Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1: New Orleans, LA to Dallas, TX

Ah, protein from Louisiana!


Technically, today's journey was from Ponchatoula, LA to Flower Mound, TX, but my guess was that many people wouldn't be able to get a sense of where to where that was. Well, thank God for coffee is all I have to say. Without it, this trip would not be possible! This trip is fueled by the following vital things:

Happy Meals
1 portable DVD player

Take any one of these out, and the whole thing crumbles! LOL.

Wow, yesterday was a bit of a blur; I wish we had more time to sight see in the French Quarter. There is SO much fascinating history there. We took a carriage tour and we got off early to get back to our car, but in the 20 minutes or so, we learned so much that we never would have gotten from just wandering around people watching. People watching is fun, but as the evening progresses (and the alcohol flows) they aren't as much fun to watch as a family.

After spending the night with baby Tripp and his beautiful family, I wish we could have done the same with baby Jonah. Looking back, we hardly got to spend any time with just Patrice, Matt, and Jonah, but what can you do? I also hadn't EVER met some of my nieces and nephews so there was a lot of catching up to do in Winston-Salem... hmm, maybe we'll just have to come back!

Tripp was SO smitten... can you blame him?

Today, Courtney's dad made fresh, homemade beignets for us! Ali called them "yummy pillows!" Man, they were so good. A great way to start the day! Then, around lunch time, we found this little zoo in Alexandria that actually had a pretty amazing collection of animals, and we were THE ONLY ones in the zoo! Apparently, they had a big zoo-boo event leading up to last night, so everyone who had planned on visiting the zoo went then. It was a nice mental and physical break from the road and stimulation for Ali.

Funny note... sometimes google maps can mislead you! We were looking for the land of Happy Meals for lunch today, and google led me to a HOSPITAL! Quite fitting, eh? Eat enough McD's and you could end up in one! The hospital had a McD's INSIDE IT... google didn't realize it was IN the hospital, and neither did we! There is much more that could be said about all that, but I'll just leave it alone as I want to get back to sleep!

Here's the day on the road... started iffy but ended beautifully!

We are now at my old friend Doug's house in Flower Mound. Doug and I grew up in a little town in CT called Redding. We both lived within walking distance (if you cut through the woods) from our Redding Boys Club and spent many a day playing baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, whatever together over the years. We were groomsmen in each other's weddings, but have seen little of each other since 1995 when we began to leave Redding (first with me migrating to Phoenix, and then Doug moving to TX). We have both gotten married, had kids, settled down, found our true callings professionally, found church again, all the while staying connected, even if it be just a heads up every now and then. It's nice to have friends for life where no matter where you are or how long it's been, you can just reconnect like no time has passed, aside from hairlines and waist sizes!

Well, tomorrow is our second of 3 EB Gatherings celebrating Bella and THIS community that SHE has brought together. Here's the thing; I know that I write for Bella, and without me writing, this community wouldn't have happened the way it did, but without Bella, there was nothing to write about. I never blogged before Bella. I was "too busy for blogging." Besides, who really wanted to know what I was doing anyway in a world where thousands of blogs get created every year? BELLA caused all of us to come here together; there is no difference between me and you in THIS respect. Even Ang reads the blog the next morning after I write (I write at night after everyone falls asleep - my quiet time...NOT a morning person), and she can count on one hand how many blogs she reads now, much less how many she read before we started Bella's.

Now, we have thrown down the gauntlet and challenged you all to come out of anonymity and see how strong the bond really is over the internet. Several days ago, Jane articulated quite eloquently the social dynamics in play that might give one cause to pause when thinking about whether to become physical, or just remain virtual friends. There is a line in the sand here. The internet is fast, free, and can be anonymous, allowing people to leave their social filters at the door before jumping in. There is a great argument over whether the virtual world is "purer" in its relationship building in that there are no physical filters at play.

Yeah, well, when someone writes ((HUGS)) on facebook, the blog, or an email, folks, it just doesn't TOUCH the real thing... yes, pun intended. The virtual world is a good thing, but it isn't enough (for me at least). It's like as if I was going to try to subsist solely on power bars and protein drinks. Maybe I could get by technically, but the quality of my experience of nourishing myself would be lacking greatly.

