Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Today I will be at Maryville Treatment Center to speak at their ICVC (Inmate Crime Victims Class). These are a series of classes for inmates to hear the other side of the crime and how they have affected the lives of the victims. I will be telling our story and will also be talking about how this crime has effected our everyday lives. So, strength is needed again today as hopefully Abby can touch more lives.

I hope our story makes the inmates think about their crimes in a different light. I hope they can feel compassion and not just be concerned about the effect on their own lives. I will let everyone know tomorrow how it goes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Precious Child

I am going to direct you to another site today to listen to a beautiful song titled "Precious Child."

Here are the lyrics to the song~
Words and Music by Karen Taylor-Good

In my dreams, you are alive and well
Precious child, precious child
In my mind, I see you clear as a bell
Precious child, precious child

In my soul, there is a hole
That can never be filled
But in my heart, there is hope
'Cause you are with me still

In my heart, you live on
Always there never gone
Precious child, you left too soon
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... in my heart

In my plans, I was the first to leave
Precious child, precious child
But in this world, I was left here to grieve
Precious child, my precious child

In my soul, there is a hole
That can never be filled
But in my heart there is hope
And you are with me still

In my heart you live on
Always there, never gone
Precious child, you left too soon,
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... in my heart

God knows I want to hold you,
See you, touch you
And maybe there's a heaven
And someday I will again
Please know you are not forgotten until then

In my heart you live on
Always there never gone
Precious child, you left too soon
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... in my heart

Monday, September 28, 2009

Parade Prep

It's time to start getting ready for the Homecoming Parade! We are planning on having a prep day on Sunday, October 4th starting at 2:00. We will be getting the gifts ready to pass out to the kids and working on float ideas for this year's theme. I am also starting to compile an order for pink or grey sweatshirts and black or grey embroidered zip up fleeces. Get your sizes to me if you are wanting one of these before the parade.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Newspaper Stories

I wanted to share the links to the Maryville Daily Forum's articles on the docudrama on Tuesday. They provide more details about the program that I did.

Also a BIG thank you to those of you that helped show your support through prayers and by being there on Tuesday. I think we made a difference.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Northwest TShirt Quilt Raffle

The quilt is complete! (But don't stop bringing in those shirts. If this is a success, they will make another one.) And here it is ~

It measures 79x96, basically a full size quilt. Tickets are $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00 and can be purchased at the following locations ~

Sew For Fun
Consumers Oil Company
Farmers Supply
Kiss My Grits Cafe
Clipper Ship

or, as always, find a board member and they can help you out.

The drawing will be held at the last Northwest home game on November 7th.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Six area schools attended the docudrama.
While I was not there for the beginning, I did see some of the mock accident outside. The accident occurred while the driver was under the influence of alcohol and texting. No one was wearing seat belts. There were five people in the car. Here rescue workers work to free a young lady trapped under the car.

Here the driver is given a sobriety test. LifeNet leaves with an injured passenger. The passenger trapped didn't survive. The coroner pronounced her and the hearse came to take her away.Inside, students had to walk past a closed casket and a table full of pictures and memorabilia of the student that didn't survive. The students were then led into one of the two movie theatres being used. A movie was shown by the Highway Patrol that showed accident scenes, interviewed families and officers, and talked about road safety (buckling up, obeying speed limits, etc). Following the movie, Sgt Lyons spoke about an accident he worked. Then it was my turn to speak. There were tears from both me and students in the audience as I talked and played a slide show. I then left and went to speak in the other room. I know there were other speakers, including Pastor Paul McKim, and family members of two young men that lost their lives in an accident.

I sincerely hope that my words and tears create a lasting impression on some of these lives. Our pain is real and is a daily battle. If my speech saves just one life, it was worth every second of my uncomfortableness as I spoke.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Today I ask for prayers ~ prayers for strength as I attempt another first in this journey. Today I will be speaking at the docudrama for area wide high school sophmores. This is where a mock accident is recreated, showing the effects of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. This will be my first time telling our story in public. I have spoken many times at many different places about the Foundation, but this will be different. This will be about how a driver with alcohol in his system tore our family apart and changed our lives forever (and no, this is not a bash the other driver speech. His name will not be mentioned in my speech until I say the fact of him being sentenced and that is it. It is my side of the story, from my vantage point and I did not know who they other driver was until later). My goal for the speech is simple ~ make an impact on just one life. Yes, I hope to touch more than just one, but one is a great place to start and I will build from there. I want our story to make the students there think before they climb into that vehicle, whether they are the driver or the passenger. So, prayers for strength today please.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Mom Is A Survivor

My Mom is a survivor,
or so I've heard it said.
But I can hear her crying at night
when all others are in bed.

