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Have you ever climbed a mountain?

Literally or figuratively?

Did you notice when you stand at the bottom of the mountain and look up…

…it all seems so overwhelming?

There are steep cliffs and crevices and many vertical miles to go and sometimes you see a foothold and sometimes the ground seems too smooth to grab traction.

You brace your shoulders and shiver slightly at the road ahead.

I can’t climb this you tell yourself.  I’ll never make it.  I don’t have the strength or the energy or the willpower for the journey.  That mountain is unclimbable.

Calling all climbers.

This post is for you.

Last November my littlest twin had eye surgery for a detached retina.

She and her sister were born almost three months prematurely and her blood vessels never developed properly behind the eye.  We had no idea.  We had her tested when she was smaller and she had eye check-ups every year with great reports and 20/20 vision.


Until one day she noticed her vision in one eye was blurry and there were dark spots in the corners.

We rushed her to the doctor’s office where tests revealed she had a detached retina.

The next day she had emergency eye surgery to repair it.

She was so brave.  She didn’t flinch.  She grabbed my hand and held on tightly and stared up at me with big blue eyes so full of courage and determination.  They put a cap on her blonde curls and a patch over her eye and tucked her tightly into the hospital bed and rolled her into surgery.

I remember standing there watching the doors close behind the cart and dissolving into tears….

….grasping for understanding.

She healed quickly after the surgery.

We were hopeful.  Her sight returned and the blurriness faded and her smile was back bigger than ever.

And then?

Six weeks after the first surgery, we went in for a follow-up visit and discovered we had to have another operation.

And then another surgery four weeks later.

It was heartbreaking.

Her smile dimmed a little and her blue eyes clouded over and her heart was sad and I watched as my tiny, four foot nine inch fighter struggled.  She couldn’t go to school.  She couldn’t play basketball or jump or leap or cartwheel or dance….

…or run.

The mountain looked so high and so steep and so unclimbable.

But we faced it together.

It wasn’t easy.  It was hard.  It was painful and sorrowful and gut-wrenching and there were days when I’d hit my knees with the sadness of it all.

But over time, painstakingly, gradually…

….we stared down that mountain with every tiny step.

Every foothold.  Every minute. Every hour.

Every day.

And then slowly we watched as the impossible became possible.

The steps became stronger.

The hopeless became hopeful.

The impassable became the road well-traveled.

Last week we left the doctor’s office with an incredible report.

Her eye looked awesome.  The retina was still attached after several months.  Her sight was 20/25.  The swelling had gone down and best of all….

…she could finally run.

We celebrated with Chick Fil-A and high fives and laughter and giggles and on the way home she played me a song.

A song that got her through the darkest days.

A song that made her believe in herself.

A song that helped her stare down a mountain.

It’s from Britt Nicole and the lyrics go like this:

You were young

You were free

And you dared to believe

You were the girl who could change the world

Then your life took a turn and you fell and it hurt


Don’t you know?

Don’t you see?

All you need is to believe

You’re still that girl

and you’re gonna change this world

So in case you were climbing a mountain today.

In case there are steep cliffs and crevices on the road.

In case you are shivering slightly at the journey ahead.



You’re still the girl.

And you’re gonna rule the world. 🙂

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  1. Image for Debbie Debbie

    This is an incredible and so beautiful story of courage. Isn't it amazing what our young people can teach us? You have a treasure in your children. They are wise beyond their years. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story with me. I really needed the encouragement. With love and gratitude, dear friend.

  2. Image for beverlee beverlee

    You are raising girls just like you, positive, hopeful and wonderful! Thank you for contributing to the future women who will be fabulous.

  3. Image for Kim D Kim D

    That was the most beautiful post I have ever read from anyone. Your daughter is truly blessed in more ways than one. Incredible mothering!

  4. Image for Charley Charley

    I'm so thankful you had access to good doctors that could solve this problem and get her eyesight back! Sounds like you found the perfect one.

  5. Image for Patti Patti

    I'm so happy to hear your sweet daughter's eye has healed! A beautiful story - her courage and encouragement for me and others. Thank you!

