Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Blog

We are currently blogging at a new place.

If you are wanting to read about our son Eliot's life, you are at the right place.

We still get the comments & still can be reached at

Matt & Ginny Mooney

Friday, April 11, 2008

we're still here

Hello all. We wanted to drop an update into the blogosphere.

We have been overwhelmed by the amount of e-mail and encouragement that has continued in our absence. Thanks to all who have made the effort to let us know that you cared.

In the way of update, Ginny and I are at work in much the same way as we left. Ginny’s pursuits in the jewelry business continue and she is hoping to take her ideas to another level soon with the unveiling of a new direction. I am in my last semester of law school with a few more hours this semester then I would recommend, but the powers that be have promised to let me out upon attaining this magic number of credits. Thus, the schedule reads as follows: finish school, graduation, and then bar exam.

And yes, I am still not thinking I will actually practice law. We’ll see- I’m open. I even still threaten to walk away from school, but this stems mainly from the awkward laughter and concern that this remark conjures up in my wife and friends. What a good woman.

One of the greatest joys has been the realization of a non-profit idea that we had hoped to start. The name of the non-profit is 99 Balloons, Inc. The first activity that we have pursued is a respite night for special needs families to drop off their special needs child along with the siblings. Thus, some parents have been able to receive a long-overdue night off. The name of the night is “rEcess”.

rEcess has provided many highlights, but at the top has been the opportunity to watch others jump in and serve with humility and grace. I can now say that I know a place where Christ is on display each month, and we are humbled to be a part of it. It has become increasingly obvious that the whole thing has nothing to do with Ginny and I; rather, it is much bigger than that.

The website is still under development, but feel free to check it out (

And now we segway into what I will call a letter…

I believe in restoration.

Not too long ago, Fayetteville got our big snow of the year. We pretty much get once a winter to justify the sled in the garage. Previous to what we’ll affectionately call the “winter storm”, I was talking to a friend on the phone who had become aware of the forecasted 6 inches.

.....Aside: We got less than 3 inches which was gone by brunch,, but you must understand that it was our weatherman’s annual shot at being a big-timer- with the exception of delivering the news that a wall cloud might have been spotted near Goshen by Hal, one of the stations weather-watchers. I digress.

I believe in restoration.

On this phone call, my friend was lamenting the future of his almost budded flowers, and how, again, this year’s beauty would be stopped before it began. Now, to my parent’s chagrin, I have never been accused of having a green thumb, and even the manly yearn to mow is foreign to me. So, admittedly, flower-worry was not on my radar when talk of a blizzard began.

Within a week of the whiteout, I had another encounter with lawns and gardens. I am a creature of habit, and pretty much walk Wilson (the dog) on the same route daily. It is upon this route, where I take stock of the neighborhood and busy myself trying to ensure that the dog’s business does not occur in the lawns of neighbors I actually like. Certain aspects along this urban trail do not go unnoticed: my neighbor still does not know that the trash can is only supposed to stay curbside one day a week. Yet another has not received word that his yard is actually not a crap museum.

It’s not all bad on the dog walk. Not having a green thumb does not mean I cannot be green with envy when I see a great yard. You know the one- plush, green, thick. The one we all spy on to confirm our suspicion that the work is hired labor. Somehow makes us feel better if it is.

In our neck of the woods it lies just two blocks away, and is referred to only as “the yard”. I always take stock of this lot and ruminate about how pathetic it is to care so much about grass (it’s my problem, I am working on it). On a recent walk, while deriding the pitiful owner in the secrecy of my mind, I realized that the yard looked terrible. It was dusk, so I gleefully moved closer to examine what had occurred.

Sure enough. The yard was not plush; in fact, it was dead. The secret was out. The lot had been purposely burned down to nothing but charred, black earth.

And that is what Ginny and I have been doing. Learning from life that, although, all that is good can be covered over to the point where no bloom is forthcoming. And all that is for viewing is dead earth where vitality once resided. Herein lies a strange but beautiful recipe for life. Plush, full life.

I have long examined and not concluded why sometimes blooms come back more beautiful than ever, while other blossoms never return. And I can only point to the one who willingly died, that life could take root in me.

I believe in restoration.

PS we’re pregnant.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Well, we did not manage to post on Eliot's birthday. We fought to celebrate, and feel we were able to do so.

When accurately remembered, there is so much to be thankful for. But heartache often manages to eclipse the whole. Therein, lies the battle. Attempting to push aside the pain, to relish the joy. That battle continues.

We wanted to be sure to issue an ongoing invitation to folks who want to contact us. Feel free. We have greatly enjoyed hearing from those who have experienced Trisomy 18 or something similar and are here for anyone who may need a resource or just an ear. That invitation is open to anyone, whether you have walked a similar road or not (

We will update with information or any new blog that comes about.

I will end this blog with words originally spoken at his funeral:

We encourage you today to not forget Eliot. To not forget whatever his sweet life taught you. Please go & do that which has been stirred in you through his life. And we look forward to hearing of the ripples he has made in eternity.

