Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Treasured Beach Memories

My friend Karen Gerstenberger is an absolute joy and treasure!  I asked her if she'd like write a guest blog post about her beach memories on the Kitsap Peninsula.  I think you all will enjoy her beach treasured memories too! 

 Karen and her family have had quite the journey over the past several years, and I just want to congratulate her on the publishing of her new book - "Because of Katie".   It is more than a stellar accomplishment,  I think that her story can help many other families that have faced, or are facing childhood cancer.

Thank you, Caron for inviting me to write a guest posting – I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share this photo of you and Tom and a group of friends at our house from a couple of summers ago. It’s not often that we get to see you here up in Poulsbo, and it was a treat to have you join us.

 Our little town misses Caron’s brick-and-mortar store, but we’re glad she is here online so that everyone can have the pleasure of shopping with her!

One of the passions which Caron & I have in common is beach walking and beach combing (not to mention seafood). To understand the importance of time spent at the beach in my family’s culture, consider this: my parents built a rustic place on the beach before they could even afford to purchase a home. When newly-married, they rented a tiny apartment in Seattle, and took the ferry to an island on the weekends to build their cabin. The fact that neither of them knew how to build anything was not even a deterrent! We three children grew up spending weekends and summers at the cabin. It was my favorite place in the world.

I have loved the beach as long as I can remember, and this love has never left me – in fact, it is what motivated me to live where I do.  I wanted to share this love with my own children, and fortunately, my husband agreed.  This is a photo of me as a child, walking the beach on Bainbridge Island.

 Here is my family with my parents on our beach - they now live on the original cabin’s site, in a less-rustic home.

This is us, vacationing in Canada.This pastime of walking on the beach and looking for treasures led to the making of a special feature in the guest bath in our home.

When the house was being built, I asked the stone masons to help me make a countertop out of the collection of beach glass and pottery which the children and I had found together. They were kind enough to teach me what to do, and shared their tools and materials with me.

While they laid tile and stone in other parts of the house, I made this countertop. The stonemasons were uneasy about the fact that it is not level; it’s bumpy, but that is part of its charm. It has cup-handles, cut glass, marbles, insulators and much more in it. They set the seashell sink into it for us (I had wanted a glass sink, but our budget wouldn’t allow it – instead, I found this on close-out at a hardware store).

The beach-glass countertop is one of the favorite features in our house among our guests – they love to run their hands over the surface, looking carefully at each piece of glass and pottery. I never get tired of it, and I always enjoy seeing people’s reaction to it.  It contains memories of many hours of joy, walking the beach with my husband and children. That makes it extra-meaningful to me, especially now that our son is away at college most of the year, and our daughter, Katie, passed away several years ago.

This brings me to another reason for my posting:  I wanted to share some good news with you. I’ve just published a book about Katie and our journey with her through childhood cancer. It’s our family’s true story, and it includes helpful information and resources for anyone who encounters a medical crisis, or who knows someone going through such a crisis. It is for friends, family members, medical professionals and anyone who has been touched by concern for someone facing a life-changing event.

“Because of Katie” is available on amazon, at createspace and through Liberty Bay Books or your local bookstore. For those of you who are local, (Washington State, Kitsap Peninsula) there will be a book-signing party hosted by Liberty Bay Books at The Loft at Latitude 47.7 on Friday, March 2nd at 6:30 P.M.

If you’re not sure whether this book is for you, please go to the amazon page and read the reviews of the book, written by people who have read it. I hope that it will bless you or someone you know!

For more about Karen  and her continuring work with Seattle Children's Hospital - stop by her blog GBerger -

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