July 2016

Honeymoon time…

Written on Thursday, July 21st @ 2:00pm

It is extremely hot outside. As I stare out the window, looking at the beautiful flowers on Crystal and Gage’s deck, I am feeling thankful for air conditioning. I am watching “Storm” their beautiful cat and I can tell she wants her mom to come home.

“Storm” just stares at me, then cuddles with me, then is angry with me, then meows, then repeats…

Mom giving some advice before the big moment.

Mom giving some advice before the big moment.

Just think, a week ago we were getting ready for a big wedding weekend. We really were just starting to finally enjoy the thought of the big day, because we were so worried about not having a church for them to get married in, since the crazy ceiling had collapsed in the one they were suppose to get married in. But it all worked out, thank goodness.

Rehearsal dinner went by fast. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. It made my heart flutter. We were thankful to have a church and I thought Crystal handled herself beautifully as things were going to run very different than the way she thought they were going to go because of the differences of the church.

Crystal's Smile Says it All...

Crystal’s Smile Says it All…

For an example, like how many entrances there were to the church, the isle being off centered as she were to come down. The fact that the church was smaller was concerning how everyone was going to fit. And where were the old cars going to be after the ceremony?

Crystal’s biggest thing that she wanted, was no one was to see her or the bridal party until the wedding march down the isle. That was one thing that was very hard to control because the room in this church to get ready in was right upstairs by everyone who was attending. However, we did out best. I just don’t think Crystal or I thought any one would be there an hour before the ceremony. Crazy.

Courtney helping Crystal. This photo was taken right before she sees Gage.

Courtney helping Crystal. This photo was taken right before she sees Gage.

It was a gorgeous day. The weather could have not been any more perfect. And the bridesmaids began their day very early. Everyone was smiling, everyone looked happy, everyone looked beautiful and Pastor Jonathan gave a sermon that was very heart felt. You could feel the love, you could feel the energy in that church.

As a mother, watching her walk down the isle with her dad made my heart skip a beat. Rod smiled so big, he was so proud, he was so happy. They both were beaming. Watching her sisters, her bridesmaids be so full of joy that there were tears in their eyes. Watching Gage smile at her. Seeing my mom, cry happy tears. Made me realize even more how lucky we are to enjoy this new journey together.

The reception was a blast. Everything stayed on schedule. The music throughout the night was uplifting then turned into some crazy fun. It was all decorated like Beauty and the Beast, Crystal’s favorite disney movie as a child. But instead of yellow roses they were pink.

The food was incredible. The cake, I wish I had some right now. And our bartender, had a smile the whole time.

Dad and Mom so happy for our daughter.

Dad and Mom so happy for our daughter.

So, Crystal Kuehl is now Crystal Barnett. And we have gained a son who has a wonderful family that comes with him.

Thank You all for the prayers, the support, the kind words, the messages, over the last few years. It truly is because of all of you that helps this mother get through it. And because of all of you my daughter is confident she will beat it. Thank you.

Her next scans will be in September. She has one more month to live free, well the best she can because we all know in the back of your mind you wonder.


We are reminded that we are not in control.

Written on Friday, July 15th @ 8:30am

Today is the start of the big wedding weekend. How exciting for everyone. Such a happy time. A new beginning. I am so excited to see my daughters dressed up with smiles on their faces. My heart is full of joy that my daughters get this moment together. Everyone there will be looking their best. They will all have a happy heart. It will be a weekend full of beautiful memories.

26 years ago this was used at our wedding. Crystal & Gage will be using this at theirs. Plus she will be wearing my pearl necklace I wore on that day...

26 years ago this was used at our wedding. Crystal & Gage will be using this at theirs. Plus she will be wearing my pearl necklace I wore on that day…

I am sitting in my kitchen this morning, it smells of popcorn from CornFusion. So many bags for the big wedding this weekend. It is really hard not to open a bag and eat some. Lately all I do is eat. But tomorrow will be here before I know it and I will have some then, with family and friends.

The weather looks like it is going to be perfect. You know, I found myself praying to God in the weeks coming to this big weekend. Please make the weather perfect. Please make this day extra special, the weather would help with this. However, the minute I would start to ask God for that wish I immediately felt guilty because I already had begged him to let Crystal not big sick on her day. And he granted that. So asking God for another favor made me feel like that wasn’t good enough. I was asking for something else. Something else for me. Such a selfish feeling that was…so that was it, I haven’t asked for anything except to Thank him for this day, and to guide me through this time. Crazy thing is, I have been really calm through some crazy circumstances. Which brings me to this…

I have been torn to write an update in Crystal’s Journey about this day but when my mother received a message about the wedding I thought, maybe I should do a little update.

