Friday, April 27, 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dear Ginny,

Thanks so much for the overwhelming response to our request for feedback. It is so encouraging to hear what Eliot's story has meant.

Law school finals have hit, so the blog, and pretty much life, has been neglected.

The following is a letter I wrote for Ginny. Our anniversary is April 28th. She made me promise not to do anything for it & then went & surprised me with my dream computer. Therefore, the following was my gift to her.

Dear Ginny,

This Saturday marks 6 years of our marriage. Prior to this year, I was sure I knew you and more sure that I loved you.

As I think back upon our celebration of five years of marriage, there was so much excitement. We were expecting our first baby. Truly, our wildest imaginations could not contain a glimpse of the year about to come. Our questions centered more around was it a boy or a girl than on anything relating to health.

Although you insisted on not knowing if it was a boy or a girl, we did find out that our child was sick. “Trisomy 18” went from a couple of strange words, to your most studied topic. The forthcoming information was not good. Thus, we were forced into a new world where hurt came easy and any sentiment of control was completely gone.

It was at this moment that I was proved wrong. Because it was here, that I saw facets of you never before revealed. Reservoirs of courage were tapped within you that I never knew existed. And I watched in awe, as you fought to celebrate whatever you were given from the hand of God. Watching you encouraged me to take up arms and fight beside you.

He was a boy! And you were his mother. Yet again, I was proven wrong because seeing you mother Eliot, my definition of love changed. I never had been a witness to that which I saw. You loved him well.

Then, when he left, we, too were left- here, without him. And we struggled. The emotions, the heartache- we both just wanted him back. Despite wanting nothing more than to encourage each other, we were left often doing just the opposite. And you fought.

Thank you for being my wife. Thank you for being the clearest picture of Christ on this side of eternity.

On our fifth anniversary, I wrote you a song. Despite the fact that me doing something musical, is similar to Dick Cheney break dancing, I wrote something that I reiterate today:

...where this story goes from here, I wish I knew.
But I’ll smile & travel on if I’m with you.

This says it all. It’s better together.

Happy 6th anniversary.



Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Treasuring Today

We want to propose an idea that we have mulled over. We are asking you (yes…you) to consider e-mailing us what Eliot’s life, or a similar occurrence, has taught you. You may be a longtime friend, a new friend through this blog, or someone we have never met…whatever the case, please consider taking the time and effort to write out what you have learned. It can be a sentence, paragraph, or book-length. You need not be eloquent, just honest. You could also repeat or expound on a post or note you already sent us. E-mail your words to We may even post some of the responses.

Ginny was able to have a jewelry show last week in my hometown of Fort Smith, Arkansas. The weather was terrible, but the show was good. She also has a show in the works for St. Louis soon. I am gearing up for law school finals. OK, I am dreading law school finals.

We recently have had the honor of getting to “e-meet” some families who have walked a similar road. We are always glad to hear the stories of others and love to talk to anyone who might need a resource.

We have sent out some questionnaires to groups conducting respite nights, and are looking at setting the date for our first one.

I, like you I am sure, have been following the tragedy at Blacksburg. The events have left me somewhat hesitant to write about my own life and struggles. Knowing I cannot imagine the hurts of another, I am left to do that which is all I can do…tell my story. But I do so with a heavy heart. Knowing my pain is only a drop in the ocean. I continue to relay the story of the drop that is my own.

This week Ginny and I continued some work on cleaning out Eliot’s room. We have worked at a turtle’s pace over time, doing some small things when we felt like it. As of late some big changes to his room have occurred. Ginny recently took down his crib and we both worked over the weekend on re-arranging some things. This nightmare exercise is something a parent should not have to do until their child is going to college. However, it was a joy to be immersed in a room that serves as a memorial of sorts to all that was Eliot: chicken socks, Alabama hat (too big), red converse (way too big), and stacks of animal-printed premi-outfits.

Ginny recently relayed the following truth with which she has been grappling.

As many of you already are aware, during Eliot’s life we celebrated each day with a birthday party. Rejoicing over each day was so easy while he was here. Psalm 139:16 has never been more true or evident than a day with Eliot.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

The truth of this verse came alive in our son. Each second, minute and hour was not supposed to occur. But the Father had determined otherwise. Eliot’s life was ordained. Such proposition is digested with ease, going down smoothly.

But now comes the coughing and choking that is the aftermath. Because, just as within Eliot’s sweet life, if I believe that lesson, I must acknowledge that today is ordained as well. The days with tears, even the days spent sifting through his room. All days, ordained.

Today is worth treasuring. In essence, today is my birthday, worthy of celebration. Because all days are prescribed for me by God.

This truth, while not fully grasped, has provided new perspective.

Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Here kitty, kitty.

It has been fun to continue receiving feedback for “99 balloons”. Thanks for all of the encouragement and prayers. We are also thankful that we have been able to interact with some families going through similar experiences.

