Sunday, November 21, 2010

November 21: And on the Seventh Day...

One of the many beautiful sculptures in downtown Cleveland...


... even daddy rested!  LOL.

Man, the last two weeks really caught up with me pretty much as soon as Angelique picked me up from the  airport last night.  It was like I knew I had crossed the proverbial finish line, and my body finally got to let me know how tired it was.  Guess I had the mute button on!  LOL.

This guitar is 10 feet tall in the mall in downtown Cleveland...

Angelique was an angel today; she let me sleep in for as long as I wanted!  Well, I think it was 10:00 am when she sent in Ali to do her bidding and wake me up technically.  I must have slept 12 hours.  I am so grateful.  I really needed it.

Unfortunately the grief caught up with me today, too.  My heart hurt so much at one point today that it literally felt like heart burn.  At several points throughout the day, I would actually jerk from the pain... not unlike a shiver from the cold, or when you are slipping off to sleep.  It was like the pain was electrocuting my entire upper body.  It would start in my heart and shoot out through my arms, up my neck, and down into my hips.

Not fun.

I curled back up in bed with Ali to watch Toy Story after a little while downstairs eating and playing.  Ali also wanted to watch 101 Dalmations, and we started that one as well, but I finally managed to get back out of bed and drag myself into the shower about 2ish.

We went grocery shopping and stopped in Lowes for a couple of home improvement items.  Groceries were procured at Whole Foods, thanks to a generous gift card from 2 of my fellow board members from the regional music therapy association.  It was rough there.  When Bella was born, we went on a strict vegan, alkyline diet to try to cleanse Ang's breast milk of as much excess sugar as possible, since sugar is poison to the body, particularly to the skin.  We started shopping at this same Whole Foods, and hadn't been back in months.  It brought back a lot of sad feelings.  I don't know if I really knew how terrified I was for Bella after she was born at the time.  Now, looking back, I can honestly say that while I was courageous for her, I was also terrified.  I was so scared of EB.  It seemed like the most diabolical disease I had never heard of.  Now, when I go somewhere I used to go with Bella, the feelings of fear and terror pop up, and I am startled by how intense those feelings were, and still are.  I am really grateful to go through these experiences, because if I didn't do it now, those buried feelings would lie dormant, ready to pop up at the next available chance.  At least now I can meet them head on, face them, and process them, as painful as it may be.

They were just putting up their lights in the square yesterday morning...

I have to tell you about the latest revelation I had today.  I have been dwelling in "Happiness is a choice regardless of circumstances" for this past month, and it has been extremely helpful for me.  Well, I saw today that I was in a lot of pain, and that I was really crabby.  So, I looked at the two.. the pain and the crabbiness.  What I saw was that I told myself, "The pain makes me crabby."  Then it hit me.

I make me crabby.

I make me crabby, and blame it on the pain.

This was very profound, because in that moment, I stopped being crabby.  I still had the pain, but the pain was no longer a requisite for crabbiness.

If happiness is choice, regardless of circumstances, then so is crabbiness.  Two sides of the same coin.

I hadn't explored the other side of the coin till today, and found under investigation that if I truly believe that events don't cause outcomes, our response does, and that we can choose our response to any event life throws at us, then I am choosing to be crabby just as much as I am choosing to be happy.

Here's the kicker... I tell myself "it's understandable," and after all, who would argue?  It's reasonable, right?

I told my wife this revelation, and she basically looked at me like she was happy I finally figured it out.  Glad Ang is so patient with me.  See, Angelique already knew all this and practices this daily.  I TOLD YOU that she is the stronger of the two of us.  In fact, the entire reason I began exploring this distinction was that she is in the same pain I am, but she chooses not to be crabby, and in the presence of that level of mastery, I HAD to figure out why I was letting it work me over so much today.

Angelique inspires me to be the best version of myself I can be every day.  The best part?  She simply does it by example.  I have to upgrade my game just to keep up with her, without her ever asking me to.  Man, am I blessed or what?

Key point:  While I look closely at whether I am being "too hard on myself" or something to that effect, I find that the study of philosophy has always led me to knew levels of choice in my life.  As Socrates said, "the unexamined life is not worth living."  That is true for me, at least.  Many people live in blissful ignorance, and that is their option.  I am just too interested in seeing just how high a vibration I can get myself to within this lifetime.

New topic.

If you are at all like Ang and I, you have found great joy in doing more and more Christmas shopping online.  It is simply THE most efficient way to purchase items for the holidays.  Don't think any less about what gifts to get anyone, just spend less time trying to find them at the mall.  Save your gas, save your time, SAVE YOUR SANITY!  Shop online this year, and see just how easy it is.

