Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 16: A New Day +5


Well, as Ali calls it, today was a "stay at home day." Although, they are all stay at home days right now, we usually plan family outings on the weekends with our dear friends here, and this weekend is no different. After brunch at Ronald McDonald House, we headed over to our friends Logan and Erin's house. Today, it was off to the apple orchard! We caravaned in our respective minivans out to Pine Tree Orchard, where we attempted to go last weekend, but ran out of time. This time, Logan took me around the south side of White Bear Lake, which is kind of the scenic route. Logan and I went to middle school together in a little picturesque town in Connecticut called Redding. Redding is an outdoor paradise. No stores, no strip malls, no stop lights... just rural beauty. Well, the road we were on today was the closest thing to Redding I've experienced since leaving in 1995. Even Logan made that comment when he got out of the car today at the orchard. We wound through forest, field, lake, and pond on a quiet, single lane road, bathed in the most incendiary leaves both draped overhead and blanketed all around us.

What I realized on this road is that Minnesota is beautiful. Period. It doesn't matter what month it is, or what season. So it gets cold, yeah, we all know that. Still, I posit that the cold doesn't steal the beauty from your eyes, especially from your heated car or home, just like the desert heat doesn't steal the beauty from your eyes from within your air conditioned car or home. Yes, I'm sure it stings for the moments you have to be outside, just like the desert sun.

After hearing all the build up and hype about the winter here, Ang and I are a little bummed we won't get to experience it. After living in Phoenix for 9 years, I feel like I have learned how to deal with extreme weather, and after spending 20 of my first 22 years in New England, I'm no stranger to the fluffy white stuff. Anyhow, the lesson I'm learning is that weather and beauty are not directly related. Some people love the hot, some like the cold, some like the sun, some like the rain. None of that is affixed to the land it interacts with. The day before I arrived in MN, I drove through the endless green fields of eastern Montana in the never setting sun. The day I arrived, I drove through North Dakota and Minnesota in gray skies, wind, and rain. My experience? The land was just as beautiful shrouded in the protective blanket of rain and cloud that make this region so lush all summer, and so white in the winter as when it was drenched in sunlight.

Anyhow, we arrived at the orchard and spent the day eating popcorn, apple rollovers, donuts, and cider while riding tractor rides through the orchards, pony rides, a gigantic corn maze, and pumpkin patch. The kids had so much fun, as did the adults! The weather was perfect: warm sun, and a cool breeze. It just felt... clean. The orchard is situated upon a large hill that looks out over a beautiful lake and other fields. It was sooo serene, even with a crowd of people there hoping to take advantage of the indian summer happening up here. People were all extremely happy and in good moods, pleasant in their interactions (except for when we got scolded for being on the wrong side of the fence at the tractor rides....).

It was a beautiful location, and we were with a beautiful family. There was joy present in the three kids (Owen 6, Ali 4.5, and Ellery 4), and there was joy present in the 6 adults. It's good to outnumber the kids 2-1. It makes for easy chaperoning! There was a lot of laughter as well. Smiles abounded, and peace floated down upon us. God is good. All the time!

Band promo photo? I tried to make it look like an old weathered photo from the 70's...

By the time we finished up, it was dinner time, and the Spectors invited us over to their house for dinner, so we headed back to their place for dinner. The kids were a little tired, and we had one tantrum (the perpetrator shall remain nameless out of respect), but all in all, it was a wonderful day, followed by a wonderful evening.

When you go looking for God's angels to intercede when times are tough, don't go looking for beings in robes with wings. Start with the people in your life. Right here, right now. Those are your angels. Remember my "3 F's Rule:" Friends, Family, Faith. That's all you need when you get blindsided by life. Today, I had all three surrounding me. No wonder I was at peace.

Who are your angles? Hint: look past your obvious answer. There are far more around you than you realized. Wanna another piece? You are an angel to more people than you realize as well. Go be one.

God night.

P.S. Angelique had the AWESOME idea of webcasting the memorial, so that everyone could be there in the moment together, but we don't have the foggiest idea how to accomplish that, especially considering that the event is outdoors. If you have any knowhow in this area, comment with your email and I'll be in touch. Thanks!


  1. I definitely like the cold and rain, and would take it over Arizona heat lol ! Beautiful pictures. I miss Bella. I Don't know how to do the webcast but if I can, I will attend (via web) !

  2. First, my deepest condolences to you and your family. Words cannot fully express the sorrow and admiration I feel toward the strength you display.

    Second, webcasting the menorial service is great. My dad passed way in January and we used Skype for his service. My dad's parents, siblings, and friend, not to mention the preacher, were in Kentucky and we Helsinki the service in San Bernardino, CA. Find out if there is wireless somewhere close and see if you can access it. It's really a great way to bring family and friends together from a distance.

