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Only the highlights…


Oh my! There is a daunting tension rolling around in my gut. It’s true; I haven’t written a single word in months.

You see, I am somewhat conflicted…sweet Timmy has been gone a little over a year.  Boston Children’s Hospital and the New England Donor Bank sent cards marking our loss on the first anniversary of his death. It seems so wrong. A year to the day of Timmy’s Fontan surgery found me plopped in our church’s memorial garden running my fingers over Timmy’s nameplate  and the dates of his short little life, sobbing uncontrollably, desperately wanting to have him cradled in my arms again. And not…

Because being with Jesus IS far better than being present in body in this wracked with suffering world!  That is our sure and certain hope, taught faithfully in Scripture. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will never die. ” I know this. I believe this without a shadow of doubt.  This is why we grieve with hope.

And yet…the reality is, he is gone. He is still gone.  My arms are still empty.  My heart has a Timmy sized hole and always will. I will never be the same.

“Nothing can fill the gap when we are away from those we love, and it would be wrong to try and find anything.  We must simply hold out and win through.  That sounds hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation, since leaving the gap unfilled preserves the bond between us.  It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; he does not fill it, but keeps it empty so that our communion with another may be kept alive, even at the cost of pain.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

So much life has been lived during my silence, and I desire to give witness to that. Much growth, many milestones met and celebrated, the goodness of God tasted and seen in our home. Other precious little people discovering the wonder of God’s world, the uniqueness of God’s design in their bodies and hearts.

Joseph who could not walk, now WALKS!!!


Gabriel has been unable to dress and undress himself, he now knows the satisfaction of putting on a shirt and taking it off.  Ta Dah!!!  It took him about an hour. Mind you…we still have a long way to go. Please celebrate with us! Many thanks to the fabulous people at Shriners in Greenville, SC who worked so patiently with us to figure out a way.


Nehemiah is steadily building more comprehensible speech and vocabulary. He can tell us a story now and we can understand him. Yay!!!

Nehemiah the ring bearer

Seth can put his head and whole body underwater and not freak out. We have friends who recently installed a pool and they do not hesitate to share.  This pool has a heater which she kindly turned on because she knows Seth is usually shivering in 2 seconds flat normally. (Ahem…she did this even though the outside temp was well into the 90’s) What a blessing they are! We’ve also been losing a few teeth around here. 🙂

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Esther continues to pick up speed with heart pumping joy and excitement. She can run around our circle driveway and not be out of breath.  Way to go, girlie!


Matthew, Abbey Rice, and I jaunted off to France and Italy on a school sponsored trip. What a whirlwind! We walked our legs and feet off and took in so much art, culture, and history, not to mention the scrumptious food. 😉

Elyse and Laura Ann got to spend a week and a half with Ma-ma and Pa-pa in  Florida. What a treat!


Nehemiah and Esther were ring bearer and flower girl in Gianna & Daniel’s wedding this past weekend. Wow! What a celebration and answer to many years of prayer.


Sarah Kate has been an excellent older sister helping out with all the kiddos and sharing a room with her new roomie, Elyse!



God has done all this and we praise his holy name!




  1. Sharon Gruber Maclean says:

    So did you come to Italy also or just your older children.

  2. risleyfamily says:

    Yes, I was with Matthew. That is me at the blue door with Matthew. Abbey is a family friend. We spent 1 day in Florence and 2 days in Rome. What a whirlwind it was! Thank you for living the light there day in and day out. Blessings be on you.

  3. Praise HIM! You life is a testimony to our God and the children are delightful and each one an amazing blessing! Thank you for the update`been thinking about you… and saying prayers.

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