In a Romanian city,
baby Anastasia was born. An ocean away in a tree-shrouded Washington town, beautiful Dana
cradled newborn Aria. Amazing joy comes to families as they welcome a child. Aria
and Anastasia looked adorable wearing darling bows and the cutest outfits. Dressing up baby girls is something special no matter what part of the world
you live in.
Yet, within months both girls
were diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), an incurable, terminal
disease. While it would be easy to spiral into despair, Aria’s family bonded
even closer, friends surrounded them, and they purposed to make treasured
memories. When Dana reached out to
other SMA families she met Dani, Anastasia’s mother.
As the disease affecting
their precious daughters became more real, they encouraged one another through terribly
frightening days. Thousands of miles of separation didn’t matter as they
emailed photos and video clips. They shared highlights from the events they
created for the very short time they’d…
Our farm was a 30-minute drive to the city, so one day when I ran out of oatmeal, I drove to our nearby country store. I walked in carrying my baby, and went to the cereal aisle. I heard the bells jingle on the front door as someone else entered. Voices carried quite well in the little store, and I heard the owner greet the customer. They began a conversation I’ve never forgotten. After a few pleasantries, the customer declared: “You wouldn’t believe what those trailer people are doing now.”
The way she said it sounded like they’d discussed the “trailer people” before. “They brought in a heap of broken concrete—piled it next to their dilapidated shed.”
The concrete got my attention. Needing extra money, we’d removed a concrete driveway for someone. It had been a horrendous job. Instead of throwing away the pieces, we thought we’d re-use it for a cobblestone pathway. Okay, maybe it sounded better than it would eventually look. But right then it was in a huge pile—next to our small shed. “I…
Several years ago, I read
about Betsy Schultz in the local newspaper. Her son, Captain Joseph Schultz,
died on Memorial Day 2011—killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Even before
Joseph’s burial in Arlington Cemetery, Betsy began working on an idea to
convert her large Tudor-styled bed and breakfast into a respite home for
grieving Gold Star families. Losing her only child left her with unimaginable
sorrow, but not without purpose. To meet Betsy is to be
introduced to inspiration. Even though her son made the ultimate sacrifice for
his country, as a Gold Star Mom, Betsy now dedicates her life comforting other
Gold Star families.
Over the past few years I’ve watched hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donated dollars come in to renovate this century-old home. Many of the volunteers are war veterans themselves. Fundraising efforts stretch across our country—just as the loss for Gold Star Families does.
Betsy’s heart knows the
deepest of pains. But after spending just a few minutes…