  3. What a great 3Fs day you had! The pictures are beautiful. Many years ago my husband was going to be transfered to Minneapolis (we are from Buenos Aires but at the time leaving in Geneva);we were prepared to face the winter there dreaming of fishing in the iced lake ... when he got an offer to go to Paris! And Paris won ... looking at your pictures, I wonder if we took the right decision ... Yes, we did!!! I hate the cold!!!!
    Keep having a peaceful weekend.
    Thinking of you and Bella alll the time.
    Lots of love,

  4. Beautiful pictures! We went to an apple orchard here in NY and the serenity and beauty of the area was amazing. Really hoping you can webcast the memorial- I would love to "attend" from NY! Praying for your family!


  5. Tim, these pictures are gorgeous and just so you know, after laying my eyes upon the first shot, and BEFORE I read any of the post, I IMMEDIATELY thought about how gorgeous Redding is in the Fall. Your pictures engulfed me with the scents and crisp, cozy feelings of a New England October which I miss so much. I rely heavily upon Yankee Candle's Harvest and Autumn Wreath scented candles to bring Fall to North Carolina and so today I thank YOU for bringing the season to me through your pictures. My husband will also be grateful for the $1.99 per tart wax melt candle you saved us for the day :-)

  6. What a lovely outing with both grannies too.
    I would definately love to see the memorial for Bella via web.
    What a clever and lovely idea.
    Thank you.
    Love Lolly

  7. I'm meeting with 28 of your angels today.
    Friends, family, faith. And Mickey Mouse.
    A perfect venue for Miss Mickey Mouse Clubhouse herself.
    I hope you can feel our love today. I'm at Disneyland already, nobody is here yet, and I already feel it.

  8. Happy Sunday, sweet family!

    Lovely pictures from what appears to have been a lovely day spent with family and friends. I'm not sure what an apple rollover is, but my immediate reaction was, "YUM!" I must say that I love me some fall and all the activities that come with it.

    And I agree 100% with your view of angels here on earth. There have been some times when I have looked to see if I could see feathers peeking out from under the clothes of special folks who indeed were/are angels in my life. Thank you also for issuing the challenge to be one myself!

    Wishing you a Sunday with as much joy as yesterday. JOY ... what a marvelous emotion. Good for you for choosing to be joyful!

    With affection and a joyful heart,

    A friend in NC

  9. In MO we too have the definite four seasons and while I have a favorite, you are right cold or heat does not define the beauty. God's beauty is everywhere in every season.

    Michelle in KCMO

  10. Good morning!

    What a beautiful day you all had yesterday! And I imagine that another in your shoes may have missed that beauty. We find what we look for, what we pay attention to. I love the fall season the best, and I am going out with family to find some beauty of my own this Sunday. Thank you for sharing yours!

    Love the webcast idea too, and I would absolutely "attend" ...I'll ask my husbank about it...he is the social media guru in our house. Blessings to you all, and to Bella, always, beautiful baby Angel!

  11. Loved your pictures. You are so right about beauty in so many areas of this wonderful country and finding beauty where you are!

    Again so right about your "3 Fs"! For the past 2 years my angels have been my husband and my friend Kim. Kim and I share a very similar (even if we live several hours away from each other) life - with the same good, bad and so so! She and I find comfort and support in knowing we are not alone. She always has the insight I need just at the right time! My newest angels have been your family - seems like the things you have said over the past few months are just what I NEEDED to hear - like you have been saying - Bella is here to teach and will continue to teach! Thank You!

    I hope the webcast can happen - I so wish I could be there.

    Still praying - Tina in NJ

  12. Carla Spradlin( 17, 2010 at 7:56 AM

    I,ve not posted for a few days, but did check in. I fee and broke my foot and ankle. It has slowed me down just a little.
    Tim, your posts from a few days ago have given me things to think about. I agree, we all have angels watching over us.
    I think it would be wonderful to be able to be present at Bella's memorial service. It would mean so much to those of us that live far away. Thank Ang for thinking of it. Love and prayers to your family. Carla Spradlin, Portsmouth, Ohio

  13. Hi again,
    I'm so glad to see that y'all have a terrific support group around! It looks like y'all enjoyed a beautiful day.
    I LOVE Angelique's idea! I would be honored to be able to be present through the web. That is so nice of y'all to think about us.
    I'm still praying for everyone saddened by Bella's passing.
    Lots of love,

