Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 22, 2010: Ladies and Gentlemen...


...We have snow!

Not as much in Durango as up in the mountains, but man, were we worried when we landed at the Durango airport and it was raining!  There was no snow on the ground, and it was about 40 degrees at night.  I thought, "We could be in CA still for all I know!"  Luckily, Nanny and Manny live at 8,000 feet and it's a little colder up at their cabin than down on the mesa where the airfield is.

So... out of the car and into the snow we went!  Wet, heavy snow, but snow just the same.  Perfect snowball snow!  So perfect that Manny didn't even make it through the front door without receiving a gentle little THUMP on his leg... snowball courtesy of yours truly.  C'mon, do you know how long it's been since I threw a snowball?  We had snowball fights on tour in Greece and Colorado in '06 and '07 with  my college choir, and before that, it must have been '95!

Travel went well today; crowded in Long Beach getting out, but calm in Phoenix and calm here in Durango.  People were mostly in a decent mood.  I busted out my guitar and started playing some classical guitar and Christmas Carols in Long Beach as there were a few flights that were severely delayed and the frustration index was running a bit high.  Plus, there were just A LOT of people crammed in not a large space, and you know that we Americans need our space.  There was a really cute little girl (outgoing and cute just like Ali) who came up to me and started singing Christmas Carols and I followed her on guitar.  It was cool because I didn't have the music to either, but thanks to my theory training at Chapman, I could figure out what key she was singing in and what the chord progression most likely would be based on traditional western song structure.  It was nice to use my skills so that a little girl could hear herself sing.  Good stuff.

It is GREAT being together with family.  We haven't seen my nephews Jake and Harrison or their dad since the spring of '07.  Their dad, Jon, plays a MEAN guitar.  I am a singer who plays guitar, but he is a true blues guitarist who sings.  Man, is it fun listening to him and playing with him.  Tonight, he taught me "The Rain Song," by Led Zeppelin.  I know that song BY HEART, but could never figure out how to play it.  Turns out it is in a really, really weird tuning.  Again, I really give thanks to my training at Chapman, because I was able to follow him faster than the last time he and I played together in '07.  It was amazing to hear me and my guitar create the magical notes and chords from that song that I have listened to since I was 16.  If you have never heard the song, it is DREAMY and relaxing.  So good.  Once I get it under my fingers, I'll start playing it on my classical guitar and turn it into a relaxation piece at the hospital.  It is so smooth and peaceful.

Jake and Harrison are HUGE!  They have grown SO MUCH since we saw them last.  They are the sweetest kids.  I look forward to horsing around with them in the snow these next few days and going on the Polar Express with them Friday night!  It's just great to be up here.  I'm sure my mom is delighted as well to have us all together under her roof again.  She loves to entertain and she loves having her children together around her, so this is a double bonus for her - for all of us.  It's gonna be a good vacation I can tell!

Possible bad news on the skiing - Purgatory is SOLD OUT of lift tickets.  We are going to investigate another place called Wolf Creek Pass tomorrow for an afternoon session.  If Tracy and Jon can get the kids in a afternoon ski school, we're in, if not... I'm gonna have to find a way to get myself there!  Wish me luck, and of course wish for some fresh snow to fall tonight as well!

Thank you to all that responded last night.  Again, it means the world to us when you comment, even if you just say, "Hi Ringgold family, I/we are still here with you."  As you think about what you are grateful for this holiday season, would you share your favorite "Bella Moment or Bella Memory" with us and the rest of the blog family?  It would be so nice to hear how Bella put a smile on your face or touched you in some way.  That would be the greatest Christmas present to us.

Thanks for being here.

God night.


  1. heaveno!
    greetings from nc! tim, thought you might like to know that i actually fell asleep tonight with the computer on my lap - deja vu???
    glad to hear you are spending christmas with family this year...what a blessing!
    some of my memories of sweet bella are the ones i have thanks to the videos you have posted on-line! my favorite memory is probably how strong that precious little girl was and how she was able to bring so many people together.
    here's wishing you, ang, and ali a wonderful, fun-filled christmas!

    god bless y'all!
    w-s, nc

  2. Hello from downunder and Merry Christmas to you and your family x x my fav Bella memory is her socks of the day, i find myself a little more fussy about my socks these days!
    xx Bee

  3. My favorite Bella stories are any that involve her "mind melting" tricks and looks!!! Thinking of her and you all daily and every night as well! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

  4. Merry Christmas Ringgold family! So glad you made it safe. Our good friends and neighbors (the Duerr's) are also in durango right now with their family too. Not sure how big Durango is but wouldn't it be funny if the two families knew each other.