So, that all being said, I am asking you all that if you are within even a 'reasonable' distance of one of these last two gatherings in TX or AZ, that you take the 'unreasonable' step of coming out of cyberspace and coming together with us to share a meal. We will never be here again, just like we are, right here, right now. You will be different. We will be different. Geographically, this is only the second time in my life I have been in TX, and the first time was in 1999 for Doug's wedding, so I know it's predictable we won't be doing anything like this again in TX. Phoenix is another story since we used to live there and still have family and friends there. Dallas/Plano (the biggest nest of blog followers in TX): tomorrow is literally just for YOU. We left I-10 and headed north TO YOU. We could have just headed straight on through to El Paso, but we detoured for you.

No pressure. :P

Seriously, though, I ask that you get over whatever is in the way of you coming to Richardson and spending some time with us. Here is what we DON'T CARE about:

1) what you say
2) how you look
3) if you cry or not

Trust me, if you just SHOW UP, that is way more important to us than any of the above three. The act of showing up is gift enough. It means you cared enough to move your normal busy hectic life around to be in the same place at the same time with our little family. That definitely 'takes' something. So, I thank you in advance for handling whatever it took to come out and give us A REAL HUG.

Here's the info again:

Bella's TX Blog Gathering:

Tuesday, Nov. 2nd @ 5:00pm
Community Christian Church
1300 Holly Drive
Richardson, TX 75080

So far, I have only gotten 2 emails RSVP'ing for tomorrow, and both parties have to come late or leave early. PLEASE, RSVP... we have a deli tray, some lasagna that Doug's wife Heather has made, and a cookie tray on the menu so far. RSVP to

Bella's AZ Blog Gathering:

Friday, Nov. 5th @ 5:00pm
Franciscan Renewal Center ("The Casa") Pool Patio
5802 E. Lincoln Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85253

RSVP to with what potluck you will bring. I have gotten 1 RSVP from 1 person so far for this event, and they are FROM TUCSON AND ARE DRIVING UP.

Bella's CA Memorial Service

Sunday, Nov. 14th @ 2:00pm
The Wallace All-Faiths Chapel
Chapman University
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866

Food and beverages will be provided for this event, but there is a facebook event set up for this; it works better than the survey we set up. Here is the link to that event page to RSVP:

I ask for a lot from others, but to them I also give a lot. The circuit of giving and receiving is what being in relationship is all about. We enjoy giving, and we enjoy receiving. We can't do either without another. YOU are the other. Ang, Ali, Bella, and I are the other. WE all are 'the other.' Please, do whatever it takes to come give us a real hug.

Think of it this way. Many people are worried they don't have the words to say. You don't need any words to give a hug. If you remain here in cyberspace where all you have is words, what can you give if you don't have words? You remain "out there." Step out of the shadows and into the light. I promise just this small act will transform you. Ask Kim from Durham, a blog follower who drove an hour each way to come to the NC event and didn't "know" anyone when she got there. That wasn't the case when she left. Or the three nurses that drove 2 and a half hours to attend the event, then got up and ran a race for EB back in Asheville the next morning in 32 degree temps. Together, all the runners raised over $2,500 for DebRA. In addition, after speaking with me at the event, they are planning on not only educating their staff and hospital on EB in Hendersonville where they work, but going to the NICU at the larger hospital in Asheville to promote EB awareness there and install EB protocol there as well. They are already getting connected with our EB NICU nurse in CA to exchange research and best practices. THANK YOU, Kendra, Melanie, and Lacy, you are an inspiration to us all! These are the same sweet ladies that also made the t-shirts with Bella, Daylon, Tripp, and Jonah on them, and the same ladies who put us up at the Sweet Biscuit Inn in Asheville. You ladies ROCK.

It's now 4:07 am. I should probably go back to sleep. I now fall asleep first, then when I wake up in the middle of the night, I just post then. Seems easier for some reason right now.

