Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22: Back in our offices...


Well, it is back to the grindstone in Ang's and my offices today.  Ali is off to daycare again.  She has reconnected with daycare.  At first, she said she was bored, but she and her boyfriend Conner have reignited their old flame (sorry MN boys) for each other and all is good at Joanie's now.

I don't mind being back in my office.  I designed it myself, so I really like working in its space.  Today, I spent most of the day on the computer developing relationships over social media, scheduling calls, sending out emails, and trying to build my coaching business.  I coach and consult for other music therapists and non-music therapists alike, and it brings me great joy.  I am looking to expand my client base right now due to the fact that I just simply can't jump back into providing direct music therapy too much right now.

At conference, there was an awesome book on medical music therapy in the hospital setting (right up my alley!).  I opened it, and hit a page on chemotherapy.  It had a gigantic box filled with side effects and complications from chemo.  I saw the word MUCOSITIS and I shuddered.  Bella's airway swelled shut due to mucositis.  I didn't realize just how raw the whole thing still is.

Anyhow, one of the reasons I lead free workshops at conference is to attract young music therapists who are keen on optimizing their learning curve.  However, I have begun taking on others in more of a life coach model as well.  Again, getting to work with someone to get them in touch with their best self is soooo rewarding.  I really need some new clients to help resume some income making, so I am asking God and the universe to SEND THEM IN!  :)

New piece of rough hit tonight.  I realized I haven't participated in Ali's bedtime routine since we've come home.  Why?  Her bedroom used to be Bella's as well, and every time I walk in her room, I get overwhelmed.  I didn't notice till today.  I ran upstairs with ALi to play after her bath, and when we ran into her room, it hit me across the head so hard, the room began to spin on me.  I immediately sat down, and hunkered down through the pain, but it was rough.  I also felt bad as a dad because I have completely avoided their room, and in doing so, I'm avoiding Ali.  That's a drag for her, but I just can't go in that room right now.  It is too much for me.

I wish I was as strong as Angelique.

Okay, okay, enough with the pity party.  What else... hmmm.... oh yeah, in case you haven't noticed, I changed the name of the blog to Bella's Blessings.  It seems more appropriate at this point.

Tomorrow, I meet with UC Irvine Medical Center to strategize about funding for the new year for our fledgling music therapy program there.  Please say a prayer that God presents a pathway toward funding the program in the new year as we currently run out of funds Jan. 1.

Okay, sorry this wasn't the most chipper post ever.  I am really fatigued and I am struggling to enact yesterday's revelation.  Easier said than done!

Thank you for staying with us.  We rely on your prayers, thoughts, and comments.  Thank you.

God night.


  1. It's good to hear that Ali and her boyfriend are reconnected!! Now it'll be easier for her go to daycare everyday. I'm glad you and Ang are both back to your offices and working.

    I'm sorry you are having a rough time going into Ali's room. I'll include in my prayers that it may begin to get easier for you both to do things that remind you of Bella. Your family are always in my prayers.

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

  2. Oh by the way...Bella is gorgeous in this picture!! I love, love, love, those eyes!!!

  3. I am so sorry to hear it is tough for you! That whole thing with going into their room must be very hard. Could you maybe move Ali's bedtime routines to another place, like your bedroom, and then put her to bed in her room? I often read to my kids in my bed and then, after reading, talking and singing just tuck them in in their own beds. Would that make it easier? And I am sure you could explain why to Ali and by explaining to her that you want to find a solution to the problem so that you can be a part of her bedtime routines it would be every clear to her how important she is to you (I'm sure she already knows that but in the situation you are all in I guess you can't show it too much). I'm not trying to say that you should avoid every difficult situation that arises but man, you also have to be gentle on yourself. You are bravely dealing with your grief 24-7 so if there is any way to make things easier just do it. And it might be important for Ali too! I'm with you all in my heart.

