.)  Part of this comes from my mom being diagnosed with cancer when I was 11.  Our experience with Carter was another life changer for me.   In the midst of my fear, I often remind myself of God’s goodness and grace, specifically in His preservation of Carter’s life.

He is the only reason that we celebrate ANY birthdays.  We just don’t see His preserving hand in all situations as clearly as we do in some of them.  Blessed be the God of all life!

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53 Responses to Carter’s Story: God’s Amazing Grace
  1. Nicki
    February 4, 2010 | 9:58 am

    God is SO good! Thank you for sharing that, and I’m so glad it had a happy ending! I can’t begin to imagine the terror that you felt. And I don’t know how people go through that without God. He is a God of comfort and peace.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I will simply echo what you said. I have no idea how people navigate this life without God’s strength and love.

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  2. Celee
    February 4, 2010 | 10:01 am

    It’s amazing that you were so in-tune with “that still small voice”. I’m afraid I wouldn’t have realized anything was wrong. I’ve often wondered how many things the Lord protected us from that we never even realized. I know He has us hedged in behind and before and is truly our refuge. I’m so grateful with you that Carter is alive and well by the grace of God!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I think that you would have known. I believe this was simply God’s way of preserving Carter’s life. I have experienced other times when God prompted a decision that was “against logic” but that ended up being the difference between life and death.

    He is good!

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  3. Melissa
    February 4, 2010 | 10:51 am

    Wow! I only hope that I, too could be that intuned with myself and God if anything were to happen to my babies.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Melissa – I think that you would be. I don’t consider myself to be particularly in tune, but this experience has taught me to pay attention.

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  4. Sandpiper
    February 4, 2010 | 11:15 am

    God didn’t give us ‘mother’s intuition’ for nothing! We do need to celebrate life more often!

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  5. Kacie
    February 4, 2010 | 11:40 am

    Wow! What a story. I’m so glad it had a happy ending! Happy birthday to sweet Carter!

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  6. Dawn
    February 4, 2010 | 11:41 am

    WOW! God is awesome, and when something quickens in my spirit I have really been shown in the past few months that I HAVE TO pay attention to it. Praise God that you are His and that you have your wonderful son because of that. Happy Birthday to you both! 🙂

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  7. Dawn
    February 4, 2010 | 12:01 pm

    Praise God for preserving dear Carter’s life! Happy birthday to Carter and thank you for sharing your story.

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  8. Annie
    February 4, 2010 | 12:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. That is really all I can say because sometimes there aren’t any words to describe God’s goodness and sovereignty.

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  9. Amy @ Raising Arrows
    February 4, 2010 | 12:50 pm

    Kimberly,
    This is hard for me to write, but I wanted to reiterate something you said.

    GOD preserved your child’s life.

    I watched my daughter slip from my fingers over and over again…each time preserved by the Lord. He gave me 7 months with her and then, it was time for her to go. *I* couldn’t change that.

    Carter’s days are numbered (just as all of ours are) and it was not time for him to go. There is something more for his life on this earth. Praise the Lord!

    As a grieving mother, I wouldn’t want anyone else grieving the loss of a child to think they somehow were negligent (not that you were saying that in any way, shape, or form). Some of us have been called to suffer the death of a child for His glory. And most of us struggle for the rest of our lives with the fear that we didn’t do enough.

    I hope none of this sounds rude, b/c I don’t mean it that way at all. I’m close to the 2 yr anniv of Emmy’s death and I’m pregnant, so bear with me. I hope you can hear my heart in this. We are both blessed…just in different ways.

    Much Love,
    Amy

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    Henny Reply:

    Amy,

    I just read your response and I had to say something. I agree with you wholeheartedly. when our time comes, it is our time. when our child’s time comes it is theirs. nothing can be done to change that.

    I think (correct me if I’m wrong) that she was more saying that she is glad that she had listened to the inner feeling God gave her when she had it.

    you are so right, some of us are called to suffer in different ways. having two special needs kids has shown me that.