I will close with my favorite benediction. It is Franciscan, and LaDonna, our chaplain at U of M read it at Bella's memorial. What she didn't know was that it IS my favorite benediction. She picked it based on knowing me, but we never spoke about what she would say. It goes like this:

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe you can make a difference in the world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done, to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

God night.

Enjoy the fabulous antics of Ali...

and... NAP TIME...

One of my favorite pictures... pretty much says it all...


  1. Hey there Riggolds,

    Yippeee I am the first today. Been checking the whole morning for your blog update so glad you did update thanx!

    I really wish I could be at all of Bella's memorials but it is a bit difficult as I am South Africa and I have two little boys that needs mommy attention and work and so forth. Please do know I carry you all in my heart preys and thoughts all day and everyday. Maybe oneday we will meet in person I really hope so as you peeps are such an inspiration to me. Would love to travel to California someday with me boys and meet you all.

    God bless and love you guys lots and lots
    Sunny South Africa

  2. I to wish I could be at one of the memorials but that darn Atlantic ocean just gets in the way. I love the pictures of our beautiful country you post so I can see so many places that I have never been.

    My family and I went to a small town where we have a flat, thanks to my husband´s aunts, to get away and since Nov. 1 is a holiday we took advantage. Well the point of this rambling is that I was talking to my husband while driving about your blog and how I and so many others get inspiration from your words was a very gray, rainy weekend but exactly when I was talking about this out of the blue among all the gray clouds appeared a rainbow...coincidence. you decide but I got a shiver down my spine when I saw it :)

    OH and we decided that you need a new jersey from a different Spanish football team. No offence to your sister but we don´t think that team suits you well ;) LOL can you tell we are fans of the rival.

    Enough ramblings for today but I like other readers will be back because I like to read the comments of others also. Safe travels.

    Love, Jeni (Madrid)

  3. I am so embarassed to be one of us commenters.

    So many commenters expressed sympathy, gratitude, the desire to attend Bella's memorial, and how they wished they could "do something" for you. You have planned a trip across the country so you could create an opportunity for these things to happen and all anybody can do is give you excuses.

    So, so embarassing.

    Dear Tim, Angelique and Ali, please know that some of us are sincere in our words.

  4. Tim your words always ring true!
    The Human Connection!
    I have known Angelique for years through work (me in NJ & her in CA) but we had never meet, we worked on the same projects and then you all had Ali! We lost touch because of shifts in jobs! This past August I was so thrilled to find out Ang was my new boss - I knew I had a good person who is an awesome worker! I talked to Ang the very day we found out about the job changes and she told me all about Bella. I was crushed and so sad, but so inspired by her strength and come to find out the strength of your whole family!

    BUT the very best thing that happened was a quick work trip to MN - I got to meet Ang for the very 1st time in person and ask her I said within 2 second - "I just have to give you a hug!" It just made the connection real!

    To meet someone face to face and connect is awesome! Doesn't mean you will be best friends or life long pals because you meet someone - but it does make a big difference!

    Thank you for always sharing what is really on your heart and mind!

    I really hope I get to meet all the Ringgold someday. Tina in NJ

  5. Tim, Angelique, and Ali,

    Please know that it saddens me deeply that I cannot be there tonight to celebrate Bella's life with your family and blog readers. If I were even two hours closer to Dallas (making it a 3 hour trip) I would consider skipping out on work and making it up... why does Texas have to be so big?!?!?! :(

    I hope God blesses your gathering tonight, and even if the numbers are small (which I hope they are not), I know the love, joy and peace in the room will be HUGE. I will be thinking of you all tonight. Much love!

    Houston, TX

  6. Hi there Tim,Ang and Ali,
    Greetings from another South African :)
    I wish I could come to one of your memorial's, but I think South Africa is just a litle to far away. Please know you are always in my thoughts and I check in first thing each morning, thank you for taking me on a road trip with you, It's lovely to see the beautiful scenery.
    Thank you for all your inspirational writing, you are helping me look at grief in a differant way.
    I watched the MN memorial on Ustream, It was beautiful, you and Ang are amazingly strong people.
    Glad you were able to meet up with Jonah and Tripps family's.
    Take care and please drive safely
    lots of love and hugs

  7. I'm worried I'm going to get up one day, check the blog and Tim will have not written. He puts all the time and effort into this "relationship". Undoubtedly, it gets tiresome after a while.

