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Since I moved away from Michigan four years ago (where my whole family lives), the very best sound in the world is my mom's voice. I am glad she is there for you.

susan lew

Your post made me cry and smile.

Lisa V.

Well now that my tears have cleared up - Karen you are amazingly inspirational. Truly. You place such great value on each of your relationships and put in the work to make them work. I think you're right - Mom's a blessing for you and your kids while Josh Downs is deployed. She's also a blessing for Josh - giving him a bit of peace knowing you have someone to curl up with and cry when you need to and then get you right back up on that horse to carry on. Maybe it's also a blessing for your mom, giving you both the opportunity to strengthen your relationship. God is so clever, giving us those blessings we need that we may not have thought of, didn't think we needed or maybe didn't necessarily want. But they end up being exactly what we needed just when we needed it. I'm so glad your Mom is there for all of you and you're there for her.


Thanks Karen. I'm reading while walking the track during kids soccer practice with tears in my eyes. I love your words and your ability to share so much. I always come away with a little something in my heart.


This post made my heart happy. I would give anything to be able to spend time with my mom however she passed away 25 years ago when I was only 21. Mother daughter relationships are very complex but when you need a good cry and someone to listen there is nothing better. Hugs to you my friend!

Young Nanny

I've been 'hearing' from God a lot lately, that His plans, His thoughts and His ways are so much higher than ours, so much better than we could ever plan and think. And I love that He reminds me of that because it also reminds me that I need to surrender to His ways and trust in Him more. Your post today again reminded me that His plans are always better than ours. Glad things are better with your mum. Blessings...


My name is Lisa and I've been reading your blog for a few months. When I was 27 (a long time ago :) ), I went back to college to get my degree. I moved back in with my mom so I could not have any bills and finish in a shorter time. It turned out to be one of the BEST times of my life. We had ground rules - no fussing about how late I stayed out if I was making my grades, I had to help with the housework, basic stuff. And what happened was the biggest blessing God could have ever given me. We became really, really good friends. Gone was the mother, daughter issues. We got to know each other as true adults and it was such a happy time. We cooked, we junk store shopped, we took walks, we swung on the swing, we laughed and we cried. She passed away 6 years later and like you, I know it wasn't an accident that we spent that time together.

So enjoy this time. It is such a gift!!!

Lisa in New Orleans


I'm sorry you had a rough day. I'm glad you have a thoughtful mom who can help you out.


Okay, I don't cry easily, but to hear about a healed relationship and especially between mother and daughter...that made me tear up. And you're right, God is like that.


Karen, i just adore your honesty in your posts. And we all totally know you could do it on your own!!!


Thanks for giving me hope that one day my mom and I will have what we used to before she and my dad moved in my house with me and my husband several weeks before I gave birth to our first child. Six months later it didn't end well, and they ended up moving away again. There is for sure tension every time we/they visit. I feel that my parents still look at me as the 15 year old who did everything they said and believed everything they believe. I'm not, I went to college, fell in love, got my Master's, and got married. Parents are a blessing, we just have to learn to talk things out (which we don't do so well) and pray for God's strength.


Again! I can hardly type because I have teary eyes! Moms are the best for knowing what we need when we need it. But moms (like daughters) aren't perfect. Good for you for talking it out with your mom, you were taught well. I only hope I'll be able to help my kids out when they need me like my mom did for me.


I am so glad you have your mom with you! Mom's are the best and the Lord absolutely knew what a blessing she'd be to you during this time - and what a blessing you and your kids would be to her!

I love how our relationships with our moms (and our grown daughters) can change and grow and get better! I've been reading your blog for ages and never leave you a comment, but just had to this time. I've wanted to tell you that I love how you end each post with a note to Josh Downs. It brings a lump to my throat each time. Thank you for sharing your life!

Jennifer S

I have tears.... I can understand this tension you speak of, but oh the beautiful memories of tough times. Beautiful. Treasure it. It's gold. I miss my mom, everyday.

ellen patton

I love that you are so real and honest and share your life on your blog.


as i read this on the 2 year anniversary on my mom's usual teary eyed response has been replaced by crying outloud....I was so lucky to have a great relationship with my mom and remember the last time I spent with her i was getting impatient and anxious and instead of feeling bad or snapping at her I calmed myself down and told myself it wasn't really worth it and boy am i ever glad i did, for two weeks later she was gone. So good for you for recognizing the signs and GREAT for you for working it out.
Give your mom a big hug for me and try and enjoy this time you have together. It has happened for a reason...