    (hugs)

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    Amy @ Raising Arrows Reply:

    I don’t believe Kimberly misspoke in any way, but I wanted others to be sure and catch the message here…it wasn’t her…it was her God.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Amy – Exactly. May 2002 wasn’t Carter’s time to go. Even though I felt that if I did the wrong thing he would die that wasn’t true. God preserved His life, He simply used my fear as one of the means to that end.

    We as moms, parents need ONLY feel guilty for SIN!

    We are not ultimately responsible for keeping our children safe. We can not possibly accomplish that, only our God can. He will work His will in our lives and sometimes that is through preserving a child’s life and sometimes that is through taking a child home.

    It was not my actions that preserved Carter’s life, it was God’s sovereignty.

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  10. Chantelle
    February 4, 2010 | 12:59 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story, praise God that Carter was ok. It is an encouragement to me when you are truthful about your doubts or thinking you are imagining things, it helps me know that I am not alone. When my daughter was very small, under a year old, we were at my sister’s. My daughter was in a great mood and playing on the floor next to my chair while my sister and I were working on our scrapbooks. Happy for the few moments of time, I was working as fast as I could, trying to get as much done as I could before she got fussy. A clear voice in my head told me to look in her mouth. I glanced down and she was looking at me, she looked completely normal and nothing appeared to be in her mouth. I went back to work on my scrapbook, this time in my head I heard the voice stronger and more urgent, I looked down and she still appeared to be fine, but I crouched down and put my finger in her mouth. In her mouth I found a very jagged piece of glass. She didn’t even have a cut in her mouth or lips, nothing. I showed my sister and she explained that a candle holder had broke the day before and she must have missed a piece. I am so thankful that I listened to that voice. Happy Birthday Carter!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Very happy that your story also has a happy ending.

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  11. thesleepyknitter
    February 4, 2010 | 1:01 pm

    Praise God for Carter’s life and motherly instincts!

    I don’t know why one child lives and another doesn’t — we’ve seen so many sad stories and so many triumphant ones, and I don’t understand from one to the next why things happen the way they do. But I know that God is good, and that His wisdom is far beyond ours, so we trust, we trust, we pray and we praise and we trust.

    Blessings on your sweet family.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    You are right. Mark and I often talk about this, why have we had 9 (soon to be 10) healthy children, no miscarriages, no serious problems, etc. When others struggle to have one.

    I know that I do not deserve this and sometimes fear that something horrible will happen (kind of like Job) because God will finally give me what I deserve.

    Mark often reminds me that that is the amazing grace and love of God, I do not deserve to be alive yet, He does not give us what we deserve. He loves us as a father loves his children and He rejoices to give us good gifts.

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  12. Heather@It's Twinsanity
    February 4, 2010 | 1:05 pm

    What an amazing miracle!

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  13. Shannon
    February 4, 2010 | 1:05 pm

    What an amazing and heartfelt memory. Thank goodness you had the instinct to hold him. I can’t imagine going through that.

    Happy Birthday to Carter!

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  14. Nikki
    February 4, 2010 | 2:21 pm

    Oh my goodness! My heart is racing. I have the unconctrollable urge to hold my babies. I am SO glad for you and your dear Carter. As I started reading it I thought, He’s Pookie’s age. And I remember being very cautious and concerned about everyt0hing. Of course, he was my oldest. You are so strong in your faith. 🙂

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  15. Sidnie
    February 4, 2010 | 4:49 pm

    God is good.
    What a wonderful blessing.

    I’m not sure I have the words to express what I feel after reading Carter’s story.
    Amazing Grace, indeed.

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  16. Lisa
    February 4, 2010 | 7:24 pm

    Such an amazing story of God’s grace. Thanks for sharing this!

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  17. Britney
    February 4, 2010 | 8:25 pm

    Wow! What an inspirational story! As a Mom to a child who was born premature and with several issues, I understand how you are feeling at this moment in your life. I remember when my little one finally got to come home God has a purpose for my child. God Bless you and Carter!

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  18. Jamie
    February 4, 2010 | 9:33 pm

    Wow, this brought tears to my eyes. As a new mom to a 7-month-old baby girl I constantly worry about whether I’ll have the kind of nightmare experience you had. But, I shouldn’t! I always think of Matthew 6:34, and it’s easier said than done but in the end God is in control and I feel peace knowing that.