  6. Image for Pamela Pamela

    You are such an inspiration to your girls and your girls are definitely going to be inspirations for other young women. I love seeing parents instill this into their children. You are an amazing person and a wonderful mother. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Image for Carol Neibling Carol Neibling

    Thank you for telling us of the bravery of your family. This tells us of the faith you all have and the love they are shown every day. Spring and the flowers are coming. We will keep prayng for you.

  8. Image for Cindy Cindy

    You always make my heart smile. Isn't it wonderful how the Lord gives us the grace to get through things only when we need it? Your daughter sounds amazing and I bet her sister was right there by her (and your) side the entire time. So glad she's better. Big hugs

  9. Image for Brenda Brenda

    I have climbed a mountain--figuratively first with the help of my family--oh what sweet sweet victory and then again literally on a hike with that same sweet family that had helped me through that mountain of an illness. Both a wonderful victory for me and more love shown to me by my husband and daughters than could ever be explained with words!! Prayers for your daughter.

  10. Image for june june

    What a strong young lady...and mom. What a wonderful story. Challenges are difficult enough for us as adults but when it affects our children or any child it is heart wrenching. So wonderful for her great news. I spent most of last fall and the holiday season very sick with a blocked tear duct. It was as painful as child birth before the meds kick in because nothing could touch the pain. I have a super high threshold for pain and this really took a toll on me. Cannot even describe in words. Spent Christmas night in the eye surgeons ER office for a procedure and very very strong antiobiotics again. Surgery a month later and now I'm living with a little spacer in the tear duct for another five months. But I will get through this...just grateful I am on the way to healing. Your daughters journey inspires me to stay strong. Hugs to you and your daughter.

  11. Image for Carrie Carrie

    Beautiful. Here's to little girls conquering mountains and believing in the power of courage, conviction and a Momma's hug. My favorites for instilling courage: "For though she be little, she is fierce" "Let her sleep, when she awakens, she will move mountains" Sorry I don't know who wrote those, but I tell my own 5' sweet angel baby those quotes often enough that as an ROTC nursing cadet, she believes them herself!

  12. Image for Kara Blalock Kara Blalock

    Karianne, OMG. This post. I cannot begin to tell you what a profound effect it had on me. It was exactly what I needed today and I had no idea. It gave me chills and then left me sobbing. I am facing my own mountain and... I. GOT. THIS. Thank you, love you! Hope to see you again soon!

  13. Image for Claudine Pender Claudine Pender

    Awww!!! She is so sweet!!! Please give her a hug for me!!! Karianne, being a mom, I understand. We wish we couldn't take everything that's happening to them, and bring it to us! I'm so glad everything is ok and your baby can run again! You must be so relieved ❤️

  14. Image for Linda Linda

    So thankful for her healing. What wonderful news! Psalm 91 v14 15 The Lord says: I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. He is a good God! Blessings to your family. Linda Marsh Ocala, Fla

  15. Image for Sandra Vigil Sandra Vigil

    Thank you! So grateful your daughter is doing so much better.You can't know how much this encouragement was needed today. Blessings

  16. Image for Jeanne Jeanne

    We are climbing the mountain right now as I write this from my daughter's hospital room. So scared but so brave And I am trying to be brave for everyone. Thank you for the reassuring hope. We/she/I can do this ❤️

    1. Image for Terri Terri

      There is Grace in every step you take. You can climb this mountain because God is with you and the prayers of others (including this stranger) are keeping the wind at your back. I have been where you can! God bless

  17. Image for JudyCinNC JudyCinNC

    I think she most definitely takes after her mother, Karianne. Wonderful on a Friday - after all the negativity this week, along comes something I can believe in - hope and joy and wonderful mess. JudyC

  18. Image for Linda Linda

    Bless you Karianne for posting this. I'm sharing it with someone today who will be blessed by it. Have a wonderful weekend with your family! (Have I told you that you are some kind of incredible?)