Anyone who has been involved with a wedding knows the craziest week before the big day. The nerves, the thoughts, the phone calls, the worry. We all know that when the day arrives, you just let it go. What happens, happens BUT we also know you don’t get that attitude until you get everything organized up to that date.

On Tuesday, Crystal had some errands to run and one of them was to drop off the marriage license at the church. It seemed to be taking Crystal a lot longer than I thought it would so I began to go another direction with some of the “wedding to do list” things to check off when suddenly I receive a phone call from a hysterical Crystal.

“Mom, I have to tell you something.” As she is crying and trying to talk. “It is not good. It is bad.” As my heart dropped I took a deep breath and started thinking what could it be? My mind was racing. As she was catching her breath she explains, “As I walked into the church, I saw people crying. And then they told me that in the Sanctuary ceiling had collapsed. “Mom, I can’t get married there! What are we going to do?”

I was shocked, she went into more detail of what had just happen approximately 30 minutes before she had arrived at the church. All of sudden, as Crystal was talking this calm feeling came over me. It was the strangest thing, I calmly said, “Crystal, thank goodness it didn’t happen the day of your ceremony. Could you imagine saying your vows and that happening? Your beautiful day would be ruined with a memory of people getting hurt and someone possibly being killed. That would be horrible. We will figure something out. We have a few days to get things organized.”

I could hear in her voice she was so surprised how calm I was. It calmed her down. She said she had been praying for the last couple of hours with everyone at the church. Plus they were all trying to look for a back up plan. The church was absolutely wonderful and gracious with Crystal. And when I asked Crystal what did Gage say? She said, “Mom, he said I am going to marry you and I don’t care where.” Which actually made her cry harder. True love is so beautiful.

As we hung up the phone, I can’t lie to you my heart was racing. How in the world are we going to tell everyone in this short notice…Hmmm we do have the emails from the RSVP’s. On another note, we have a 48 hour waiting period for the possibility of using the church right across the street. If that is the case, we really won’t need to say anything because people will be outside guiding everyone. So the wait begins…

The meeting was Thursday night at 5:30pm when we would be learning if Crystal & Gage would get use that church. We did have a second plan but boy that was going to be work. So we crossed our fingers.

Crystal and I were at dance working away, she said “Mom I just keep praying. You know I know this is not cancer, but when I sit in the doctors office and wait for the doctor to come in to tell me if the cancer is back or if it is worse or can they do anything about it. I feel that exact same way right now, as I am sitting here waiting for my phone to ring to find out if I get this church.” I actually felt the same way but this is over a church and I would take that over this cancer any day. But around 6:15pm, we get the call. We Got It! There was her smile that I haven’t seen the last couple of days. I was elated. I was thankful.

Now we talk, we have decided not to say anything. It might be confusing. So we know that when guests arrive there will be church members directing everyone across the street. It will be perfect. Besides they share parking lots.

Until my mother received a message last night from a dear friend of hers that is a guest at the wedding. She had heard from someone that is not invited to the wedding, that the church ceiling collapsed and everything at the church is canceled, including the wedding. So she was just asking my mom if she heard that? Well everything at the church is canceled but the wedding is still going on. That is how rumors get started. So that is why we felt I should write and update. Such a crazy journey life is.

Now, I know a lot of you might be thinking she could of used our church. Trust me she did look around. But with Mass and other weddings going on it was a lot harder to do. Plus keep in mind, Crystal wanted to get married in Cedar Rapids. She wanted everything in downtown Cedar Rapids. She wanted it easy for everyone to get around but seriously with all of the road construction there is no easy getting around downtown and that is out of our control.

On another note we have learned Crystal will be going to Mayo sometime in September. I am reminding myself to live in the moment and worry about September on Monday 🙂 Enjoy this beautiful weekend, I know I will.

Weddings, they are new beginnings. New beginnings for everyone. 8 days away…

Written Thursday, July 8th @ 9:40am

Hope your 4th of July was full of Fireworks.

Hope your 4th of July was full of Fireworks.

Hope your 4th of July holiday was a good one.

What a beautiful morning in Iowa. However, to wake up to hear about the sad news in Dallas is heartbreaking. My middle daughter Courtney can’t even look at the news, it makes her sick, it makes me sick. As we drink our coffee, I can hear her voice quiver as she talks about her feelings on this sad event. I can feel her worry about our world today. So many questions she has and I can’t answer them.

