Sorry if I confused you . . .

with yesterday’s post. Our family listened to Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue” three years ago, imagining her dancing into Heaven. We were unable to be at the hospital with  her because ice that morning prevented us driving the hills from our home to her. (She died at 6:05 and we finally made it to the hospital around 10:00).

On each of the anniversaries of her Homegoing Dave and I have listened again to “Toccata and Fugue” at 6:05. It’s been a wonderful way to imagine how well and happy she is.

Forgive me for not explaining this better yesterday.


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Remembering Karis’s Homegoing

Toccata and Fugue:

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Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours across the miles . . .


Cesar and Valerie, Brian and Rachel, Dan and his girlfriend Lisa, Debbie and Dave

and Karis as I imagine her now in Heaven:


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Mary’s Diary, by Karis

Remember Karis’s imaginative Mary’s Diary, written when she was 13, published on this blog two years ago? Several of you told me you wished to have it in the form of a booklet. I wasn’t up to doing that work then, but I tucked the idea away and can now offer it to you as a 20-page booklet. You can use it if you like as a small gift or Christmas greeting for your friends or colleagues.

You can order Mary’s Diary by e-mail ( or phone text (412-996-6856) including your snail mail address. I’ll let you know shipping costs and mail it as soon as I receive payment by check (Debra Kornfield, 1038 McCabe St., Pittsburgh, PA 15201) or by PayPal.



1-24 copies $3.50 each; 25 or more $3.00 each.

Our hope is that Mary’s Diary will be a fun way to share the “reason for the season.”

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Elliott family reunion 2016

My side of our family has a reunion every 3 years. This time 48 1/2 of us gathered in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee from across the US and Mexico (the “1/2” will be born in a few weeks!). I have 7 siblings, and we are now enjoying the third generation, from baby Soren a few weeks old to my eldest sister Linda, whose 70th birthday we celebrated with a piñata homemade in Mexico. How Karis would have loved this happy chaos!

Whole Family reunion 2016

Karis would have stood behind my son Dan in the blue shirt toward the left–see the space beside Valerie that says “We miss you”?

At our last reunion, in 2013, Karis made a point of saying goodbye personally to each of her cousins, aunts, and uncles. She knew she might not see many of them again. But I couldn’t help feeling she was “with” us in some special way.

Here are the Elliott siblings, with space left for our brother Steve, who wasn’t able to come from Guatemala:

Sibs at reunion 2016

(I’m in blue in the middle.)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! What a privilege to be related to all of these marvelous people!

Thanks to Daniel Hooker for the great photos.


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Another round of sorting

Last week Rachel and Valerie came over to help me sort through a collection of Karis’s things that I stashed behind her recliner when Dave transformed her bedroom into his office. It took me only two years and a few months to be ready to do this . . . and without Rae and Val’s help, I still wouldn’t have done it.

The effort was so worthwhile though! Among other treasures, we found the essay Karis wrote on gargoyles that won second place in a school-wide essay competition her freshman year at Notre Dame. I thought we had lost that essay forever. What fun to “hear” her voice again, not just through that essay but other writings and poems that we discovered, including a few more of her journals.

Karis journals and papers

Top shelf: Karis’s journals.

Bottom shelf: What we saved of her other writings from this particular sorting.

It’s still hard not to feel that we’re violating Karis’s privacy by looking at all of these personal things. But we either just store it all–or throw it all away–or we look through it, gleaning what is specially meaningful to us. It does make me think about what I want (or don’t want) other people to find when my time comes!

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Gratitude for your love and support

Hello friends,

I just watched the recording of Karis’ memorial service from two years ago today. I was so blessed all over again by the presence and support of so many dear friends, and I know that others wished to be there but were not able to travel.

We thank you.

Debbie and family

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