Tag Archives: Personal

Happy Birthday, Mattie Sam

Four years ago today I had one of those milestone birthdays generally celebrated in a big way, making big memories. I don’t remember what presents I got, or what my birthday dinner was. I only remember one thing: the phone call saying Matthias Samuel was about to enter the world. I spent the rest of the day checking my phone every five minutes to see if he had arrived. Much to my disappointment, he waited two hours past midnight to make his appearance, but I decided to claim him as my birthday buddy anyway.

Mattie was born with Down syndrome, which we knew he would be, but he also had a heart condition, as well as some other physical complications. He got an infection when he was four days old which almost took his life, and that was just the beginning. We almost lost him so many times during his first year that I lost track. Through it all, Mattie was busy being Mattie. This boy had a smile that melted the hardest of hearts. You know at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas when the Grinch’s heart grew three times its size? That’s what Mattie did for us. Two months ago, on August 21, 2014, Mattie Sam met Jesus face to face. It was sudden, and it was a shock. We are still reeling from it, in fact.

There are those who say Mattie should not have been born because he was sick. Did he suffer? Yes. But guess what? He also loved. He loved and was loved. He had joy, he gave joy. He learned, he teased, he grew, he inspired. Through social media thousands saw the pictures Mattie’s mom posted of him daily and grew to love him. I’ve heard many people say when they had a bad day they’d log on to Facebook just to look through pictures of Mattie until they felt better. That was our little Miracle Mattie. Through it all, he was a trooper.

His parents are also troopers. Life with Mattie was hard: really hard. But if you ask them they will say that yes, it was worth it. Yes, if they had to choose, they would choose to do it all again, a million times over. His siblings, ranging from the age of 7 to 23 also say it was worth it. HE was worth it. Yes, life with Mattie was hard, but life with Mattie was also beautiful.

We all wish we had more time with Mattie, but we are grateful for the time we did have. Just like Mattie, we learned, we loved, we grew. We’ll see him again someday when it’s our turn to meet Jesus face to face. Until then, we remember, and we celebrate. Happy birthday, Mattie Sam!


(The above photo is Mattie at the age of two. His mom wrote a beautiful book explaining tracheotomies to help the many children who were following Mattie’s life understand what that thing on his neck was. The book has been used to inform and prepare many families across the country)


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SnowShow Update

If you read my recent post on the experience of seeing “Slava’s SnowShow” on Broadway, you may be interested in an update. As you recall, I referred to the experience as “way too much fun”. Well, it seems I could also refer to it as “the show that keeps on giving”.

We saw the show on a Sunday evening. The next Saturday morning found us in the Philadelphia airport, on our way to Kansas City to help Adam celebrate his 21st birthday. As preparation for going through the security checkpoint, Brian put his keys, wallet, and all those other pocket essentials a guy carries, into a jacket pocket. The jacket took the radioactive ride through the scanner, and we retrieved our belongings. As we were putting ourselves back together, Brian pulled his wallet out of a jacket pocket to replace it to its rightful place in a pant pocket, and the wallet wasn’t the only thing that came out! Continue reading

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Filed under Family, Just for Fun, Personal

More Reasons to Love IHOP

We just got back from Kansas City, and I must admit I am even more in love with the IHOP community than ever before. Here are the new reasons I found:

  1. You gotta love a community where total strangers come up to you to say how awesome your kids are.
  2. You gotta love a community that embraces adopting orphans the way the rest of the country embraces buying your own kids a Wii.
  3. You gotta love a community where the adults are full of child-like enthusiasm and the kids are full of adult-like wisdom.
  4. You gotta love a community that doesn’t shrink from Scripture, even when the message doesn’t fit with our feel-good, politically-correct-until-you-die way of thinking.
  5. You gotta love a community that includes a coffee shop that sells breakfast in the morning, and then again in the afternoon for people who aren’t morning people.
  6. You gotta love a community that teaches people to aim at “excellence”, while encouraging them to “press delete” and try again when they fail.
  7. You gotta love a community where a short walk down the hallway, at any time of the day or night, will allow you to overhear bits and pieces of conversation like, “Well, I always thought the pre-trib theory had a lot of validity, but I was reading in ‘Daniel’ and…”

What is there to say but, “Gotta love it!”


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Fall is Here

Well, it’s that time of year again; time when days are shorter, weather is cooler (praise God!), and leaves turn. Leaves turn, and then they fall. And fall. And fall. Can you guess what I did this week? I’ll give you a photographic hint:

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Filed under My Achievements, Personal, Photography, Random Ramblings

Lord of the Dance

It’s that time of year again; the season when the annual Christmas dinner is looming on the horizon. Each year we join the rest of the staff of Brian’s company for a formal dinner, after which a band takes to the stage and the party begins, with all his co-workers taking to the dance floor while we watch from the sidelines, then slink away under the cover of darkness. Well, not this year! This year, we wanted things to be different, so we decided to take ballroom dancing classes. Yep, that’s right. The Beatties are dancing. Well, at least we’re trying. So far we mostly step on each other!

This isn’t our first attempt at dancing. Continue reading


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How I Know I Don’t Really Get the Sermon on the Mount

I try to live out the Sermon on the Mount. I really do! I try to put the needs of others above my own; to have grace with others and their failings and/or quirks. I have a long way to go, though. I proved this to myself just recently. I took part in a contest-type thing, where part of the process is to watch the scoring take place. Now, it’s normal to not necessarily agree with the decsions of the judges, but I went above and beyond. As I was participating, the blog entry I would write about the event was forming in my head. It didn’t take long to realize this was a blog entry that would never be posted, primarily because it wasn’t very kind in its tone or attitude. Below is a revised version of the offending post. I removed any unkind phrases or words, replacing them with my favorite word for bad attitude, “snark”. If you’re brave enough, read on…

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Lessons from the Laundry Room

I wish there was a way to more adequately imply intonation to the written word. Looking at the title I just wrote, it looks like it should read like “Helpful Hints from Heloise”. In reality, it should read more like “It Came from Beyond”  (cue spooky music). You see, this weekend I painted my laundry room. During the two-day adventure, I learned many things, which I will now share with you, my faithful readers.

First, let me say I love my laundry room. This is my first actual, real, live laundry room. Every house we had before had laundry closets, which is not at all the same thing! The fact that the walls are textured like stucco and haven’t been painted in at least 30 years has dampened my enthusiasm for the room only slightly.

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Filed under My Achievements, Personal, Quirky Things..., Random Ramblings