I think to myself, I have a daughter fighting to grow old with her soon to be husband, fighting for her life daily & here people are just throwing lives away.

Over the years the saying I have told my daughters still stands true today and is so simple. “Treat others the way you would like to be treated”.

On a refreshing note, Crystal’s Sky Zone Fundraiser was wonderful. It was nice to see all of the support and the CR Spirits Dance Studio did a great job performing and smiling away. Thank you. Thank you from Crystal. Thank you from our family.

Crystal at Sky Zone.

Crystal at Sky Zone.

Also, Sky Zone was so fun and it was so clean that we will be having a Spirit Party there in October. Such a great workout 🙂

Then a surprise came our way. A girl on the Professional Dance Team bought her first new home. Congrats Jes! She used a realtor who also happens to be on the team, Alissa! Alissa with U Realty. U Realty has the neatest concept. Every time they sell a home they donate 10% of their commission to your charity of choice. I bet it is a rewarding feeling for everyone involved. I sure know how we felt to get the Commission of Hope check. Thank You. Thank You.

Gotta love #closingday. We are so excited for you Jes for your new home. As a thank you for your business we donated 10% of our commission earned to the Crystal Marie Kuehl medical bill fund through our giving program Commission Of Hope. Enjoy the new house!!! Alissa

With the amount raised from these two events, I can say we have 5 nights in a hotel in Rochester paid for! YaY!

Crystal's Bachelorette Party!

Crystal’s Bachelorette Party!

As for Crystal’s Bachelorette Party, what a fun night in Cedar Rapids. It was perfect. Kaitlin took the reins for this event, Paulette was right by her side and the night could not have been more exciting. Every location was decorated and every one looked beautiful. Pretty much it was Family, about 20 High School Girls and about 20 CR Spirit Dancer Girls. A night to remember. Kirby, Thank You for making us feel like RockStars.

The day is almost here, I sure have learned a lot about planning a wedding. I have learned that RSVP is really important. I have learned that you do forget some when you are inviting but you have to draw the line somewhere. I have learned that you can’t forget the cake plates and forks. And I have learned to keep the concept I preach, trust your gut.

I know I have helped plan this wedding with Crystal and I could have never done it without my own mother. And honestly, I am not sure if it would of went this smooth if Crystal was still on Chemo. We are so blessed that she got to take this break. We are so blessed that they did a procedure in late April to remove the tumors. Oh please stay away cancer.

You ask how Crystal is doing. Crystal is doing well. She is really happy. She has butterflies. She is excited. She is really busy and she is tired of making decisions about the wedding, which is typical for any bride this close to the date.

You have asked where they are going on their honeymoon. They are going to the Florida Keys. They even booked 4 exciting things they will be doing while they are there. Hawaii was the first choice but we all know how expensive that place is, so that will be a future vacation for them. She also was told that it was best for her to vacation in the States with her medical history at this time.

Crystal and I went for a long walk last night. We talked about how food taste so good to her. She just recently began tasting it again so she said I am really enjoying that right now. We talked about if she worries about her August scans. She said, I am so busy I don’t have time to think about it.

Just a few of the CR Spirits.

Just a few of the CR Spirits.

So as I asked her, when the wedding is done, the honeymoon is over, the doctor visit has passed, what is your focus? Getting those Thank You’s done? She laughed and said Yes. But mom, it is the Spirits. It is the Spirits Dance Studio. I want more kids. I want them to perform at the Spirit Show. I want them to have that feeling on stage. That feeling is what helps me forget my worries with this cancer. I can’t wait for auditions on the Professional Team. I wonder if we will get some new faces.

Which then got us talking, we have said nothing about auditions for the team this year. And for the first time in 23 years the auditions are going to be held in July NOT September. Wednesday, July 27th @ 6pm! Yikes…to much wedding stuff that we are forgetting something else that we love.

When I started this team, it was for me to get out of the house. It was something that took me away for a couple of hours a week. It was something that came natural to me. I just never dreamed that it would make an impact on so many others especially my daughter. God knows what he is doing. He gave me a gift and I use it for the good.

Crystal & Gage make a wish on the 4th of July.

Crystal & Gage make a wish on the 4th of July.

What is your gift? Everyone has one. Everyone is good at something. Everyone. And what is funny, when you ask yourself? What is my gift? What am I good at? It is actually to hard for some to answer. For some to say it out loud. Well, embrace it. I bet you will be happier for it.

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