In the non-profit arena, we are currently assembling folks who want to be involved. A questionnaire directed to groups who are already conducting respite nights is in the works and should be sent out soon. If you know of a group already doing something similar, please let us know so we can send them our questions (

With all of the compliments and praise that we have received as of late, a counterbalance of vulnerability is necessary. If anything through Eliot’s story is super-human, I assure you, it is not his parents. Doubt, worry, anger- these are all too familiar; and this is where we are, when left to ourselves. But, our Father, refuses to leave us to ourselves, and comes on the scene to make all things new. More than ever, we are aware of our shortcomings; therefore, when told repeatedly otherwise, we must interject or else be hypocrites.

When faced with real struggles, I admit my desire to paste on a smile and quote a bumper sticker about my big God. Somewhere in my years of church-going, Christian school attending, and just plain watching, I picked up that this how we do it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not placing blame. For this is exactly what I wanted to do when tough times came my way. Repeating this routine comes easy, naturally- like sucking in my gut as soon as I put on my bathing suite.

When trials and adversity come knocking, my propensity urges me to see what lurks outside my door and call it a kitten. Nothing can faze me. I belittle that which looms. I make it small, tame, and manageable. Simultaneously, whittling God’s size relative to that of my foe. That thing outside my door is nothing more than a kitten. There is no real problem. So, I ignore the visitor and go on about my business.

Framing it as faith, I proudly look a lion in the eyes and call it a kitten. I look down on others who are not able to do the same. Pacifying myself with whatever I can. I am too busy to answer the door. All is well.

This routine works quite nicely until, well, until it does not work at all.

When the unwanted visitor of affliction is too big, too much, and is overcoming you. When all you can quote is a different kind of bumper sticker (**** happens). When incurable is the diagnosis.

This is when the default failed me.

When a lion is at the door. There is no use denying it.

Thus, I have been witness to a strange paradox of faith. When I acknowledge that, yeah, I’m an appetizer if that beast comes calling. That, indeed, this is too much for me. When I embrace the difficulty and call it such. Then greater glory is the result.

Conceding that the situation is too big for me, acknowledges also that I need a big God. The road to strength starts at fragility. A god that cannot deal with my lions is no God at all.

when I am weak, then I am strong.
II Cor 12:10

the flower

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Big Ginny. Big God.

Thanks for all of the feedback on the movie. It makes us smile when the circle of folks who have come to love this great kid expands. Eliot’s is a powerful story- showing many different listeners many different things. We are continuously reminded that we have been a part of something much greater than ourselves.

I have just recently realized something about myself. If you have yet to notice or are new to the blog, let this be your warning:
I have about 3 themes and I keep coming back to them.
Actually, because I write about what I am learning, I think this repeating might be indicative of my hard head. The Lord just won’t just move on with the lesson plan it seems. Oh well, just letting you know.

I picked up Ginny’s Bible recently. I am not sure why, but it would be safe to bet it had something to do with her having it with her wherever we were and me forgetting mine. I sure do like marriage at times like that. Anyway, I did what all of us Bible-thumpers hate to admit we do…I let it lead me. Allowing the pages to fall open- a Bible study method very similar to pin the tail on the donkey. A theologian I am not.

And there it was- a sorry excuse of a flower. Pressed flat and devoid of life or beauty. However, it instantly brought a smile. Here’s the history of that flower.

Ginny and I had decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. A very short walk. Ginny was 31-weeks pregnant, closing in on Shamu, and a short walk was Everest. I don’t remember a particular reason for our walk, but I do know we were spending a lot of time together. We had recently found out that our baby boy or girl had Trisomy 18. So we walked.

It was on our walk that the flower found us. Albeit, through the strangest of deliverymen. Looking up from our walk, I saw him. I am sure I rolled my eyes or cracked a smile or something to that effect. He was the best that Fayetteville, Arkansas has to offer. A real, live hippy. He was 6’2”, all of 130 lbs, and shirtless. He wore a genuine, but goofy smile that complimented his Lennon-esque glasses. His dog stayed perfectly at his side with no leash. And he was dirty. You gotta love Fayetteville.

Our walk’s discussion had been a bit on the heavier side, and I admit a little hesitation when he strode up to us…not now. He struck up some polite conversation and we obliged. Apparently gifted with insight, he pointed out Ginny’s belly. At this moment, my blood pressure went up a little, just hoping against hope that, for my wife’s sake, he did not say the wrong thing.

But he didn’t. He told us he had a child of his own that was twenty-five. Then he looked at the both of us and said:
Treasure every minute. It’s gone by so fast. My advice to you is to treasure every minute you have.

He then handed Ginny a small, wildflower from the stash of such in his hat. The flower has stayed with us, as have his timely words. The flower now marks Psalm 71, another great reminder.

A dirty guy. A dead flower. An amazing God.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Movie

We have returned from our Dallas trip. We had a great time with friends and got to go to a release party for "99 balloons".

For those of you who want to see the movie, it is available for viewing and purchase at ignitermedia. It is a movie, so you will want to watch it somewhere that has a faster internet connection. Once you go to the site, click on "igniter videos". Look for Eliot's feet- the video is entitled "99 balloons". You can also e-mail me ( and I will send you a dvd. I should have those in hand soon after Easter.

For those of you who have watched the movie, and desire to learn more about Eliot, we are glad you're here. I would recommend going back in the archives located on the left-side of the screen.

We are extremely pleased with the video and are grateful for any medium by which to tell the story of quite a kid.

Matt & Ginny Mooney