If you choose to do this, please use as the portal to your holiday shopping.  Why?  You can pick PUCK as your charity of choice, and every time you purchase anything through that site, donates to PUCK!  PLUS, if you use it as your home page, PUCK can get $$ every time you log on and every time you click on something on the page!

This one is a no-brainer.  If you use the internet, you have a starting point... your home page.  You open your browser, it opens your homepage, and you then go off to wherever else you go.  Why not let PUCK earn a few cents every time you browse?  You do it anyway, might as well contribute a little along the way!

Remember, enough snowflakes cause an avalanche.

God night.


  1. Its hard for me to read about your hard days. I've always been the type to wish everyone's pain onto myself, because I don't like watching people I care for hurting. At the same time, I know this has to happen, for you and your family, part of the process I guess.
    I'm thankful you Are posting the older pics of sweet Bella. I have to admit, I shared my story of the conversatiion Ali and I had in the bathroom at dinner tonight, and completely teared up . I'm so happy you can cuddle her up ;)

  2. I love the picture of Bella at the end of today's post - SO cute! Thinking of you and your family. Thank you for continuing to share your journey with us. I am learning so much from your insights as you navigate this painful road. God bless!

  3. Wow! That is SO cool!! Definitely a no brainer....ok...I'm going to change my homepage just as soon as post my comment!
    Always praying for you & your precious family. God see's your heart and I know he is happy with what HE sees! You are so very sincere and try to give a positive spin to every avenue you are guided to.
    My grandmother lost her son in 1976, he was 21yrs old and they just found out they were migrating to the US the following year- he never made it here :( Like my grandmother says, "Time didn't heal her broken will always hurt for him....only as time went on, the days of greiving grew further apart." She says that knowing his soul is forever in eternity with God, brings peace to her heart. Our life on earth is a blink of an eye, in comparison to eternity. We all miss Bella SO SO much....but I am so grateful that she will forever be in Heaven....forever...and in a blink of an eye...we will be there too.
    with all our love always,
    nicole & family

  4. What a great picture of Bella's beautiful smile. I'm so sorry today was such a hard day for you. The grief comes in waves and at least you are able to recognize that. I am amazed at you and Ang's ability to be happy thru these hard times. Bella inspired me everyday to be a better person, and now both you and Ang inspire me to be a better stronger person everyday. Thank you for that.

    Lots of Love,
    Amber, Craig, Malorie(2 1/2), and Liam(10mos.)
    The McLaughlin Family
    Moreno Valley, CA

  5. Thanks for your constant updates and honesty most people would choose not to open up as much as you are but, what a blessing to us blog readers because we get to learn from you and your wife's wonderful example. I love that Ang doesn't make you feel bad about your shortcomings but supports you all the more what a true example to me. I am now going to strive to be more like her and you, it makes life so much happier. Thanks for being so open and honest and for sharing your story, you are so spectacular. Keep up the good work!

  6. Glad you got some rest, finally. Thinking of you always.

  7. I just wanted to say I have been following your journey and read your blog every morning while my 2 year old is eating breakfast. This usually leaves me no time to comment as I am a slow reader and get distracted by the eating! Thank you for sharing. You have said so many things that really make me stop and think. Please know that I continue to keep your family in my prayers.

  8. Tim and Ang...

    You both are amazing! Your revelations are so helpful to me. I'm trying to put them to practice in my own life, and I've been able to see a change in the way I feel and the way people feel around me! Thanks for sharing. The Ringgold family is still changing lives!

    I'm happy that you got some rest from your eventful trip, Tim, and I'm sorry that yesterday was such a hard day for you. I'm praying...

    I'm also happy that I can add a snowflake to the avalanche by simply making this website my homepage. Consider it done, Ringgold's! If I need to do any online shopping this year, it will also be from this site! Thanks for sharing!

    As I say everyday, Bella is gorgeous! Her picture at the bottom of the post start my day off with a smile (I read every morning). I am blessed by knowing your beauty!

    Megan from WV

  9. Melting from Bella's pic today! she is soooo cute! Love that girl. Glad you took some time to rest...I bet it felt good. Happy you made it home safely and that your session was a success! We are so proud of you, always. Can't wait to see you guys again soon.
    Continued peace and strength coming your way!
    Love always and forever,
    The Vanderbooms

  10. I am prejudice but you are blessed to have a wife like Angelique. She is an amazing strong woman and you are lucky to have her in your life.