    Alexandra in Australia

  4. YAY for a coaching business! YAY for life coaching! You are awesome!

  5. Tim, I love continuing to read about your journey as you return to "normalcy" (whatever that means, ha!) and face the incredible pain you must be feeling at times. I'm still praying for you, Angelique and Ali. Loved seeing you at conference - it felt really good to say face-to-face what I've written online :)

    Love to all!
    Houston, TX

  6. Positive thoughts and many prayers coming your way!

  7. I am having my 3rd trimester sugar tests this morning. I'll pray for you as I wait for the magic sugar syryp to invade my veins and make me sleepy while I read wrinkled, 2 month old magazines.
    I truly do hope that y'all have as pleasant a week as possible.
    All the best.
    A momma in Spring, TX, Lauren

  8. Hey Rinnggolds!

    Come back to Minnesota! I still read every day, and so do a lot of people that I have shared Bella's story with, I might add!

    We have been busy up here in MN (school mostly). We had a HUGE ice storm on Saturday night and now we have beautiful fresh snow to cover it... a little scary out on the roads, but pretty! I have been taking your advice on the traffic. It took me a LONG time to get to the U yesterday, but I just took the time to talk on the phone and think to myself and I enjoyed it :). I refuse to let it bother me.

    Corynn is almost crawling. She has had a rough week herself, she had an allergic reaction to amoxicillin and has a rash on her ENTIRE body. (I wrote about it on my blog). Its better today, thank GOD. She is actually going on her 12th hour of sleep right now as I write this, she is exhausted!

    We miss you guys! Are you still coming up in February? If so we really want to see you all so hopefully we can make it work out! Maybe we can watch Ali while you guys go out or something???

    Have a great thanksgiving. MUCH LOVE
    And of course, sweet Bella.

    Love Amanda Schauer

  9. Hey Bud
    xoxoooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOO :)

  10. Tim,
    The fact that you get up and "Keep Moving" everyday is a testiment to your strength! I too wish I could be as strong as Ang and you are in most of my life's situations - so know threw good and bad days we are all praying and thinking about you at my house here in NJ.

    I love the picture of Bella. Give Ali a big hug and ease back into the bedtime routine as you can - she will understand. maybe it's time for a NEW bedtime routine.


  11. Dear Tim,

    Still here, reading you and praying for you guys. I can only imagine how hard is to enter into Ali and Bella's room. But this too shall pass. Stay strong!

    Many blessings,
    Carla, from Portugal

  12. heaveno!

    you are being strong for are there playing with her, loving her, etc. give yourself a break!! it will take a while, but you will develop a new, wonderful nighttime routine that will be just as special for ali!

    loving the name of the blog. sweet bella does continue to be a blessing!

    lifting y'all up in prayer! i'll never forget meeting your beautiful family!

    god bless y'all!
    w-s, nc

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  14. Tim - you say you aren't as strong as Angelique, and maybe you aren't (I guess I'm not the one to say), but I do know you aren't giving yourself enough credit.

    I have four kids. Emily is at the U of M, Rachel is in 3rd grade, Sam is in Kindergarten (my autism blessing) and Ben is 2 1/2 year old. Of all my kids I have NEVER had to experience a hospitalization. Well yesterday Ben (my 2 year old) gave us a scare and my doctor was "this close" to admitting him.

    Ben has always struggled with respiratory junk, but this time was different. We were doing the nebs at home like we always have done but it just kept getting worse. I ended up going to the clinic to our appt early because Ben was REALLY was struggling to just breath. I have never been so scared as a mom. They gave him a steroid shot, went home and started doing nebs every hour (normally every four hours) and long story short we went back to the doctor later in the afternoon and we were able to stay treating him at home and not be admitted.

    The point of the story is this, you think you aren't strong. Well in that point of "maybe being admitted" I was scared. I was scared that my boy couldn't breath and it made me want to scream. This is NOTHING like how you cared for Bella for all those months. So, you ARE strong!

    Angelique - I hope your going back to work status is going all right for you. Full time working moms amaze me their strength. How you do both jobs, a mommy and a corporate employee, is beyond me. I have my hands full time just being the mommy!

    Ali - I'm glad you and Connor worked things out in your relationship and are back on track to happiness!

    Well that's my morning sermon for you!

    God Bless and have a Happy Thanksgiving week!