  19. Image for Terri Schmidt Terri Schmidt

    I look up your blog in the morning to inspire my efforts to decorate my home. Today you inspired my heart with gratitude. Thank you.

  20. Image for Julie Julie

    My best friend was just diagnosed with lymphoma this past week. This message made my heart full of courage to help her fight her mountain! Thanks!

  21. Image for jae jae

    God is good! Am glad your brave daughter is doing so well. It is so much harder when its our children struggling than when it is ourself. So wonderful you had good doctoring and blessings of healing. Thanks for the encouraging message.

  22. Image for Michelle Michelle

    What a sweet story of encouragement and how awful it must have been for you when you first saw that mountain. I'm so grateful things turned out like they did and that the mountain is behind you. Thank you so much for sharing.

  23. Image for Taste of France Taste of France

    I was so relieved to get to the part about her eye healing. I did try mountain climbing. Three times I tried to climb Mount Kenya, 17,000 feet high, right on the equator. And your daughter's story reminds me of my second time: the mountain doesn't require special equipment, just stamina. The last bit to Lenana is up an almost vertical scree. You get to the base of the scree, spend the night, and then climb it before dawn, while the gravel is frozen. Well, we must have been a little late, because I climbed, the gravel came loose, and down I slid. Over and over and over again. Until finally the sun was definitely up and it was useless to continue. I'm glad I tried. And I'm glad that unlike me, your daughter found success!

  24. Image for helen helen

    Thank you for sharing your story and touching hearts! I truly needed it today! So happy for you and your girl ❤ Keep writing, you have a way with words that brings peace and joy!

  25. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

    I didn;t know what you were going to tell us at the end. THANK GOD! You will all be stronger for hanging tough. PS What a song I hope she has a journal of this experience

  26. Image for Deeann Deeann

    And a footnote to this sweet story...that same little fun-sized warrior was texting her friend (who happens to be my daughter) a couple of nights ago and as my sweet girl was signing off, your baby asked "is there anything I can pray about for you?"....THESE ARE TEENAGE GIRLS!! Who does that?? There is good in the world....and a lot of that good comes in little packages of blond curls(;

  27. Image for sandi sandi

    I wish I could meet YOUR mother---I'll bet I would recognize her in you & in your daughter. Not only are the sins of the parents passed on to the third & fourth generations, so are the graces & the blessings. I am in the midst of something hard that could go either way today---I choose to take courage & trust God. Thank you for being His light in the dark.

  28. Image for Julie B. Julie B.

    Our God is good... even in the scary times, He is good to teach us that there is rest in Him! So glad your girl is doing so well!

  29. Image for Lisa Lisa

    I have been wondering how everything was going. So thankful we serve such a gracious Savior who hears us when we pray. XOXO Lisa

  30. Image for Linda Andersen Linda Andersen

    Dear Karianne, I have been bad and not reading my daily dose of karianne. I have however, been keeping them on my computer to read later. I am so sorry to hear of little twin having all the eye issues. It must have been devastating for you all. I am so glad her troubles are behind her. I have been faced with a mountain, called depression. Here I am, finally in my new dream house and I still have moving boxes and junk all over. I want to decorate, I have got things to do this with, but I don't. I am just sad and I know I'm nuts cause I'm in this beautiful home on a little lake and all is perfect. Except me! I saw my doctor yesterday and she changed my meds so I'm hoping for a miracle. I promise I will read all my gazillions of posts, and I send my love to all the Wood family with nothing but good health and love in the future. Love, Linda

  31. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    She has the right attitude to succeed at anything, having been up and down many mountains (hit by a car in my early 20's) that attitude is what keeps me going. So happy to hear that her eyesight is 20/25 now. High 5's to all of you!