    Grandma Carolyn

  11. I haven't commented in awhile because I honestly do not know what to say, but I'm breaking the silence!

    Thank you for being such an inspiration with amazing words to remind me that attitude is everything. In your time of grief you perpetually amaze me with your (and Ang & Ali's) attitudes. My prayers continue to be with your awesome family!

    Katie & Family
    Martinsburg, WV

  12. Hi Tim,

    I'm so glad you were able to get some rest today. I'm with you, sleeping in and hanging out with my family is just about the best way I can think of to recharge.

    Thanks for the heads-up on the igive website. How easy! I try to do as much shopping online as possible. I'm not sure how I ever survived the old-fashioned way of shopping...oh yeah, I didn't have a husband or kids. I actually had time on my hands! Ha! I wouldn't change a thing anyway.

    For those who are unsure of how to make your homepage, go to Control Panel, then Internet Options. Then make sure you're on the General tab and type in in the Homepage text box. Click on Apply in the bottom right-hand corner, and click Okay. That's it.

    I sure love seeing that little light shining at the end of your post. Man, that girl has the best smile!

    Well, I'm off to check out my new homepage!
    Be well, sweet family!

    Elk Grove, CA

  13. Look at that sweet sweet Bella face! I'm so glad you keep posting her pictures. Not like any of us would ever forget her, but she makes us all smile every time we see her!

    Great idea on the online shopping - I'll be ALL over that one (shopping with the Team can be adventurous!)

    My prayers are still with you, Ang and Ali - hugs to all of you!

    Love from TX,
    Laura (for Team A)

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  15. You are very blessed. It hit me as I was reading before you even mentioned it. You have been blessed with 3 of the most amazing ladies. Angelique has always amazed me. The strength she has blows me away. Ali is a "rock" in her own way. She is a very special little girl. Bella...are words necessary? The lives she touched and continues to touch. Who would have thought a little girl could have such a huge impact? Yes you are so very blessed.

    I loved seeing that you got some Ali time. :)

    One more way to create an avalanche is GoodSearch. When you use them to search instead of Google they pay your charity. If you get 10,000 people to use them for searching they estimate the charity will get $73,000 a year (all based on the number of searches). How is that for snowflakes? :) PUCK is not a listed charity. Sending you a facebook message on keep an eye out. :)

    As always, sending my love to all and kisses to Ali.

    Denise Wi

  16. Love this pic of Bella...miss that beautiful smile that used to greet me at days end at Grandma Joannie's... miss seeing the cow print car seat too! Thinking of you all, sending you love & peace.

  17. Every picture of Bella I see becomes my new favorite. Thank you for sharing that precious face with us. She always makes me smile.

    Blessings to you all!

    A friend in NC

  18. I haven't posted in a while...but I am still reading daily, sometimes a few paragraphs at a time, in little cracks of time. I am always uplifted by your posts, and I thought for a long time about your words on time and grief. I will turn 50 this year, and I don't think I have grieved appropriately for anyone or anything I have lost in my life...ever. always thinking that it would just take more time. When I lost my father suddenly 5 years ago, I was devastated. I had barely known him my entire life, as he and my mom were divorced when I was only two. He was mostly invisible while I was growing up, and in fact I used to pretend that he was dead. It seemed easier than accepting that he just didn't care enough to make any effort to remain in my life. We reconnected later in life, and when I relocated to WV 8 years ago, our relationship grew into that of a loving father and daughter. We had three years to get to know each other before he was gone again. And I still miss him very much, especially this time of year, which is a favorite for both of us.

    I so look forward to the beautiful pictures of Bella each day, but they are not without a price for me. Without the happy memories to go with them, I just feel the pain of her loss all over again. I am an intovert by nature, and Bella was able to pull me all the way out of my shell. She made me want to be a better person, and I forgot my fear of connecting. Now I feel myself wanting to retreat again, but I keep reading, and you keep me from being able to go completely back into the emotional abyss. I have to thank you again for continuing to share your story, no matter how difficult, and for being honest about your feelings. In spite of people like me who do not "give back" nearly as often as I should. I'll work on that, and maybe someday I will be courageous enough to be as open as you are. Sorry for taking up so much space... Blessings to you all, as always!

  19. Hi Tim,
    You are not too hard on yourself. You are growing and evolving as you go through a journey. It's obvious you are trying to be the best person you can be for yourself and others around. So few people admit to their revelations or struggles or challenges. You confront them when it's your time to notice them. It's WORK to constantly try to improve and be real with yourself.

    Getting enough sleep and's important. Stay well.
    Blessings to you and your ladies,
    Kim from CA