Matt & Ginny Mooney

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


As many of you know this will be our next to last post. The site will still be up and available. We plan on a final post for Eliot’s 1-year birthday (Friday). I will then be taking a blogging sabbatical. We will update the site with any information we want to pass on. This information might include such things as respite night information and a new blog address- if a new blog comes about. If you want to know about those things, you can put your e-mail address in the box to the left and it will let you know when the site is updated.

I have been working away on a documentary about Eliot. It is coming along, but has a long way yet to go. The process is much better than the movie. Any project that allows me to get lost in photos and footage of my son is one I am happy about. I view it as a gift to Ginny and myself, which we will appreciate more with each day that passes. As of now it is a private project, but if, at a later time, we are inclined to share it, I will post the information.

We wish to thank each and everyone one of you who has visited here. Many of you have encouraged us through comments and even taken the time to send us cards; to those who responded when we asked for 2-month birthday cards for Eliot. Thank you. Thanks, even to the lurkers. We’re glad you came around.

Ginny and I were recently reminiscing how we looked forward to checking comments when Eliot was here. It was amazing to see folks flock to the site and check in on a boy that most of them had never actually met. He had that way with people. We quickly learned that this whole thing was beyond us. A story was unfolding and we got to take part.

Some of our favorite e-mails came from those who noted that they were not “religious” or told us how they “were not sure they fit in this group”; but they went on to tell how Eliot had taught them something or just brought a smile to their face. Some even elicited how they could not believe they were reading a blog that was written by a Christian living in the South. But all were drawn in some way to something.

Eugene Peterson says it this way:
“Everytime someone tells a story well, the gospel is served”

All we have done is tell a story. The story of our son. And, oh, what a story it is.

I have purposely made strides to downplay the God-card. This was simply because all I could do was get in the way with my feeble attempts. God was in the story. He did not need to be exposed.

If you have found yourself drawn to this story and not really knowing why, I humbly propose that my son is only a vehicle to proclaim a story greater than his own.

There is someone who loves you with a love larger than ours for Eliot. There is one who takes you with all of your flaws and delights in all that you are. He sings over you when you sleep and hems you in while awake. He destroys the worth-measures of man and pronounces you worthy. He is Jesus. He is the only way we have made it thus far and our only hope for tomorrow.

Thank you,

Matt & Ginny Mooney

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Trust in Hindsight

Ginny is done with travels and is busy with the beads. I am currently lost in an Evidence class and otherwise occupied with various projects. We’re planning on another post next Wednesday and then a goodbye post for Eliot’s 1 year birthday (July 20th). Another blog is being considered, and we’ll pass the site on if it happens.

As I think back on life one year to the day, I am at a loss. It all comes only in glimpses- flashes on a screen with no continuity. It takes effort to remember. And I hate that. Nonetheless, I remember vividly.

Eight days from birth- there were so many questions. Trisomy 18 renders an impossible task. One must welcome life and simultaneously prepare for goodbye in one motion. We battled to be hopeful, but not blind. We pleaded boldly with Him, but did so, on bended knees of submission.

Rarely, I am able to pull back from my typical view of circumstances. During these brief moments, I attempt to see the year past in wide angle- viewed in entirety, and outside of myself. It is such a view that has cemented a notion I held even before I had reason to do so.

Against all that may seem otherwise, today is purposeful. Life has no detours. Each zigzag culminates at an intended port.

The last year was a culmination of everything I have ever learned, witnessed or experienced. It’s as if I was unwittingly on a training schedule to be Eliot’s father. And, although, I would maintain that I still was not ready- not fully trained, some things are only learned in practice. Training can only get you so far.

Approaching thirty, and one year from law school graduation, I get the loathed, “what are you going to do?” quite a bit- and deservedly so. Well, here’s the unconventional truth. I have no idea. Pretty sure practicing law is not it. To be honest, I had no clue why I headed to law school when I did.

When we left Fort Worth three years ago, I pointed us to Nashville. Great town, but I could not get a job. I mean no job. I looked for jobs that I thought I would enjoy first, then I just looked for anyone who would hire me. No one. Not the library, not the steakhouse on the corner, not Starbuck’s.

I ended up folding sweaters at the Gap and apologizing to my wife that, “I had moved us to Nashville so we could work in the mall”. No slight on the mall jobs, but this is not why we had moved. Fort Worth had malls. I laugh now, but I cried then. I felt like a loser husband and I couldn’t even get the creases right when I folded jeans. So I applied to law school, got in, and went with it.

Needless to say, the decision to go back to school for something I was pretty sure I did not want to do, did not make for good conversation. Yes, my wife is one incredible woman.

And now I know.

I could not imagine the last year without the folks in Fayetteville. Because of preparation made in light of school, we had accounted for me not having an income. I was able to do take off from classes and devote my time to Eliot. I am so thankful for that. We were perfectly situated for the road ahead of us. So, now when people ask why I am in law school, I laugh- and typically tell them about my son.

It is too bad that trust cannot be measured after the fact.

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the lord’s purpose that prevails.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy Trails

We continue to wait on a location for the respite night. Against all within me, I have opted for a laid back approach. Trusting that something will open up if it is meant to be done.