  8. I can see why you love this family picture. Anyone can see that there is just so much LOVE here...Bella was surrounded by so. Much. Love. And now you are surrounded by her love, forever and for always...

    I am deeply saddened that I will not be able to make any of the gatherings...I am not afraid of what to say, or how I look...and I know I will most definitely cry! Means and timing alone keep me away, and if I didn't have to leave my baby grandaughter who I care for every weekday, and who Bella reminds me of so so much.

    One day, we will meet, somehow somewhere...and give those in person hugs...blessings and safe travelling!

  9. Coming from someone who drove an hour each way to come to the Minnesota memorial, I would highly recommend for anyone trying to decide if they should come to just DO IT. Putting a "real" face behind all the words that you read is priceless.

    Tim and Angelique - it is awesome reading of your journey across the US. I share with husband every morning about where you are and slowly he is thinking maybe, just maybe, this isn't so wierd to become so connected with someone over the internet. :)

    St. Peter, MN

  10. I so wish that it was possible to attend one of the services that you have remaining. Unfortunately work gets in the way. Being a 'Cornhusker' means more than football this time of year. It is the season of rushing to get everything done and ready for the white stuff that will soon be here. It is also a 24/7 job right now. Not only are we picking corn and getting the ground ready for planting next year, we also have newly weaned cattle arriving weekly to be fed here for the winter. Fixing corrals, branding and vaccinating and morning feeding, checking water, bedding them down if it is going to storm and then trying to drive the 10 miles to them when it does.
    We love our life!
    Thank you once again for continuing to share in your special journey.
    The Cooley family in Nebraska

  11. I just saw your "Super Family" costumes for the first time. Awesome! A few lucky folks near the Ohio State campus had their Pizza Hut pizzas delivered by my vampire husband this past weekend.

    Wishing you continued safe travels and good turnouts at the remaining EB events.

    Angela Ulrich
    Dublin, Ohio

  12. I so wish I could make the drive up to Richardson to meet you guys! I am probably less than an hour away, but I have no vehicle. I guess I am another one of those who doesn't know what to say, but I will say that I am so sorry for the loss your family has endured yet so overjoyed for you for the time you did get to spend with sweet Bella. Your journey hits home on a small level for me as I watch one of my good friends care for her little boy with EB (who turns 1 this week, by the way!). He doesn't have as severe a form as Bella, but it still isn't easy for their family.
    I just want to thank you so much for sharing your life with us and let you guys know that one more person is out there praying for you and wishes she could be there with you to give a real hug and celebrate the life of your butterfly angel.

  13. Good morning, Ringgolds!

    I was glad to read a little bit about your time with Courtney, Randy, and Tripp - the picture of Ali and Tripp is just adorable! Also, thanks for sharing the family picture at the end of the blog entry today. So beautiful.

    If anyone is reading this, I agree with what Tracy said above. If you can go to Bella's gathering tonight, GO. I am so thankful that I decided to drive to W-S the other night to meet Tim, Ang, and Ali, as well as meet and be a part of a community of people who have been touched by this beautiful little girl. I told someone that it was probably the strangest thing I ever did (as I'm not someone who reads/comments on blogs), but I felt compelled to go. It was amazing. It reaffirmed my belief in the kindness and goodness of people. And being able to see and hug the Ringgold family was wonderful. Also, seeing Ali's cute self in person was worth the trip right there :)

  14. give it to us point blank. I love it. I wish there were more than 2 RSVPs to our TX gathering. I have to admit that even though we are a RSVP Yes there have been moments I thought it would be so much easier to not pack up my 3 young kids for the hour we get to be there. But then I remind myself that THEY are the ones who lost their daughter. THEY are the ones reaching out to me. THEY are the ones who drove north when they didn't have to. So we will be there...and even if we have to leave a bit early I am so glad that we'll get to meet your family.