  14. You are such a great writer. I live in MN and I do not stop and look at the beauty. I just keep thinking soon it will snow-yuck. Today I am going to look and enjoy the crisp fall day. I wish I could meet you and your wife and Ali. Reading what you write gives me hope that even in your darkest hour you can look over it and see what is around you. Miss Bella and even with me being an RN I still wanted her to pull though. I am not far from were you are staying. Once I find my feet in the storm we are faceing. I plan on giving my time are money to RMH are money to any one having to go through BMT. I hope to see a book come out part two of Bella storie. I am sorry for your lost. I would watch if on web. I may try to go as I want to meet the wonderful parents of Ali and Bella. God Bless. Brenda U Apple valley MN

  15. Dear Ringgold Family,
    What an amazing day! Absolutely beautiful! We would be honored to be able to join the memorial via web-cast.
    Sending good energy and love your way.
    -Robin and Michael Setto

  16. Thankyou so much for sharing your beautiful photos, Tim. I'm glad you all had a good day.

  17. Tim...I love reading your blog. Thanks for sharing... your family, your faith and your good seeing the family enjoying a beautiful fall day in MN. As you know, we sure don't get that here in So. Calif., however we are compensated with the majestic Pacific Ocean.
    Please give my love and hugs to everyone. And be sure to tell Grandma Carolyn her "new" bedroom is gorgeous. I love the "3 F's" rule..How true that is...Earth Angels are everywhere, you just have to look for them...GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME.
    Love Adrienne
    Huntington Beach, CA

  18. heaveno!

    tim, thank you for sharing the 3 f's with all of us daily! i agree with you about the angels being all around us...through "meeting" sweet bella i now have 4 more in my, angelique, ali, here on earth and sweet bella in heaven!

    if you want to talk about the total weather package let me tell you about nc!!!! heat in the morning, ac in the afternoon! beach in the morning, mountains in the afternoon! i pray you'll come for a visit sometime soon!

    the idea of a webcast would be such a gift to all of us who can't be there at the memorial. please, don't stress about it, if it happens, it happens :)

    glad to see y'all smiling!

    god bless y'all!
    w-s, nc

  19. Beautiful pictures, fall is such a lovely season... the leaves are already starting to fall here though. Happy to see that you can enjoy and appreciate things even in these times.
    It would be so nice to be able to "attend" the memorial, fighting distance and time-zones.

    God bless you,
    Jennifer, Sweden

  20. What great pictures! I am glad you all had a fun day! MN does look beautiful! Webcasting Bella's memorial is a wonderful idea! If you figure out how, I will DEFINITELY *be there*. =) It would mean a lot to be able to watch it. I said some extra prayers today at church for you and your family. Also, Ali's butterfly outfit is cute!

    Thinking of you all,
    Kristi, Castle Rock, CO

  21. Dear Tim: Thank you again for the updates. I feel like a member of your family and love to see how you guys are doing. I know you are still a little numb but I just Know you guys are going to make it. Your Faith is so strong and you have a wonderful family behind you.
    Thanks Angelique for thinking of us. Webcasting the memorial is such a kind idea. I know so many people would love to witness Bella's Love. Love you guys. Love Leah's Nana

  22. Those are great pictures. I'm so glad you guys were able to have a fun day with friends and family. That is so important! It helps to heal when you have great family and friends to lift you up.

    I am totally excited about the idea of a webcast for Bella's memorial. That would be a great way to feel like we are there too. Thanks for thinking of that.

    Lots of Love,
    Amber, Craig, Malorie(2 1/2), and Liam(9mos.)
    The McLaughlin Family
    Moreno Valley, CA

  23. Today was CHOC Walk, and I went into it knowing there would be tears flowing through-out the 5K. The first sign I saw upon exiting my car was Bella's Blessings, held by a lady wearing a shirt with a picture of your beautiful Bella on the back. Instantly I was crying, and it just went on from there. We walked behind some other members of your team and at one point stopped with them at a restroom. I went up and told them that I have read your blog since before you went to MN and that they were awesome for walking on your behalf. I told them how amazingly strong and faithful you are, and what an inspiration Bella was.

    Thank you for sharing her with us.

  24. tim,
    my daughter says that you can do a webcast by setting up a ustream account. sorry...don't know the details, but at least you know it can be done. of course there is a way...sweet bella is involved :)

    god bless y'all
    w-s, nc

  25. Tim, how amazingly kind of you to look into webcasting the memorial! Ang- you are a GENIUS! I hope someone knows how to do this! The only way I can think of is through Skype BUT it does tend to get glitchy and doesn't always work well and I think you can only talk with one other person at a time.

    I'm so glad y'all had a wonderful time! You should drive North out of Minneapolis Tim. My Dad's family is from a really tiny town called Aitkin. I don't know how tiny it is still but just drive North there's a lot of beautiful landscape out there.

    Love and prayers to you guys.


  26. Tim

    I have been reading...just havent had a moment to comment. Busy working on my "special project". I have been thinking about you, Ang, Ali and Bella so much as I have been working through this project and the tears fall so easily.