    St. Peter, MN

  15. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. As you live through the grief, may you find moments of blessings as God envelops you with hugs and love. You are stronger than you realize. But, in your moments of weakness rely on the strength of others to carry you. Thank you for continuing to share your story.

    Nancy in Ohio

    PS - Glad you enjoyed Cleveland. I live about an hour south and I love to make expeditions there for some of it's often overlooked gems.

  16. Lurker here. One night while bored on facebook, I was perusing people/photos randomly and immediately noticed a picture in a "friends" photo album (she is a photographer and I was just looking at some of her shots). It was a picture of a young mother/dad and a baby. It was immediately (shocking) noticeable because the baby had wounds on his face. I was stunned and curious. I clicked on the name of the link of the (mom's) tagged name which brought me to her facebook page, which then led me to her blog, which had a link to your blog. So there, I arrived. I was the week prior to Bella's passing. I stayed up until 1:30am, knowing it against better judgement with two small kids to wrangle in the morning, but could not stop reading. I went way back...all the way back to the beginning of the blog and read it all. Well, OK, I scanned some, but I got the whole story. You, Angelique, precious Ali, and sweet sweet Bella. My heart was torn as I watched Bella decline, I cried as she was intubated. Anyway, I check this blog daily and am encouraged by your honestly, openness, and vision. I had never heard of EB, never seen a child with EB. Now I feel educated. I know how to approach someone with a baby/child that has EB (approach normally! They are no different. Well, maybe a little more special, ha!). I see again, how God works for the GOOD in all circumstances and how he sustains us and loves us totally and completely in our pain. So hello, from N.C., and thank you. Looking forward witnessing what you, Angelique and Ali, will be doing for this world.


  17. Hi, Tim and family...

    I am really enjoying your photograpy, especially the flower pictures. As an amateur gardener myself, I appreciate those shots of nature in all its beauty. And now that fall is here, we don't have much flower color left. Of course, I can enjoy the wonderful display of the leaves changing color here in my "neck of the woods". Isn't God's creation magnificent?

    I love the new title of the blog... very appropriate.

    Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers as you continue to work through the difficult days. I recently read this quote and really liked it: "Faith makes all things possible...just not always easy." We talk about having faith and the possibilites it entails, but we sometimes lose sight that arriving at that destination can involve rough roads. Does that make sense?

    Hoping today is a good day for you and Angelique as you get back into the groove of your jobs. Take care of yourselves, each other, and that sweet Ali.

    With affection,

    A friend in NC

  18. Always in my prayers.

  19. Still here for you!

    (Lurking, mostly, though, these days)

    Love and hugs

  20. I think you are stronger than you know. I believe that you and Angelique have different strengths and fall back on each other when you need it. What I saw at Bellas memorial in MN and CA were TWO very strong people. The strength you had singing to Bella is something I couldnt imagine doing...yet you did it. So its hard to go into Bellas/Alis room....that is ok. Know that it is normal (for you) and let yourself be ok with it. It will come in time and you will be able to get back into the nightly routine with Ali.

    Love Bellas picture. Keep them coming.

    Sending my love to all and sweet kisses to Ali.

    Denise WI

  21. I agree with Denise, you are stronger than you know. I think maybe Angelique has just realized her strength in a different way. You are both stronger than I could imagine myself being in your situation!

    I hope returning to work helps both of you through your days and continues to go smoothly. Good luck with coaching!

    Over here in Tucson, it is finally getting cold and I am starting to feel the effects of winter. I used to call it SADD, but really, I think it's normal to want to hole up and sleep more in the winter, have a little less energy, etc, right?? Labeling it just makes me feel like I'm crazy. :-P I am also struggling with a conflict with a close family member, and I wanted to let you know that the lessons I have learned from following this blog and journey are helping me immensely with how I approach this conflict. So thank you once again.

    Ari has finally figured out the climbing thing, uh oh. ;) He is into everything and throwing some good tantrums now too, but he is still as sweet and cute as ever. His newest word is "yellow" which he says "wellwhoa" and makes me melt from cuteness.

    That's all from us! Keep on keepin' on, you are all such an amazing family and have so many people thinking of you daily. :)

    Cara in Tucson

  22. still here and sending all kinds of love.