  15. I too wish I could make it to one of the gatherings. (I still maintain that you should have stopped here in Chicago for a deep dish pizza party!!!)

    The mom of a friend of a friend recently passed away. My friend was worried about what to say to her friend. I reminded her that what you say isn't important, just being there for her is all she needs. I even sent my friend to your blog to read your posts on the subject - she was very thankful for it.

    Glad the road trip is still going well.

    I'm still working on my EB stuff for my NICU unit, and Tanya just emailed me a bunch of her stuff for it as well!

    Chicago, IL

  16. That picture of all of you is another one of my could it not be?

    I hope more people come to your Texas gathering. Thinking back I didnt even tell you or Ang how sorry I was for your loss. I was just wrapped up into the moment of actually meeting you and giving you the scrapbook. It didnt matter anyway...I realize that now.

    Sending you all my love and sweet kisses and bunches of hugs to Ali.

    Denise, WI

  17. Love the picture at the end! It got me...
    Hoping your last two gatherings go as you intend. Holding you guys near our hearts ALWAYS!
    The Vanderbooms

  18. I really wish I could attend the Memorial in Dallas, I would have rearranged my work schedule and everything, but there is just no way ( on such short notice) I can pack up two babies and drive 4 + hours to dallas, then 4+ hours back. I have tried to come up with any way I could possibly make it work. Though I can not be there in person, know that my heart and spirt are there with y'all.

    Though, perhaps if you have another gathering in Phoenix I can time that with a trip to see My husbands family. I hope this road trip and meeting of friends has helped to heal the wounds.

    Continuing to send prayers and healing your way

    Houston, TX

  19. I have to post again because I want to say that I am not the least bit embarrassed or ashamed to be a part of this wonderful "Cyber Family"! I know that we all come here with our own situations, and for some of us, simply sharing our feelings was a huge step out of internet invisibility.

    I come here because there is hope here, and acceptance, and love. Against all odds there are these things...and I know that if Jane one day decided to leave her beautiful rooftop, and needed a place to stay in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, she would have one. And if Denise in Mexico really wants a copy of Bella's Blessings, she can email me at, and I will send her one.

    We are connected, through space and Bella, to Tim and Angi and Ali...and to each other...this is a family of our own choosing, and our hearts are forever entwined.

    Maybe one day we will all be able to meet in a wonderful "reunion", but until then, I welcome the sincere, heartfelt cyber **HUG** with gratitude and return the same with love, because while it certainly does not beat the heartfelt in-person hug, it is still miles above the awkward in-person hug, given only out of a sense of obligation.

    So, heartfelt **HUGS** to you all, and blessings on whatever road you travel.

  20. Oh no, I can't be the only AZ person to show! ;) Come on AZ, email your RSVPs! I know Piper is going out of town, but there have to be more AZ readers than the two of us...

    Ari is *still* sick (this is day 9 of fever) so I am just hoping/assuming he is better by Friday so that we can still go. We are headed back to his dr today. He is sitting in my lap right now... he is usually so busy, so although I don't want him to be sick, I am enjoying the extra snuggles.

    That sunset is gorgeous, Ali is adorable, and I love that family photo at the end. :)

    Cara in Tucson

  21. Once my gps took me to WalMart when I was trying to find McD. Sure 'nuff, it was in there!

    I couldn't come to any of the gatherings since I was too far away from any of them. I Still think of you all and love you all, though. Don't be discouraged when not as many people show up as you'd hoped. As you've said, it's easier to connect and pray and love when you're not actually having to invest time/gas/money. It doesn't mean they don't love and appreciate you all, just that life keeps going on. Sometimes it's difficult to get time away from jobs or they can't afford to take time away from work or maybe they'd have to arrange for sitters or whatever responsibilities they have.
    Actually Tim, YOU'VE given ME much food for thought and words of wisdom. I'd read what you wrote and think, "wow, I never thought of it like that before!", so although Bella was such a sweetheart and we all connected through her, I appreciate the time you take to write what you've written. I don't necessarily agree with every single idea you have on religion and life (I struggle with the reincarnation idea & a few other minor details, but do acknowledge and agree that none of us have absolute answers) but we have much common ground and I'm not planning to stop reading this blog. Thanks for taking me up to a higher level spiritually.
    Indiana mom