Ginny has returned from the Big Apple, as has my smile. We are headed to Conway, Arkansas this weekend to marry off a good friend of mine. With this friend getting married, I feel compelled to warn all that the end of the earth might actually be approaching.

Ginny and I have decided that this blog will be coming to an end soon. Eliot was born on July 20th, and we think it a fitting date to wrap up a site dedicated to his life. We are not attempting to move on or anything like that; rather, we simply think the view from the window into our son’s life and our grief has revealed the panoroma. There will be more information coming on how to keep up with us if you want.

A question has been bumping around the recesses of my mind as of late.

What is the destination?

I have come to view mourning as a journey. Let me be the first to admit that sounds a little hokey, but come on, let it slide.

The pathway is littered with obstacles, each differing in degrees of difficulty. A recurring hurdle of hardness-of-heart here, a pothole labeled despair there. Unforeseen twists and turns are the norm; all the while, the lone desire of the traveler is to stop- to rest. However, it is quickly realized that pit stops are dangerous as well. For it is here that the strangers, with names such as Fear and Skepticism, attempt to become traveling companions.

There is an alternative to traveling the road of mourning that can sometimes seem appealing. The idea that I can stay here and not go down that road at all appears the better option. However, one comes to learn that the road is not actually optional. It must be walked. Attempting otherwise only delays the journey; and each day left unwalked increases the toll that is charged for passage.

And so I have walked the road. It is only recently that I have wondered where it leads. What is the goal? Where does it all end?
Does this road have a destination or is my status now permanently that of a nomad with no home- walking a treacherous road without end.

I have come to a settlement on this question of mine. Bad news first. The road of mourning does not end on this side of eternity. Ginny and I will not reach the end of our heartache. We will not arrive at “all better”. In truth, our loss is a permanent scar whose effects have only just begun.

But we do have a companion on this road who has traveled it himself. Who, alone, makes the road bearable.

And, although the journey does not end it does head toward something. There is due north. And the compass points to the love of Jesus Christ. The further traveled, the greater the understanding. Never attained, but closer still.

Thus, the river of grief flows to the same sea that all of life’s rivers flow towards. Even if one has never known pain, his is the same road as mine. All of life’s experiences- including Eliot- direct me to my home.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge
Ephesians 3

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
I Corinthians 13

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

sit, stay...good Matt

It is an overcast day in Fayetteville. Against my newfound quest to support local businesses, I have meandered to Starbuck’s. This is one of the ways I have opted to enjoy the week before class starts back.

Ginny loves rain. So it has been a good summer for her. She has been busy preparing for a show and readying for her world travels. Within the next couple of weeks Ginny will be heading to New York and Chicago. Although I am ecstatic for my metropolitan-hopping wife, it is tough to swallow the fact that our only trip together will be Conway, Arkansas. We are not often apart and I prefer it that way.

To her dismay, we have had nightly drills requiring her to recite what we will call the, “Big City Rules”. These include things I deem important knowledge for travels without the bodyguard that is me; they include such tidbits as a ban on any mode of transportation other than taxi after 8pm. I will be happy to provide the rest to anyone who will be traveling sans accompaniment from muscle-bound arm candy.

On the topic of our hoped-for respite night to help special needs families, we would appreciate some prayer if you are so inclined. We had hoped to host the Friday night event at our local church- Fellowship Bible. However, another great ministry presents a conflict that night and, thus, we are looking for a host. We have all taken the view, that if it is meant to happen, a location will open up.

The things I hate the most are the very things that I struggle against. As I survey the coffee house scene, I am reminded of a huge pet peeve of mine. Everyone is busy. These days, it seems vogue to be occupied. It appears that, somehow, my worth is connected to the pace of my life. The busier I am, the more significant I must be.

Other than avoiding conversation, it is nothing short of counter-culture to reply, “nothing” when asked what you have been doing that day. I often feel a twinge of guilt or shame come upon me when time is set aside for anything other than tasks.

However, something of worth that has developed through my grief journey with Eliot has been the freedom to steal away time for myself. I need to do nothing. Sit, think, maybe even pray. No tasks, no chores. Maybe minutes at a time, maybe more. This is something we allow for grief, but it should not be reserved only for the grieving. Despite the push of our lives and our society, we all need to sit still.

It is these times of reflection that have allowed me to see cracks of light that exist throughout my day. My time of reflection does not always seem productive. Many times it is a battle and is forced or even abandoned- a straightjacket would often be helpful. Nonetheless, I credit these times of nothing with helping me to get past the embossed surface of life.

Under the surface, I have found portals to the divine. Always present, but not always obvious. This is just like the God who chose to speak in parables. He longs to be sought. Evil assails us- in your face and difficult to deny. Beauty, with few exceptions, must be found.

When I am able to ruminate on things other then myself or my busy schedule, I see beauty peeking out behind it all. Thus, everyday becomes a little more beautiful. This time for nothing was not my idea. The Word reveals a Jesus who, in the midst of a pressing schedule, often pulls away from the crowd to be alone. This was a man who saw through a day’s happenings and perceived much more.

Be still, and know that I am God
Psalms 46:10

Gotta go. I’ve got lots to do!