I watch her lay awake at night
and go to hold her hand.
She doesn't know I'm with her
to help her understand.

But like the sands on the beach
that never wash away...
I watch over my surviving mom,
who thinks of me each day.

She wears a smile for others...
a smile of disguise!
But through Heaven's door I see
tears flowing from her eyes.

My mom tries to cope with death
to keep my memory alive.
But anyone who knows her knows
it is her way to survive.

As I watch over my surviving mom
through Heaven's open door...
I try to tell her that angels
protect me forevermore.

I know that doesn't help her...
or ease the burden she bears.
So if you get a chance, go visit her...
and show her that you care.

For no matter what she says...
no matter what she feels.
My surviving mom has a broken heart
that time won't ever heal.

Kaye Des'Ormeaux

A friend sent me this poem they found and the words really hit home.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Call For Shirts

Do you have some Northwest t-shirts you can spare? Have you or your kids outgrown a few? If so, we need your help. Sew For Fun is working on a fundraiser for the Foundation and for Briley's Heart Cart and needs a few more shirts. They are putting together a t-shirt quilt that the Northwest Bearcat football team will sign. This quilt will then be raffled off to benefit the two charities. If you can help, please get your shirts to any Foundation Board Member or take them by Sew For Fun. Thanks for your help!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Flew Up To Heaven

I have been trying to scrap one layout a month for my album about Abby. They seem to be harder for me to do because I am overly critical of myself. I have found an online blog that is about scrapbooking your loved ones lost. They provide a prompt to help get you going on a page and the support is wonderful. I found this place after they had their first challenge of letting a song inspire you, but wanted to go back and create one for it. I knew exactly what song I had to do. Then they issued a new challenge of using a favorite picture. I have so many favorite photos since Abby was quite photogenic, but this is one of my favorites. We were at the Hopkins Picnic is this picture. Abs looks too cute in her pigtails, grinning from ear to ear as she proudly holds Sheena's puppy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Helping Out

These are just some of the animals that Chris Birdsell donated to the Foundation and we bagged up this past weekend. She works at the hospital and was actually on duty at the time of the accident. She told me how much the accident affected her, a total stranger, too.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Tribute ~

Saturday we lost a part of our family ~ Molly. She was so much more than just a dog to us. She was Marc's companion that went everywhere he did. She was Mady's bedtime buddy and slept with her every night. She was Elly's wrestling partner and pillow. She was our protector and guard dog at night. There were a lot of tears shed at our house this weekend as two girls came to grips with another loss. So today I am going veer away from the Foundation focus to share a look at some of our personal moments with our dog Molly. We'll miss her.

Monday, September 14, 2009

How We Survive

© Mark Rickerby

If we are fortunate,
we are given a warning.

If not,
there is only the sudden horror,
the wrench of being torn apart;
of being reminded
that nothing is permanent,
not even the ones we love,
the ones our lives revolve around.

Life is a fragile affair.
We are all dancing
on the edge of a precipice,
a dizzying cliff so high
we can't see the bottom.

One by one,
we lose those we love most
into the dark ravine.

So we must cherish them
without reservation.
This minute.
We will lose them
or they will lose us
This is certain.
There is no time for bickering.
And their loss
will leave a great pit in our hearts;
a pit we struggle to avoid
during the day
and fall into at night.

unable to accept this loss,
unable to determine
the worth of life without them,
jump into that black pit
spiritually or physically,
hoping to find them there.

And some survive
the shock,
the denial,
the horror,
the bargaining,
the barren, empty aching,
the unanswered prayers,
the sleepless nights
when their breath is crushed
under the weight of silence
and all that it means.