Thank you and God Bless you and your family!

Juli P

Beautiful post!
I can't say that I'm a jealous person, but when I read this I am completely envious of people who have these relationships with their mother. My sister and I would love to have that, but unfortunately, our mom is a complete and utter pain in the rear and everything with her in conditional and on her terms and all about her. Even on my wedding day (yes MY wedding day) she made ME feel bad and tried to make the day about her.
I'm so glad that your mom is there for you, you're a rock star and can do it on your own, but why? when you have a loving and supportive mother who is willing to give a hand. You're a lucky woman, with a wonderful family.... Take care!

Corrine A.

Karen, I love your blog. I love how you share yourself and your family in a way that inspires me to be a better mother, a better wife, a stronger woman and hopefully (as soon as I can swing your workshop)a better photographer. You are a strong, smart, courageous woman. Josh Downs is lucky he has you to love and support him and the kids while he is serving his country...and I have no doubt that you could totally do it alone, but I'm glad you don't have to.


My Mom and Dad moved in with us almost nine years ago (Dad's diagnosis of Altzheimer's was the trigger for the move) and it has been challenging and it has been a blessing. I get tied up in how the arrangement affects ME and I sometimes forget to see how the arrangement affects THEM, especially Mom. Women like to "nest" and have their own space, and my Mom has graciously trimmed her "space" down to two small rooms in our large home. Women like to feed their families, and Mom has graciously moved out of the kitchen except for a few days a month. She's a blessing to our family - helping in many of the same ways you've mentioned your Mom is helping you. Love her for the silent sacrifices she's making and allow the knowledge of her loss of self temper the need to be angry with her from time to time. Believe me, I speak from experience.


Simply touching Karen. It's a beautiful thing that as we get older, we can still admit to our wrongs, and fix them. It's also a beautiful thing that we can still rely on our Moms to let us be that little girl sometimes....the one that gets their neck rubbed while they cry. Much love to you all during this tough time! xx


I am glad that God has blessed you and that you have a shoulder to cry on while Josh is gone. I have to admit that my heart breaks for you a little every time I read your blog. The sacrifice that you and you family are making to keep me and my family safe is so appreciated. I am praying for you and your family. Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with us!

Nicky from Canada

I agree - everything happens for a reason. God has you under his wing. So thankful for your mom - a true blessing.


great post! what a blessing your mommy is. Special time in your life, glad you realize that. <3


I cry! I lost my mom last December, right before Christmas. Makes me happy to see that you and the other folks commenting realize what a blessing this relationship is. I miss my mom every day and am so glad that we also mended any hurt feelings and had many years of friendship.

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita

really beautiful Karen!

teresa b

Great post Karen!! You could do it alone..but you don't have to!! It's such a blessing to have your mom there with you. I wish I knew how to mend my broken relationship with my happy for you!!


moms have such a way to calm us and give us some peace in our hearts. be thankful for this time with your mom. and remember that you have that same "mom magic" with your own kids (even if it doesn't seem like it). you are a strong woman and i admire you! one day at a time. ephesians 6:10

Susan Ringler

I guess I should just get used to the fact that every time I read Karen's blog now I am going to cry---- be they tears of sadness because you miss Josh so much, tears of joy because you are healing an old wound in a wonderful way, or tears of laughter like when you locked yourself out of your sister's house! I just don't know anyone else who is so real and "right there" with her words and the photo today is timesless and priceless and absolutely wonderful.

We will keep you in our prayers, say "Thanks" to your Mom and God for their timing and "Thanks" to you for being a daughter who cares enough to talk it out and accept a blessing here and there!!!!


I have to agree with what everyone else has already said. Many of their comments made me tear up as well as yours did. One of the things that I enjoy the most about your blog is that you could have taken the words right out of my head. I feel like you do, daily. I love that you can put it into words that usually make me laugh out loud.... My heart hurts for you that your heart hurts.... that has to help some right? LOL!

Anita G.

You are so very lucky and blessed. I love reading your posts and the responses from everyone that you touch when you share your life with us! Amazingly inspirational! Enjoy your mom and know how lucky you and the kids are to have this time to spend with her. :)


YOU can do this alone, but isn't it great you don't have too! I love how it worked out for her to be there.

