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28 August 2007, 5:30am

Dear Kristen,

There was a lunar eclipse the morning before you were born. I'd gotten up at 4:40 for my now-thrice-nightly trip to the bathroom when I decided to check on it. There wasn't much to see during my last trip at 2:30, but I felt I'd be missing something if I didn't at least check again. Out on the back deck in my bathrobe, I stared at the dark red disk with the golden nimbus, not sure how I should be feeling. There's something disconcerting about seeing your usual bright, silver moon dull and discolored. And that's when it happened - a shooting star streaked across the sky. My face lit up before my heart did - surely this is the sign I'd been asking for with every waking breath: "Please God, help me understand. Please God, help me to know this is the right path. Please God, help me to trust this will all be okay."

Back in bed, I just kept turning the whole experience over in my mind. Life is full of fear and pain and uncertainty; why was I bringing children into this world? Automatically I answered myself: because there's beauty and love and joy too. And then it hit me - Joy. Your middle name is Joy. Not Eve because you're the end of our family as Kaitlyn was the Dawn. Not Sage because that's something we wish for you. Joy, because not only is that something we wish for you, but it's something you bring for us too. May it always be a reminder of the beauty and love and wonder and JOY in this crazy world of ours, if you're only willing to step outside and look for it.

All my love,
Mom

Kristen Joy Kientz was welcomed into the world at 8am sharp on 8/29/07.
6 lbs 15 oz
19.75 inches