    I’m SO sorry for what you had to go through but also amazingly thankful that you have your sweet boy.

    My husband’s aunt said she went in to check on her baby when her baby was about 2 months old and she picked her up and she was limp. She threw her over her shoulder, patted her several times and finally her baby started breathing again. She said she was sure she would have lost her baby girl to SIDS had she not been there. Those kind of stories haunt me, even though I know that SIDS is still relatively rare.

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  19. Jana
    February 4, 2010 | 11:32 pm

    Such a blessing that your precious Carter is celebrating another birthday!

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  20. Jenny
    February 5, 2010 | 5:02 pm

    OK… WOWWWWW! This brings me to tears- it’s so scary to think that you could lose your baby. I don’t know how you slept for months after that! But it’s incredible the way that God communicates with us. Life is just so fragile. Thanks for sharing this!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I didn’t sleep for a long time. I had the misconception after this experience that if I wasn’t watching Carter he would die. It took me a long time to realize that God made sure He preserved Carter’s life, He just used me.

    The first night we came home from the hospital the power went out, so Carter’s monitor didn’t work (we did get a battery powered one eventually, but this was the only one they had at the time) and I literally watched him breath all night long.

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  21. Mommy of two little blessings
    February 5, 2010 | 6:39 pm

    This is a great story from your past. I enjoyed reading about your feelings in the process. Praise the Lord you were holding him then and that God blessed you with a child to come through that. Eight years, what a royal blessing for your family! Have a great day praising God for His many blessings. Sincerely, Mommy of two little blessings

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  22. Erin
    February 5, 2010 | 10:39 pm

    Wow, what a frightening situation!

    Wondering how you handled the rest of Carter’s infancy after that incident? Did you use a monitor of some sort?

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Yes, they sent Carter home with a monitor. He was on that for the next 6-9 months.

    He also saw a lot of specialists, developmental, neurologist, caridiologist, etc. He had an unusual heart arrhythmia and they suspect (but never confirmed) that he had seizure activity from 3-9 months.

    Today, he is a normal 8 year old and has been released from all of his specialists. He does learn differently than the other children, but is doing well.

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  23. Nigel Lane
    February 6, 2010 | 12:02 am

    Very inspiring story! Never give up on the ones you love. They are worth fighting for no matter what.

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  24. Ruth W.
    February 6, 2010 | 7:45 am

    So glad that Carter is 8 and doing well! Thanks be to God! We never know how much or how little time we have with the ones we love.

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  25. courtney
    February 6, 2010 | 11:12 am

    Oh, how frightening! Glad everything turned out okay.

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  26. Henny
    February 6, 2010 | 11:51 pm

    I’m glad you posted this! so many times moms are told to ignore those inner promptings. they are lead to believe their worries are just hormones and urged to put their little newborns away and sleep train them super early. so many infants are left alone against a mother’s inner prompting to go get the baby and SID takes place.I”m not saying all SID is b/c of this – goodness no! but i am saying that it is sad to think of a mother being made to feel like those inner worries are merely hormones and to blow them all off.

    you were right to give your worries to God. you were also right to hold him near when you felt you should. a mother’s instinct should be given much more credit than it is. I had PP anxiety which was difficult I admit, but my husband just encouraged me to keep praying and checking on the baby whenever i needed to. it helped me move past the general anxiety into a place where I was able to be more instinctual.

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  27. Shannon @ Potamus Prefers
    February 7, 2010 | 1:31 am

    Wow, what a miracle Carter is and just so true that Mom’s “just know”. This is my first time here and what a nice blog. I love your writing style. I enjoyed meeting you at Blissdom

    Shannon

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you Shannon. I’m glad that I was able to meet you at BlissDom and I love your blog name.

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  28. Cheryl@SomewhatCrunchy
    February 7, 2010 | 10:20 pm

    I just had to pop in and leave a comment so I’m usually so bad about commenting. It was so great to meet you this weekend, you are a phenomenal woman!

    Praise God. I’m so thankful you heard and listened to his nudging. He is so good.

    I too am one of those moms who is very aware of the ever lurking possibility of death. Life is short and we must cherish it.