    Kisses to my mani-pedi buddy

  23. Heaveno, Ringgolds!

    I'm glad that you're all easing into routines, and that Ali's been able to reconnect with her boyfriend (although I have no doubt she'll have MORE than her share - that girl is AMAZING!)

    Tim, I think you are stronger than you think. You're not strong like Ang, because you two are different people. But that doesn't mean you aren't strong - you just show it differently. You're being strong every time you speak to a group, every time you hold your sweet Ali, every time you post your feelings on this blog, and well, frankly, every time you breathe. (Because truth be told, I don't know if I'd be strong enough to do that if I were in your place.)

    Anyway, I ramble. Praying as always for all of you - I know that God is giving you strength and will continue to provide you with His peace and encouragement.

    Love from TX,
    Laura (for the Team!)

  24. You are doing great! I've heard from many people that saying good bye to the loved one is actually easier than living without them. In other words, it's getting back to life that brings the most pain.
    Love the new name of your blog!
    When I don't want to step into something or out of something, I sing that song in my head "Put one foot in front of the other...." Or I close my eyes and try another day.
    It's going to be ok.
    Kim from CA

  25. Hello Ringgold family!

    I want to share a story about something I encountered on Sunday...
    My family and I are vacationing in Myrtle Beach this week. So, as we were sitting by the pool, a beautiful yellow butterfly flew right out of the sky. It flew right by my head and then completely out of sight. It was so glorious! You usually do not see butterflies at the beach and especially not this time of year. I immediately thanked God and Bella for sending me that beautiful reminder that He is always thinking about us. I needed to be reminded of that on Sunday, and the butterfly was my gift!

    Tim -- I can't even imagine how hard it is to step into Ali and Bella's room. I am praying that this stage of your grief will leave you in a timely manner. I am also praying that the revelation you had a on Sunday will be "easier" to put into practice (for ME too!!!) and that God will give you strength as you re-engage in Ali's nighttime routine. Thanks for sharing with us!

    Ang -- thanks for being a rock for all of us...Tim, Ali, and the rest of the world! You have been a great example of how to love God, your family and friends no matter what! I can only imgaine the pain you must feel, but you are able to keep going! You are awesome! I am praying for you...

    I am also happy that Ali is happier at daycare. That would have to be so much easier on her. Love how she and Connor were giving each other the cold shoulder until they got used to each other again! TOO CUTE!!!

    As always, I love the picture of Bella! What a beauty!!!

    Megan from WV

  26. I love the picture you posted of Bella today. She is absolutely adorable and she looks so kissable! Love those bright eyes, too. I have no words of comfort to offer you...the loss of Bella is too huge for words, but I just want to say I am so very sorry for the pain your family is going through. None of us knew before we had children how much we were going to love them and that our whole being was going to be bound up with theirs even before their birth,and that the bond we have with them will last forever. I often wonder if I would have had children if I had known just how much I would love them and the panic I have felt a million times over the thought of losing them or of them getting hurt or kidnapped or a dozen other scary things that can happen in this crazy world. My kids are 27 and 23 and I'm a grandmother now and I still wonder how I could go on if something happened to one of my kids or my grandchild. This life is full of risks...but, some risks are worth, yes I would still have had my kids! Thank you for sharing your blog with the world. Thank you for showing us your strengths and weaknesses...your good days and bad days...and know that I,for one, will never forget your sweet Bella...and not just for her struggle with EB...but, for the bright light and joy she brought into her family's lives and the joy her family brought to her life. Babies are a gift to the world, aren't they. Ali is a beautiful girl, too. Love that gorgeous hair!

  27. Well. Remember the mention of meeting at Disneyland this week?BAD idea. We went today, had to park past the hotels. No tram. Ugh. We didn't go on one ride. I actually bribed Molly with a toy instead of waiting an hour for Pirates.
    Sorry about your nighttime routine. Perhaps a new routine would be fun to create...maybe move the furniture around in the room to get a new "feel" is Ali doing?
    Remember if you need a date night, Molly and I can come hang out with Ali...oh, those two would be quite the pair!

  28. My heart continues to ache for your lost. You are in my prayers. I also pray that God will bless your business and other ventures.