Somehow, some survive all that and,
like a flower opening after a storm,
they slowly begin to remember
the one they lost
in a different way...

The laughter,
the irrepressible spirit,
the generous heart,
the way their smile made them feel,
the encouragement they gave
even as their own dreams were dying.

And in time, they fill the pit
with other memories
the only memories that really matter.

We will still cry.
We will always cry.
But with loving reflection
more than hopeless longing.

And that is how we survive.
That is how the story should end.
That is how they would want it to be.

This poem was read at the Memorial Service and really spoke to me so I thought I would share it with everyone.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Reminder ~

Just posting a reminder today that we will be bagging on Saturday night at 7 pm at our house for all that are able to join us and help.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Butterfly Release

The girls were able to release several butterflies and loved watching them fly away. It's the best part of the ceremony if you ask Mady. Elly was so excited to discover there were butterflies inside the "triangles" we got earlier in the ceremony. She really wanted to open them inside.

Mady with her "triangle" containing the butterfly to release.

Elly and Marc with their "triangle".

The butterfly is still in the box in this picture.

The butterfly has flown out and is at Mady's right arm flying away.

Elly and Marc's butterfly is beginning to emerge.

We saved a butterfly that escaped early inside the building and brought it outside to be released.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Memorial Service

This weekend was the Celebration of Life Memorial Service for Childrens Mercy. It is a special day in which we join together with other families to celebrate the lives of our children that we have lost at the Hospital.

Some people come into our lives
And leave footprints on our hearts
And we are never, ever the same.


Litany of Remembrance~
In the rising of the sun and in its going down, we remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them.
In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them.
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them.
When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them.
So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are a part of us, as we remember them.

This year's speaker was Wendy Colling and she spoke about the loss of her five month old daughter to a chromosomal defect.

Little Snowdrop
The world may never notice if a snowdrop doesn't bloom
Or even pause to wonder if the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms and comes to be
touches the world in some small way for all eternity.
The one we long for was swiftly here and gone
but the love that was then planted
is a light that still shines on.

And though our arms are empty
Our hearts know what to do
Every beating of our hearts says that we love you.

Mady and I left messages for Abby on the remembrance tree.

~I will post pictures tomorrow of the butterfly release.~

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Party Gifts

Maddie Jones and Cody Baker gave their birthday party gifts to the Foundation again this year. They asked their guests to bring things the Foundation needed or money to help out and shared their day with the Foundation! Thanks so much guys for thinking of others on your special day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Lemonade Stand Profit

Ms. Becky Meyers (one of Mady's friends and one of my Girl Scouts) held a lemonade stand at their neighborhood garage sale. She took the money she earned and went shopping for the Foundation, purchasing stuffed animals, coloring books and crayons. Thanks Becky!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Gymnastics Memories

Bouncing everywhere and panties sticking out from the sides of her leotard, Elly reminded me so much of Abby when I took her to her first tumbling class this week. I had tears well up as I caught the first glimpse of those little panties. No matter what we tried with Abby, those little panties always managed to stick out the sides of her black leotards. Sometimes the similarities between these two girls is just unbelievable. We stop and wonder sometimes if there is a little coach whispering in Elly's ear because we just don't know how to explain some of the things she says and does that are just like Abby without her here to lead the way.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The One That Started It All

I know that everyone reading the blog knows the story behind the Abby's Hugs program, but I thought I would share the first stuffed toy that Abby received when she had a Doppler test done in Omaha.

This is it, the inspiration behind the largest program the Foundation runs~

Isn't she a cute Ty doll! She came with a soft, bright green jacket on and her shoes were on her feet when Abby first got her. But this is how Abby left her. No jacket and the shoes are off. Good thing they are attached to the doll's heels or else they would be long gone by now, because who needs shoes. (Abby hated wearing shoes. Barefoot was her thing.) In fact, I guess we're lucky she left the dress on too!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bagging Date Set

The next bagging for the Foundation will be Saturday, September 12th at 7 pm. I know this is the date of the Northwest game at Arrowhead, but it's the only date that fits in our schedule between now and Homecoming. Hopefully this date will work for some of you and we can get caught up on bagging after taking the summer off.