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  29. Young Wife
    February 8, 2010 | 12:06 pm

    I am so thankful Carter is alive! God is good. I really do think mothers know their children better than anyone else, even doctors. I guess God gives mothers a special knowledge.

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  30. Rachel
    February 8, 2010 | 1:53 pm

    God is so good! This story brought tears to my eyes! I am so thankful you had the god-given “mom-tuition” to know that something was wrong!

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  31. Michelle
    February 8, 2010 | 9:16 pm

    God is merciful to your family and your sweet son. Happy birthday to him!

    This past Wednesday evening our church family lost 2 men in their 30’s. One was battling cancer, yet the other was a very healthy coach with 4 young boys. Just the other day my precious 11 year old was nearly hit by a car while distributing Scouting For Food flyers with a group of scouts and fathers. Life is indeed short and uncertain. It is the Lord who numbers our days. May we remember that daily. 🙂

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  32. Kimberly @ Raising Olives
    February 9, 2010 | 8:59 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about the losses in your church.

    You’re right the Lord is the one who numbers our days, may we live each one for Him.

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  33. Erica
    February 9, 2010 | 11:36 am

    This made me cry. Praise God that your prayers were heard and you heard His will by holding that sweet baby and not putting him down. God has big things for that boy!

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  34. mary beth
    February 11, 2010 | 9:15 pm

    Oh wow. I can’t believe I was even able to read that. Oh goodness, if this wasn’t a tear jerker nothing will be. God does hear prayer and answers them. He is so good.
    I had to pray that God have his will for my son, when he was born with 3 holes in his heart and needed surgery at 11 months. I knew something was wrong also, the pregnancy was so different than the others. I knew when they started the surgery and I prayed all the way through, give me strength Lord and I looked up and told my family, he’s out of surgery, they thought I was nuts but 1 minute later the surgeon walked in said he was finished, my son was doing so well his heart started beating before he even had it back in his chest. Praise God for his goodness to us. So glad to hear the happy ending with you as well. Big Hugs

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    So glad to have you back!

    Your experience must have been frightening. I love hearing how God gave you comfort when the surgery was over.

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  35. Judy
    February 15, 2010 | 6:54 pm

    Our Lord uses such ingenious ways to get our attention – even our fears even though He tells us to “Fear not”!!!

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  36. Crystal
    September 25, 2010 | 8:20 pm

    SIDS is a heartbreaker for so many families.. a friend of my SILs just lost their 8 week old baby boy yesterday to this.. The mom Thought it was strange he didn’t wake up for his 6am feeding.. when she went in a few minutes later he wasn’t breathing and was already gone.. Its heartbreaking as these are young parents and their first baby.. but they are strong and so is their faith and I am praying they will get thru it..

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  37. Joanna
    February 21, 2011 | 9:14 pm

    Something very similar happened to my little one when he was almost 3. The way you described this incident was like reliving that incident with our Austin. Nothing was ever found wrong with him….x-rays, bloodwork, EEG, CT scan, etc. He was much older than Carter, but I wonder if it was the same thing? I am thankful to God everyday for my time with my children!!

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  38. Katie
    April 5, 2011 | 6:51 pm

    PRAISE THE LORD! You were listening really hard weren’t you?!?!? How amazing. I am so thankful Carter is with you today. What an amazing testimony.

    Were all of your anxieties about him gone after that day?

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you Katie.

    Were all of my anxieties about him gone after that?

    Yes and no. I haven’t had a feeling like I described above since then, but Carter remained on a heart/breathing monitor for several months and he had some other health concerns (seizures, heart arrhythmia, developmental delays, etc.), so I’ve remained concerned/worried about Carter’s health. Although these days he has been released from all specialists care and is doing very well.

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  39. Jeri
    July 7, 2011 | 2:36 pm

    Kimberly, I have not read your blog before so I decided to read your About page. Reading about your children, my breath caught in this post. I’m not sure why I haven’t read your blog before as I daily read Kim’s and Connie’s. I plan to stick around…I love reading about Godly women and you sure seem to sound like one!
    Jeri (outside of Austin in Taylor)

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you Jeri and welcome. 🙂

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