Carrie P

God is so very good, working things out before we even know they need worked out.
Glad you have the support!

Ann K in WI

You know Karen, you're really awesome! You really are.


God totally had it planned like that. Totally. He IS good like that. So good.

Ann Poole

Karen, by letting your mother live with you... you have GIVEN her something to do, tender times with the kids, a time to share who she is with them and time with you again. After your kids leave home it is great to have your life less stressed but then it can also carries a bit of emptiness. You feel like you spent all those years doing what a mother does and then you are not really needed. You and the kids now fill her life with activity. I am sure that living alone can be pretty boring and that there a few dull moments with three kids around the house. And, it is good that she has somewhere else to be for a couple days a week; it gives both of you space which we all need. Today is my grandmothers birthday. She is long gone (I'm 63). Growing up, every winter my grandparents would come to CA for 3 months from IA and would stay in my room. I moved in with my little brother. Ah-h-h! what I wouldn't give to give a knock on their bedroom door, run into their room, jump onto to their bed and say "Good Morning!" GOOD memories! Your kids will remember these times when they too are 63 too! All of you being together is not just for you or for your mother, but each of you including the kids are a gift to each other... cherish these days.

Lisa G

What a beautiful relationship you have with your mother Karen...I loved reading this post about the two of you. Your care and love for each other at this moment in your lives.

I just know that someday you will be on the other side of it and you will be the one helping your adult children just as your mom is there for you!


There are no coincidences...God has a plan for each of us. We just have to trust and follow Him. I think it's great your mom is with you especially now! What a blessing :)

Michelle Arthur

You inspire me.............


This makes me cry! A happy cry and a tender cry. Such a gift from God!

Beth Phelps

Wow - this brought tears to my eyes. In the last 6 years or so my daughter and I have experienced healing in our relationship. She is now 38 and raising her first child who turns 1 in just over a week. We are closer than ever, best friends in many ways. It is still a challenge as I live in Canada and she lives in California, but we both work at it. A Mother-Daughter relationship is very, very special, and very tricky too. I am so happy that you are as blessed as I am to have a beautiful relationship like this . . .


I've been reading your blog for awhile and look forward to taking your photo class sometime soon. Hang in there and know you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers as you go through this challenging time.


Like others, you have me on the verge of tears. How lucky you are to have been able to work things out with your mom. I have always had a lousy relationship with both of my parents. They are the "it's their way or the highway" type. I am really struggling with it right now and having a hard time dealing with the fact that my mother (no family really) is not around - her/their choice. I have tried on many occasions to try and talk things out. It gets me nowhere. Hubby's family isn't any better. Hard to deal with all this family stuff. I am so so glad that you two were able to work through things. I am so happy for you on that matter.

Kimberly Johansen

I am so glad you have your mom with you! My husband is deployed also so I know what it is like to do everthing on your own. I will keep you family in my prayers. :)


i'm close to my mum and she's a godsend to have around as a support for both me and my kids. it's funny though, because i'm also always quick to mention to people that i lived on the other side of the world from her for 10 years, so it's not like i NEED her or anything... ;) your vulnerability though, it's a gift to her.

Stephanie B

Karen, Even though you expect yourself to "take care of it all" it's ok to accept help when it comes your way. As we get older we realize this, as you have. Your mother know's you can handle it all, maybe she just realize's that you both need each other right now. Having your mother there is a blessing (albeit challenging I'm sure). Although my mother is alive and well, she has no idea how to "know" what her daughter would need. I live every day, ensuring that my own daughter never feels that way. Enjoy the "help" and cherish the time you and your children have with this woman, you will never regret this time. God Bless!


that was beautiful as is the picture! Loved it! Yes, GOd is just good like that! He provides our every need and even the ones we don't think are needs! He is so good! Blessings on you and your family!

Brandi I

Yep I cried and smiled too..because God is good. As I write this the day before Veteran's day I want to take a second to thank you and your family for the sacrifices that you are making for the good of our country. God bless Josh Down's and the men and women that he is serving with. May they all return home safe and know that their hard work and sacrifices are appreciated.

Peace be with you


You put what happens between me and my Mom into the perfect words. Thank you for sharing how you and your Mom were able to talk it out and the wonderful healing that can take place especially with a positve frame of mind as yours. You inspire me and always give me hope. Thank you for sharing your special voice and amazing photos!

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