    Enjoy your holiday and God's peace and blessings always.

    Love - Kim and Steve Okamura

  5. Bella is helping me have FAITH.. That for a long time ive been struggling with. Bella is showing me that whenn I get knocked down I have to keep fighting. Its been a pretty rough last two years and at times I dont want to get up and moving but Bella is helping me with that drive that determination to get up and move again. Bella has blessed my life.
    Merry Christmas Ringgold Family

  6. Glad you made it and that there is snow! Also so glad you get to be with your family!

    Bella has made me try and be a better person - that sweet little angel showed so much strength through all she went through and she has totally inspired me to try and not be full of stress constantly, but to be GRATEFUL!


  7. Good Morning!

    Thanks for writing me the other day, of course I will keep writing and know you get my messages! :)

    Well, I have Bella moments everyday when I think of her. The biggest thing Bella's story has taught me is about giving...

    Hope you have an absolute wonderful time with your family! Merry Christmas!

    Much Love,
    Amanda Schauer

  8. Still here and thinking of you guys as always! Hooray for spending time with family, especially over the holidays! When I think of Bella, I think of how many lives she's touched and changed. I started following her story after BMT, so it's been wonderful to see the pictures and videos - I especially loved the pilates one and any picture of her and Ali together. You can see how much they love one another. I also have a sister who means the world to me, so it's really special to see Ali and Bella in those pictures.

    Love and peace,
    Kim in Durham, NC

  9. Heaveno!

    I'm glad to hear you arrived safe and sound. It sounds like you have a great vacation planned. We are leaving today for our home, Spain. The kids and I are very excited to see our family. We will continue to think of your family and pray for everything you are doing in the world of EB.

    I will never forget Bella's smile, Merry Christmas!

  10. Still following your blog! Love hearing from your family! I just loved Bella's socks! They were ALL FABULOUS! :o)

  11. Hello Ringolds! Up to my chin in holiday prep, but still sending good thoughts and heart-felt prayers for a wonderful Christmas. My oldest came home last night, so I share your Mothers thrill of having all her little birdys in a nest.

    Merry Christmas!
    Scottie Hudson
    Ciro, Ga

  12. I look forward to the sweet picture of Bella that closes ever post. I came along in your journey the last few months of Bella's life and so I didn't 'know her' or picture her like these sweet pictures. It is like getting to 'know' the real Bella! Merry Christmas family! I will be thinking of you and praying for you through this time! Love from Tx where there is never snow! ;) It was nearly 80 yesterday and we are so antsy and excited that the high on Chrismtas is going to be in the 50's! :)

  13. Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

    So glad you all have arrived safely and are enjoying the company of your family. That's the best!

    Among my favorite Bella memories would have to be the socks...those fabulous socks. My favorite ones were the pair that looked like flip-flops with the flower between the toes and the painted toe nails. They always made me smile. Another strong memory would be Bella's eyes. I think I've been struck by them in her pre-BMT pictures. She is always gazing into the camera, dare I say into your soul. I don't think I've ever seen a baby who stared into the camera the way she does. Perhaps that's the "old soul" that I remember Angelique talking about. (I think that's the phrase she used.)

    Take care, sweet family. Happy snowball throwing and skiing!

    A friend in NC

  14. Small world...I am a lurker...from....Durango. I haven't checked the blog in a while and what a surprise i got when I logged on to read this morning! Well you missed all. The rain we've been having congratulations that you are going to get to play in the snow! I'm sorry to hear about purgatory, but wolf creek is an Amazing mountain to ski, my brother actually works there! I am not sure how familiar you are with the area, but try and stop at The Pagosa Hot springs for a little relaxation coming off the mountain.
    My daughter who is two just did the polar express for the second time last night, it is quite the experience, I'm sure you will all have fun! Just curious if your mom lives in Vallecito? I hope you guys enjoy your vacation and that Durango treats you all well! Feel free to contact me if you guys need anything, or have any questions on the area...Amanda at

  15. Glad you made it safe! Here is to finding a slope or two while in the winter wonder land!! and hey if you ever find a free second because we all know you are NOT a busy person (Just kidding! :) ) you should post a video of you guys playing that Led Zeppelin song! that would be sweet. If not we understand. Hope you guys have a very Merry Christmas!! Enjoy the family.