  22. Go, enjoy your time with the Ringgolds. Once you give them a hug & receive one (3) back you will not have to worry about what to say or if you cry that is ok too. Friday I spent all afternoon in W-S, NC--with Patrice & Jonah. Then we went to the park to meet everyone else. The time spend there was get to put a face with the people that you follow on the blogs. You get to see the excitement, love, happiness & sadness in peoples' eyes..Looking into Jonah's little eyes gives me peace & brings a calmness to my hectic life. Ali's eyes are jumping with joy & will bring a smile to your face & heart, no matter what is going on around you. You can feel God's love when you are surrounded by people that love & care for each other. Since Friday afternoon/evening I have had a peace & joy in my heart like never before..ENJOY the time you can spend with these wonderful people that share this journey with each of us. What they have to share, words cannot express-you have to see it face-to-face..Love ya

  23. Good morning Tim and Angelique, Ali too,

    I will be at the Chapman Memorial with bells on, just in case I can't do the Facebook thing.

    As I pull up your blog daily, my emotions run the gamut. Right now, just now, the idea came to me that maybe your blog could be adjusted to be "Bella's Legacy". That is what is happening now and will go on. Just an idea to be thought about.

    Taking a roadtrip like you are doing is so perfect. Seeing family and long time friends puts a circle of comfort all around you to start the beginning of your new life now. See you soon. Much love, Greenie

  24. Blog readers -- If child care is keeping anyone from attending in AZ, we have a wonderful nanny who can help.

  25. The picture of Ali and Tripp is so precious. That's awesome that they got to play together. Seeing all of those sores on his cute little face makes me sad. But he has such a wonderful family, you can tell he is happy despite the pain. That is so important. I'm glad you guys got to spend time together. That's great!

    Your story about McD's and the google maps is hilarious. There is a lot I can say about a McD's being inside a hospital too but we'll save it! LOL I am very impressed with your road trip so far and of course the pictures continue to be amazing. I just love our beautiful country. I'm glad I can experience it thru you guys.

    I'm sorry not many people have RSVP'd for the TX memorial. Hopefully they will surprise you guys and just show up. As for me, I will definitely be at the CA memorial. I only live about 45 mins away and I have really been looking forward to meeting you guys in "person" finally. You're right, it will be great to finally have a physical connection as well.

    I love the latest picture of Bella. That picture is just priceless, and it's so beautiful to see you all together in such a great moment.

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

  26. Dear Tim,

    Well, I was wrong about you three and the fabulous socks as Halloween costumes! You looked magnificent - you have such zest and joie de vivre, you glorious nutty people.

    On a more reflective note, regarding your imminent get-togethers, I don't think anyone is staying away for reasons of shyness, or 'cryness' (as it were). When I wrote those thoughts down last week, in response to your observation about the low number of RSVPs you'd received by then (given the high proportion of blog readers in the locations you'd chosen), I think I was trying to understand why there were not more people who'd be there in person. I felt for you, given all the effort you were making at such a time in your lives. It seemed odd to me that there was not a crowd at every turn.

    Sincerely, I do now believe it's just the scale of this continent, indeed this world, that is putting the barrier up between people and their presence at the celebrations of Bella's short but most meaningful life.

    An earlier commenter today wrote about his/her embarrassment at the lack of sincerity of people's words - I don't believe there's an ounce of insincerity in a single one of anybody's words on this blog. Its author and its community are truly galvanized - and here I must say a little thank you to Donna who so thoughtfully and effectively proved the decency and the 'reality' of the internet by extending a welcoming hand to me if I ever find myself in West Virginia - and I think we all appreciate the invisible bond even more when it is simply impossible for us to stand together in the real world and take a real moment to celebrate Miss B, Lady Fab Socks, and her family who have each and all given us so much. But it's impossible for many of us because there are too many miles, sometimes thousands of miles, between us.