  32. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    Oh, Lord...this post was meant for me. I am awaiting instructions on eye right eye...a tumor growing behind my retina. Facing another possible surgery having to do with me having multiple colonoscopies and endoscopies....will spare you the details and I am a very healthy and very active woman! To top this off my baby son (46) visited last night to tell me he is being deployed (Air Force) for a year to an untold destination..leaving his sweet and beautiful wife and two littles. Leaving Easter Sunday... My mountain looks very high right now but I will hold your story deep in my heart and will remember it....Please hug your darling daughter for me and tell her she is very brave~

    1. Image for Robin Robin

      Kathleen, I do not know you but feel incline to respond to your comment. You are a brave and beautiful soul, one of God's own precious children. He too has touched and spoke to me through Kari Anne's posts. There have been several times I have read something from Kari Anne's blog that has inspired or encouraged me during a down period. My prayers are with you, your son and his family. May you find peace and comfort and know that He is God and is in control.

    2. Image for Karen Karen

      Thanking God that your daughter is through that tough season and for the medical personnel who helped her. 13 years ago, our daughter had brain surgery after graduating from college. Then she got married and had our 2 precious granddaughters. In 6 weeks she will graduate again with her RN degree. All that to say: your little muffin has a great future to look forward to as well! God is still working out his wonderful plans for her! *hugs to all*

  33. Image for Phyllis Phyllis

    Karianne- I'm always drawn to your posts that tell a story, as you are a talented wordsmith and put me in the moment every single time. Today, I'll admit I was drawn in by the lovely verses and flowers you sprinkled throughout your writing. As I read, I felt goosebumps on my arms as I sensed a connection to the overwhelmingly frightening thing it is to have a loved one going through a health challenge. It brought back memories to me that I've buried, but now feel I can start to face. My husband had a bad fall in July 2014 and is now a paraplegic. I struggle every day looking at the mountain that is how we get back to a normal life. I'm trying too hard to look at the top of the mountain, rather than take each day as a smaller challenge and climb those "hills" and celebrate each elevation rather than focus on how long it might take for our life to feel like we have been able to fix it completely. I keep a Pinterest board on "Living with a Spinal Cord Injury", and I've saved your post to remind me to take the climb with an eye towards the pinnacle while not forgetting the celebrations that can renew our spirits along the way. Thank you for this- and I'll celebrate you and your daughter's good fortune tonight as well.

  34. Image for Linda Linda

    Like the Bible teaches His stripes we were healed. It's Jusus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 Thanking the Lord for your daughters healing.

  35. Image for Robin Robin

    Kari Anne, Thank you, thank you for writing what is in your heart. Thank you for being a shining light, inspiration and reassurance to some of us who you will never meet in person, but have touched in so many ways. I know that you are truly blessed. And your sweet, sweet girl - what a jewel. I am so very thankful your family received wonderful and healing news. I pray that God will continue to bless her and your family.

  36. Image for Regina Regina

    Second story I've read today that was so inspiring and both involved children. We do not give them enough credit so many times. So happy for the good report for your daughter.

  37. Image for Aunt Lou Aunt Lou

    OH! My friend's son faces the possibility of losing his eye. He, too, is very young. His retina detached when he banged his head. No running, jumping or even sleeping on his back for this boy who is just entering his teenage years. His simple faith that God will take care of him whether he keeps what vision he has left, his eye or any vision at all, is inspiring. His latest operation and follow up have been the first encouragement for long months. I am so happy for your family's triumph. Thank you for sharing this. :)

  38. Image for Bonnie Bonnie

    I'm so thrilled to read this update about your daughter. I have been praying for her and wondering how she was doing. Thanks so much for sharing today. It brought tears of joy to my eyes.

  39. Image for Be Be

    What blessed news!!!! Thank you for sharing, for our deepest pain is so hard to share, but by sharing your experience so many will be encouraged. Our God is an AWESOME GOD. Even when it doesn't end exactly as we want it, he is always there to walk with us through that valley, he never leaves us. Psalm 23. Please keep sharing your story as it encouraged all of us who read it, in all situations. Love

  40. Image for nancy castorena nancy castorena

    I hope your baby continues to improve. I too have climbed this mountain because my son at the age of 15 had a horrible accident at home, while we were having a dance contest he slipped and fell on my treadmill, his left eye ruptured completely and he had to have emergency surgery. After 5 surgeries unfortunately he has lost vision to that eye. A year ago he fell 100 feet at work and again had an emergency surgery. Since then he has had two more surgeries and continues to heal. Thanks for sharing your story- Blessings to you & your family.