    The midwest really is beautiful. I love the change of seasons. Fall has always been my favorite. The smells, colors, crisp air. Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures.

    I was thrilled that both grandmas were able to make it to be with you. I hope they will still be here Thursday...I would love to meet them.

    If you cant figure out the webcast (which is ideal)...can you record the memorial and have that available?

    Sending my love to you all and sweet kisses to Ali.

    Denise, WI

  27. I had bought Bella's Blessing a couple months back, I just started reading it last night. Just now I was going back over some of your posts from the start of the Minnesota adventure. I miss her and I feel like part of my day is missing by not being able to follow her journey anymore. Your posts are still amazing to read and I am excited to see what you will have in store for the EB community because I highly believe that you will stay present amongst all those afflicted by EB. But not being able to read about Bella, and see Bella. I do miss her. My heart goes out to you all because I know you miss her so much more.

    Love from Dallas.

  28. Glad you were able to get out and enjoy the wonderful fall day. I would definitely watch if you are able to get the memorial service out on a web cast. And having it available afterwards would be great too, as I'll probably be sleeping during the day while it's occurring!

    Chicago, IL

    (I'll be e-mailing you the most awesome butterfly picture that my boyfriend took several years ago. Every time I see it now, I think of Bella)

  29. Gorgeous day for your family! You deserve it!

    Hope you can webcast the memorial or even video it? I know it is going to be a beautiful service to honor sweet Bella. Sad, but full of love and praise.
    Kim from California

  30. What beautiful pictures! The air looks so crisp and must be refreshing to take a full breath...just wanted to drop in and let you know that I'm thinking about your precious family. Always in my thoughts in prayers,
    nicole b

  31. Check with whomever is doing the memorial service. I know some of the funeral homes around here (Kansas) can do that, though I don't have the foggiest idea how. My other thought, as others have mentioned, would be to digitally record it & link it to your blog.
    Many prayers to you & yours.
    Brenda (Kansas)

  32. (just wanted to add that I sent you that butterfly picture through Facebook!)


  33. I just saw some great pictures of Team Bella posted on Facebook from the CHOC walk. Thanks to Natalie for posting them. I especially loved the to ode to Bella's fabulous socks of the day.

    Your pictures from the orchard make me want to go buy some cider. I have the entire last week of October off. My husband and I are starting it off with a weekend at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. Some "Fall" activities like an orchard might follow.

    Angela Ulrich
    Dublin, Ohio

  34. Wow Tim. All I can say is wow! The words you wrote on Day +4 touched me deeply - in fact, I printed out the part where you wrote:

    "What is your biggest obstacle in life right now? I don't want to know what you are doing about it, I want you to look at WHO YOU ARE BEING in the face of it. You can choose that. So, if you look outside and see a result you don't like, and look inside and realize you don't like who you're being to get that result, change who you are being. Try it."

    Wow. I'm going to tape that statement to my monitor and maybe to the fridge, the dashboard, etc. (I may need to read it often LOL.)

    You said you didn't want to know what our biggest obstacles are right now, so I'm not going to elaborate, but suffice it to say that it is 'small potatoes' compared to the challenges you've been through. In fact, anyone who has had a teenager has probably gone through the same obstacles I'm facing right now. (I was a "good" teenager so I expected my teenager to be respectful and always in a good mood instead of cranky, lazy and disrespectful LOL. What dream world was I living in??)

    After reading your statement, I took a step back and said to myself, "I don't have to react that way." The last few days have been a little calmer around here. I think my son is surprised that he's not getting a reaction out of me when he does the same things he used to. I'm hoping this is going to be a change for the better. (Not that I'm hoping "he'll" change anytime soon, but "I" will.)

    Thanks again for helping me see the light!

    I'm glad you're enjoying the awesome weather we've been having in MN/Western WI. This is the best fall I can remember in recent years.

    Lyla (Hudson, WI)

  35. Hey Tim! Glad to hear that you were in the beautiful White Bear Lake yesterday! That's where I grew up, and it is a wonderful place!

    Thank you for the call today too! It was nice to hear from you, and I hope that we can work something out for tomorrow. I wanted to let you know that Lori gave me her email address to pass on to you, and we are all working on getting thursday off of work for the memorial....none of us are about to miss it!

    I hope you all are doing well. I think about, and pray for you all often. After reading your blog yesterday it made me think of the book of James

    "2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

    12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

    I look forward to seeing you all again soon.


  36. Love the 3 F's. Still continuing to pray for your beautiful family. and all of your pictures have in beautiful! i don't know what type of camera you have or if you just have "that special touch", but throughout the blog i've always thought to myself, wow, those ar some of the greatest pictures. take care

  37. We probably have more angels than we deserve. You are high on the list.