    Funny to realise this but, if I think back to the first time I commented, I truly remember holding my breath as I posted my first comment. Would I be intruding? But I did it anyway because I felt you had given so much of yourselves. Now, only a month or so later, with so many ends and beginnings taking place, I feel aligned and allied with all who congregate here and wish I could shrink the sheer size of the earth to allow us to stand together - face to face, eye to eye, smile to smile.

    Fondly, always,


  27. Hey!!! I haven't written in a LONG time!! Ah, work!! I have been there every day, and am about to go in now, but wanted to say hi! Your adventures look amazing. I still have a few days to catch up on, but the pictures look so fun! Give Ali a hug for me!

    Jeremy and I leave for Africa in three days! So we probably can't write for awhile but we will for sure be thinking about you all and praying for you! We miss you here...but will see you soon!

    Renee and Jeremy!

  28. Hey, sweet family...

    Hoping you all enjoy the gathering in Texas tonight as much as we did on Friday here in NC. It really was a very special time, spent with special friends.

    Your last picture says it all. The embrace of family...there's nothing better.

    Looking forward to more of your tales from the road. Kind of reminds me of Jack Kerouac...except you are celebrating something very different than did he on his journeys across America.

    Take care and be safe.


    A friend in NC

  29. I know I have a good excuse not to go to any of the gatherings, England is not just round the corner but in my opinion this is the world we live in. It's easy to be connected on Internet but when we really have to give our time it is different.We all live a crazy life. I go to visit my family in Argentina once per year and that's when many of my friends get together; not during the year even that they all live in the same city!Internet doesn't replace a hug; an email is not the same as a phone call.
    I'm sure you will have a great gathering.
    Thanks for waking up in the middle of the night to write.

  30. Love the Halloween costumes - you guys look great! Just wanted to say how great it was to meet your family in NC. Thank you for playing your music for us and bringing Bella's scrapbook, hand/foot molds, and her fabulous socks. Thank you for allowing us into your family. You guys are amazing! Ali sure is a sweetheart and full of energy. I miss Bella everyday and enjoy seeing you post pictures of her on your blog now. Enjoy the EB gathering tomorrow and get some rest. Travel safe.

  31. Thank you Donna for putting everything in its proper perspective. I feel sad reading the comments from your last post Tim,and I am sorry but I am going to be AS HONEST AS YOU ARE-- I think you are using emotionl blackmail and it is causing a lot of prayerful supporters to feel bad/guilty/failures and so on.This is conditional love which really isnt love at all is it. I will always pray for the Ringgolds with love and joy.I will never forget the lessons I have learnt from little Bella and will always be inspired by you both and the other EB families.Will I be explaing why i am not at the gatherings? No,because I shoudnt have to in a meaniful relationship.Go well.God is alive and truely present in His people

  32. Thank you for the benediction - I had not heard/seen that one before and it is wonderful.

    Diane - MO

  33. I just have to say, THANK YOU for continuing to blog and share your story/journey with all of us. I thought it was the sweetest thing when you mentioned Ali knew how to "be" around EB kids. Yes, I'm pretty sure I just distorted what you said. :) I would say sorry there, but I have found that I apologize for things way to much lately, and therefore am trying to go to the other extreme--not at all. ha. Anyhow, that was just the sweetest thing. Ali has learned more in her young life about compassion & caring for others, than many people learn in a lifetime. It's much easier to go through life thinking everything is rainbows & sunshine (myself included) than to face the clouds & storms. As you can see, I'm rambling.
    I do wish I could meet your family, & Tripp's & Jonah's in person. right now, sadly that's just not feasible. I continue to pray for your comfort & peace. What your family is doing to share Bella's story is truly Awesome! What better way to honor your baby than to share her story & the fact that you're traveling cross country to do it is just fabulous!!
    Prayers for peace & safe travels!

    Brenda (Kansas)