  41. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Praise the Lord for the celebration! You have such a precious heart. Would love to just sit next to you and hear all your stories. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family. ❤

  42. Image for karen karen

    That "littlest girl" has such big courage and joy.... I bet I know where she learned it ! Blessings to your family from Arkansas.

  43. Image for Corinne Corinne

    What a heart warming story, strength and courage. Many climb difficult mountains and your journey illustrates how that challenge can make or break ones spirit. I am forever climbing, there will be no end in sight, but stories like your strengthen my resolve to make the best of a situation that I cannot control. Bless you and yours. Thank you for sharing, it was the strong point of my day.

  44. Image for Donna Donna

    Thanks for sharing. . . and offering the grace that comes from living in, living through, and living after this kind of journey. We all have struggles. . .and we all know others who are struggling. I am happy for your family. . .It seems like your daughter has gained wisdom & courage through this.

  45. Image for Donnie Donnie

    Oh, my friend. We have a good God. So thankful for your wonderful news. Thanks for sharing and inspiring. This mothering sure isn't for the faint of heart, is it? Another blessing to count.

  46. Image for Pinky Pinky

    What a sweet story of courage and grit. She obviously got all that from you! I have had MANY mountains to climb and I always feel that all that struggle has made me who I am today. I hope you don't mind me borrowing those lyrics. I want to give them to my sweet granddaughter. XO

  47. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    Beautifully told ... it is so wonderful to hear that your "baby" is now healed. God provided the doctors' skilled hands to take her and your family to this joyous time of celebration. He is indeed an awesome God ...

  48. Image for Rose Rose

    Every time I read your stories I have a smile on my face, but today I was so sad for you and your little one. Until I got to the end. Thank you for making me smile. I'm so glad she is doing so well now. Have a wonderful day always. Much love, Rose

  49. Image for Shannon Fulkerson Shannon Fulkerson

    This is just what I needed to read today! Thank you for spreading inspiration and encouragement. I am going to draw the strength and courage I need through your little one's example. As always, thanks for sharing and helping us to rise up! With Love and Gratitude, Shannon

  50. Image for Robin Robin

    Beautiful story of courage. I wish everyone could read this who is climbing a mountain of their own right now . So glad your daughter has her beautiful smile back God is so awesome

  51. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    Prayers of thanksgiving and praise for your sweet, little blue-eyed thistle! Although it sometimes seems impossible to gain the strength to reach the summit of our "mountains", with each attempt we become stronger. Through her struggle, she has learned a valuable lesson. love you sweet friend,

  52. Image for Holly Holly

    So thankful your little one is doing so well!! Also, I NEEDED this today. Thank you!! Facing health issues that are interfering with being able to work outside the home is a very scary situation to be in. Today is the day that I start climbing the mountain I've been avoiding for too long. It's time to start creating something to sustain our life, something I can handle physically, with me at home.

  53. Image for Michele Riggsbee Michele Riggsbee

    Thanks so much for such a sweet and inspiring story that I needed to hear so much! Though the road may be tough and steep, I've started my journey and I will see it to the end! I will be victorious, just like that sweet, blue eyed twin of yours! Hugs my friend and lots of love!

  54. Image for gina gina

    Before I read this post, I was just thinking about how amazing you are knowing that you were going through this with your daughter and you had the strength to be the mom who made it through the holidays and kept your readers entertained, and created so much beauty in projects and I just can't believe your energy and determination. It's really humbling. You need to know amazing you are.

  55. Image for Sue Sue

    "Ruling the world" is the same as any obstacle; it is achieved one step at a time and each step you take brings you closer to realizing your goal, your dream. Having faith and patience play a big role in that also. Your stories always make me feel as if your family has an abundance of those things. So happy to hear that the mountain might just look like a mole hill right now.