  16. As you know, this year Angelique's team at Verizon Wireless all decided to donate to PUCK instead of exchanging gifts. The year before, we contributed to one of our teammates so that she and her family could attend training to get a dog that predicts when her severely disabled son is about to have a seizure. A few Christmases ago, the team adopted the family that I volunteer for. I sent the following out to the team yesterday, after receiving some good news regarding the family:

    "Those of you who have been on the team for a long time know that I volunteer through Goodwill for a family with several disabilities and severe financial need. In the past, our team has “adopted” this family in lieu of a gift exchange, and it’s always one of my goals to make sure that the family has a nice Christmas.

    On December 3rd, I took Noah, Noel and Robin to the Columbus Symphony’s Holiday Pops Concert. Goodwill provides us with free tickets for this, and it’s something we go to every year. One of the highlights of the show (which is pretty much the same every year), is when they draw the name of one child from the audience to come up on stage and conduct the song “Sleigh Ride.” To be eligible, you have to be in the 3rd – 12th grade, and you sign up for the drawing during intermission. There are usually several hundred children in the audience, so it’s kind of a big deal to win. The winner is taken backstage and given a 5-minute tutorial on how to conduct. They are then brought out onstage and given a baton that they get to keep after they conduct the song.

    Noah is in sixth grade and Noel is in fourth grade. They’ve both been attending the show since before they were old enough to get in the drawing, and it’s been a goal of both of them to win the honor of conducting. Well, you’ve probably guessed it by now – Noah won this year! He went up on stage and was all business. Noah is autistic, and one of the blessings of his condition is that he really has no concept of how other people perceive him. The concept of stage fright is totally foreign to him.

    I ran up to the front of the theater during his number and managed to get one decent photo with my camera phone that doesn’t have a great camera (or a flash). I posted this picture on the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s Facebook page, along with a little blurb thanking Goodwill for the tickets, explaining Noah’s disability and that his mother is blind, and telling the Symphony that getting to conduct was the fulfillment of a long-time goal for Noah.

    Today, I got a call from the Goodwill volunteer coordinator. The head of the Symphony had read about Noah, and the Symphony wants to adopt the Tinnes Family for Christmas this year! I just finished giving the coordinator all of the details about what the family likes and needs. I’m thrilled! I don’t know exactly what the Symphony has in mind, but it sounds like it will be nice!"

    How's that for some divine providence? Our VZW team's resources were needed for PUCK this year, but there was still enough abundance in the universe for it to open up and provide a joyous Christmas to a family with a blind mother, and autistic 6th grader, a nine-year-old girl, and a partially paralyzed father.

    Oh yeah, and the dog that our teammate's family got last year? A couple of month's ago he started barking and jumping around (way out of character for this low-key animal)- My teammate looked over at her son, and she was able to get to him right before he was about to fall down face first in the throws of a seizure! The dog did it's job!

    Enjoy your trip and time with your family. Merry Christmas! - Angela Ulrich, Dublin, Ohio

  17. I have so many wonderful memories of Bella. But what I loved most about her was how happy she was ALWAYS! You would never know she was in pain. She was always smiling and seemed to have the best disposition whenever we saw her. It was truly inspiring. Bella has also helped me become a better person and the best mother I can be. Thank you Bella! We love and miss you. I think of you everytime I see the butterflies in Everlee's room.
    Have a Merry Christmas Ringgolds. We are always with you!
    The Vanderbooms

  18. Bella's olds soul, and strength inspire me everyday. I honestly think of her everyday. Beautiful Bella.

  19. Still here and LOVING the photos of your little girl before BMT! What a precious little person.

  20. Im still here as well reading everyday as always!


  21. Good Morning-So glad your journey was safe and that the snow has landed at Nanny's. My favorite Bella moment was at Joannie's house right before you left for MN. The kids had made these little frogs out of paper that had a birthday party blowout on the mouth (those little things kids blow on and the end shoots out then curls back up). Braeden was sitting there blowing it in Bella's face and she was cracking up. That moment is embedded in my brain and I take myself there when i get sad about Bella. You, Ang, Bella, and Ali have made such an impact in my life. I haven't had a chance to tell you and Ang in person because I get too emotional about it. I just don't feel it's the time or place as we are running in to pick up the kiddies. So instead I choose to convey my feelings through your blog. Like I have said before, I feel like God has sent Bella into all of all lives for a reason. I feel like the Lord sent her to me to remind me to LIVE LIFE, to stop and enjoy the moments whether it is good or bad and to stop being angry about my issues with my Dad's death. My "woe is me" days are slowly becoming a memory and GRATITUDE is becoming my future. I was reading some of the previous posts and was really touched by the post from Ang's coworker on her Verizon team. To hear that they donate instead of exchanging gifts really touched my heart. I am going to suggest that at my office for next year. Wow-there are some great people in that company. It's just another reason to make me stay with Verizon as my phone carrier. I have been a loyal customer since 1998 and was about to get rid of them when the iphone came out. Then I read one of your blogs from the summer that mentioned your awesome insurance through Ang's job. Then you mentioned Verizon and I thought I am staying with them because I know they take care of their employees. AWESOME!!!! So I sit here with my old palm phone waiting patiently for Verizon to carry the iphone (-: even if they never get it, i'm staying! Well i hope you all have a great holiday. We will be thinking of you all and sending our prayers.