  56. Image for terry ellen cross terry ellen cross

    Oh sweetie, God doesn't waste a single thing in our lives, your darling daughter will be stronger, your family closer, your love stronger and more precious. And best of all, she will grow up to be an amazing, courage filled woman who adores her children,,, just like her own mother...

  57. Image for Brie Brie

    So glad for your sweet girl that she has recovered! Reading this made me think of a song my church youth choir sang last year - "Tell the Mountain." (Here's a link to a recording- not by my youth choir- of this song: Blessings to you and your family!

  58. Image for Anne Anne

    I'm so happy that your daughter is healing. I can't imagine how scary that was for you all. I really needed to read this post today. I've been struggling too lately. I know God brought me to your page. Thank you for sharing.

  59. Image for Pamela R LePage Pamela R LePage

    So glad to hear that your baby girl is healing. That totally blessed me to read your post. I also have dealt with this except not to the extent that your precious one did. . Will be keeping you all in my prayers. Love Hugs

  60. Image for Katie Jane Katie Jane

    Hi Karri Anne! I was drawn to this post because of the title. I too had recently wrote about climbing mountains. Although my post was about an actual mountain it was inspired by a friend battling cancer. Your story was heartwarming and inspirational. Thank you for sharing. My friend lost her fight this weekend and your post will remind me to grieve in the same way you faced your daughters struggle - one step, one day, at a time.

  61. Image for Maria Maria

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story:). So glad that you're daughter is healing and for your positive message!

  62. Image for Julia - Vintage with Laces Julia - Vintage with Laces

    She is such a brave and inspiring girl, KariAnne. You did a great job raising your children!!! I'm sorry that you and your family had to go through such a difficult time. I'm very happy that her eye healed and she's now allowed again to do everything she enjoys.

  63. Image for Betsy Betsy

    I share with your daughter a struggle to save our vision. One difference: I'm 81, and and she's still a girl. Thank goodness you daughter had a successful and happy outcome. Just as soon as I get the results she got, I too will dance and whirl around in circles! We are kindred spirits!

  64. Image for Terri Terri

    How did I miss this post?? Just now reading this... but I really believe I was suppose to read it today.... Encouragement that I needed TODAY... What a beautiful , encouraging word.... SO VERY GLAD for the GOOD report !!! Thank you for sharing !!!!!! Makes me think how our Heavenly Father is so concerned for us... as we are for our own children ... :)

  65. Image for Janet Cole Janet Cole

    Thank God for the good report! You know, even if the report had not been good, she still is that girl who can change the world and something good would have come from grateful for answered prayers ;-)

  66. Image for Max Max

    I am just sad and I know I’m nuts cause I’m in this beautiful home on a little lake and all is perfect. I saw my doctor yesterday and she changed my meds so I’m hoping for a miracle.

  67. Image for Pamela Griner Pamela Griner

    Wow...what timing for such a positive post..thanks. I am trudging up a mountain of sadness as my sweet mom sinks deeper into dementia. Soon she will need more care than I can provide. Gut wrenching when you are visiting care facilities. Sigh...I know it will work out. God has a plan. Happy for your family that all is well now.

  68. Image for Jolyn Wilkins Jolyn Wilkins

    Oh, KariAnne... I have been on a hiatus - went on vacation and got a new computer, and somehow your feed does not come up in my e-mails anymore :-(, BUT I'm back and saw this post... Made me cry. I know your pain, and like you, we came out on the other side more glorious than ever. LOVE this post - sent it to my sweet daughter to brighten her day. Thanks for bringing rays of sunshine day after day!

  69. Image for Andrea Andrea

    Thank you!❤. For sharing such a personal hearttugging story! I am so very glad everything turned out well. And your beautiful blue eyed baby girl can once again enjoy sunshine ☀️ and rainbows ?! I a 40 something year old women just found inspiration from her courage and your beautiful words. Now as I climb my mountain I will remember your family, all of your strength and endurance& the words to the song that lifted her spirits through it all. One step at a time...???

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