    Peace & Love,
    The Davidson's

  22. My thoughts are still with your family and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. I so love seeing the pictures of Bella every day, but I couldn't help but see just a hint of pain in her eyes in this picture. It brings tears to my eyes but peace to my heart knowing she isn't hurting any more. Sending my love, Lisa

  23. To the wonderful Ringgolds,

    Season's Greetings to all of you!

    My special Bella moment? You know what, I can tell you that the day I first commented (at the end of August) was a moment of truth for me - and my becoming more directly in touch with you has reaped such rewards for me.

    I was scared and felt intrusive, but you were so generous with your gratitude that I think all of us commenters soon acknowledged that we were indeed a team, each and all of us giving something and also taking something beneficial from your blog.

    This has made me realise how we can all help one another by typing away on our numerous laps in numerous countries across the world. I feel I have gained new and wonderful friends, and much joy, from the most difficult of circumstances: your beautiful and spirited daughter's tough journey.

    I'll always love the photo of her in your hat. Always. On the plane, on her way, getting things going, moving on. The look on her face seems to say, 'Are you coming on this big adventure or not?'

    I choose to think of her carrying on that journey, keeping all of us, her blog family, close to her as we each (in many different ways) honour her memory by being more alert in our lives, more generous with our time, more imaginative in our efforts to raise money to research EB, and ever and always, from now on, enriched by that funny face throwing us that
    quizzical smile. She matters.

    Bless her fabulous socks, and thanks to each and all of you wonderful Ringgolds and indeed all the now familiar names who come here to spend time and talk and laugh and remember and console and confess and just be among friends.

    My rooftop is particularly wet tonight - but I would otherwise yell out a hearty Merry Christmas to all of you.

    Fondly, always,


  24. Howdy - still think of y'all and lift you up.
    Hope y'all have a beautiful Christmas filled with love and peace.


  25. I would have to be with Susan on my favorite Bella memories. The socks of the day and those oh so amazing eyes. I love Bellas tree! All the socks are simply perfect. I found a pair of tights that had the same "feel" to them (they looked like they had shoes on them) and bought them for Clara. I smile every time I put them on her because they remind me of Bella.

    I seriously asked Derek if we could make a trip in I want to go to Bellas birthday. I wish it were just a bit closer. :) So if you do a webcast...I would be perfect.

    Ok cutting this short...there is a delay between my typing and it appearing on the screen...a tad annoying. ;) Have a fun and safe time in the snow.

    Sending my love to all and sweet kisses to Ali.

    Denise WI

  26. We are still thinking of you and praying for you daily. A couple of days ago, my daughter (Julie) and I were shopping. She made friends with another little girl who was shopping with her grandmother. Julie asked the little girl what her name was and the girl replied, "Bella." I couldn't help but smile and think of your sweet Bella. I shared with the grandmother a little about your Bella, your blog, and EB. I had a card of Tripp's in my wallet so I showed her his picture. I asked her to please pray for you and your family. Thank you for continuing to share your lives with us.
    Peace and Prayers!
    Merry Christmas,
    Ponchatoula, LA

  27. I have many 'Bella Moments' that are so special to me. Our moments range from smiling with each other @ Joanie's to seeing the butterfly blanket I sent her on the daily pictures. Thank you so much for allowing me into your lives....Im overjoyed knowing that we will stand hand in hand the rest of our lives....looking forward to many more family dinners, disneyland trips, and etc.


  28. Ok, so I know I'm super late in commenting but I just got around to reading this entry. I love your story of playing guitar for everyone at Long Beach airport. That is a TINY airport and I'm sure they were very pleased to have someone like you there to keep their minds off of everything else. Good Job Tim!

    Some great memories I have of Bella are just ones from when she was in the hospital. I never had the pleasure of knowing her before BMT but everyday when I would read your posts about her she made me smile and gave me inspiration. She was SO STRONG and such a FIGHTER! She strengthened my faith in God and the power of prayer and positive thinking! She was such a GIFT TO ME! Thanks for that Ringgold family.

    Lots of Love,
    Amber, Craig, Malorie, and Liam
    The McLaughlin Family, CA