Saturday, December 26, 2009

Update & Best of 2009

Update: Ginny is officially off of bedrest- after 109 days (but who's counting? me). It is great news on all fronts. She is now at 35 weeks pregnant. All looks great, and we are thankful for all of the prayers & well-wishes.

It has lately become common practice to randomly look at each other and ask, "are we ready for what is coming?" Of course we are & of course not. There's an idea- till now, unspoken, as not to jinx it- that we both harbor, a thought that this baby cannot be a worse sleeper than the first 8 months with our resident ankle biter. However, this line of thinking never helps, so we're just trying to gear up for what comes. And we cannot wait to meet the one who is coming.

BEST OF 2009

It's that time- our second annual "Best of" list. Remember, something only needs to be new to us in this last calendar year to make eligible to appear below. Also, we would love for you to add anything that made your highlight reel for the year, it's a good way to be aware of things we may have missed.

Disclaimer: It must be said, that we typically pride ourselves in exploring areas not inhabited by everyone else; however, this year- somewhere between lack of sleep with a baby Hazel & bed rest- we had less time to explore- or read or think.

Drops Like Stars (Rob Bell)
This book stole thoughts from my head on the subjects of pain & creativity, and, in the process, said them better than I could. Warning, it's a big picture-book type of book & quite awkward to pull out at the coffee shop. But well worth pushing through the embarrassment.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (Donald Miller)
Donald Miller sees life as story, and helps you do the same. I enjoyed the opportunity to go see him talk about the book in Little Rock, and was encouraged to live a story worth telling.

Manhood for Amateurs (Michael Chabon)
The Pulitzer-prize winning novelist takes on being a father, son, and husband. If you're looking for something found at a Christian bookstor
e, keep looking. Manhood contains superb prose from a guy taking the time to convey the weight and wonder of being a man.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Shaffer & Barrows)
A historical novel set on an island in the English Channel.
Ginny enjoyed this detour from her normal buffet of books.

Currently Reading (M):
Free (Chris Anderson)
The Year of Magical Thinking (Joan Didion)


Ginny serves as the musical gateway for our household. The bands and musicians below seemed to join the mainstays, making their way into the rotation that serves as the soundtrack to our

Owl City. Ocean Eyes: With lyrics as deep as a kiddie pool, these guys seem to prove that fun music can go a long way.

Kings of Leon. Only by the Night: Radio has managed to wear them out, but I think I liked it at one time.

Mat Kearney. City of Black & White:
I kind of miss the rapping,but another great cd from a guy who managed to spell Matt wrong.

Aaron Ivey. Between the Beauty & Chaos: Changing the world, and singing about it.

The Swell Season. Strict
Joy (+ Once soundtrack) The duo that won an oscar for the Once soundtrack has a new offering.

TV/ Film:

Foyle's War: Some friends introduced us to this crime-solving series set in 194o's Britain. We've been waiting on Netflix to send us the next one every since.

500 Days of Summer: Well done movie about getting over a girl.

Once: Older movie we had never seen. Enjoyed the music more than the movie, but both are good.


Flip Camera: A Christmas gift I can't wait to enjoy. I'm sure I'll be passing on some footage.

Google: You may have heard of it. But this year I went google for calendar, docs, contacts, and more. It allowed me to sync all content on the Iphone and various computers in ways that others promised but never delivered.

Words with Friends: Iphone app that we have enjoyed over the holidays. Basically, Scrabble on your phone playing against people you know. Makes you feel really smart & then really stupid two minutes later.

Skype Video: This has proven useful in various business endeavors as well as allowing us to see our new nephew for the first time. And it's free.

Twitter: We like it, and it forces brevity.

Whrrl: Tell a story using pictures and various other means for text. I hope to actually use this one a little more in the year ahead, but I like the concept.


EQ3: After 5 months without a couch due to multiple debacles, probably our bar is set pretty low. But we have enjoyed our couch and rocking chair from here.


Due to months of bed-rest, we are up on the periodicals, and Ginny is capable and available for being your lifeline for all things magazine related.

Dwell: Modern furnishings, great photos and architectural gems.

Atomic Ranch: Mid-century modern interiors and exteriors.

Relevant: Always eager to flip through the only magazine to which I have a subscription.

Ready Made: A do it yourself mag for hipsters, granolas, and posers.

Oxford American: Great southern writing, music, and topics. All from the campus of my alma mater.

Hazel's List:

Moo, Baa, La La La. Sandra Boynton
any ball


This list- in pieces- is quite shallow, but taken as a whole the collage of the above, as well as various new memories, come together to represent quite a year.

We bought a house. Watched Hazel grow (and grow). Traveled to NYC & Petoskey, MI (among others). Found out we were pregnant with our third. Survived spending a quarter of the year with mom on bed-rest. And leave it looking forward to another.

An amazing year, indeed.

four going on five

MM: We passed on our typical Louisiana road trip due to Ginny's current state of 34-weeks ripe. It turned out well, as we were able to enjoy some great family fun, as well as Fayetteville's first white Christmas in quite some time (3-4 inches). Ginny is doing well, and feeling very...pregnant. Bedrest has pretty much dissipated back to normal life. We have an appointment Monday, and baby & mom are doing great by all indicators- going on strict bedrest at 19 weeks, and now having arrived at 34 weeks is something we are celebrating this season. This "little" one is on track to beat out its big brother & sister in the birth weight department.

Hazel did not quite grasp Christmas yet, but it was really fun to see her running around- excited about something- because mom & dad's inflection let her know she should be. With some help, she managed to open each package and explore the contents with unmatched curiosity. Four stockings watched over it all- perched atop the fireplace. It will be five when Christmas comes around again. And it is this fact that calls me back from all the trappings of a typical holiday season. God put on flesh and came as a baby, overcoming death and offering hope in place of my ache for an empty stocking.

It is our hope that you have a meaningful holiday season.
Our Christmas card said it all as we approach the New Year...

"This year we remember the One sent to earth as a we ourselves:
remember one.
enjoy one.
anticipate one."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

grass is greener...a great update

wanted to update you guys on the latest around the mooney household...

life has once again drastically changed. at my appointment 2 weeks ago, things looked really good. so good, in fact, that i got permission to be up for 4 hours a day &...
wait for it...
here comes the real kicker...
take care of Hazel all by myself!
i don't think words could accurately describe how great this is, so i'm not even gonna attempt it. just know, it's really really great. life feels pretty normal, which is anything but normal. it's fantastic, superb, sensational, beautiful, wonderful...well, you get the's as if i have a brand new lease on life. i have thought lately that everyone should be put on full bedrest at some time or another in their life because since i've been "up" it seems like the grass is greener & the sky is bluer & i honestly LOVE doing all these mundane & routine things. don't get me wrong, the immobility for 10 weeks has made my being up a bit tiring & after about 5pm your great grandma could destroy me in a foot race. but i'll take tired over immobile anyday!!
we had another appointment today & things continue to look good. & we continue to pray & rejoice that the Lord is still knitting #3 together within me. exploding with gratefulness to such a creative Maker.

we'll keep on keeping ya posted.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gender Poll

For the first time there is a consensus on gender in the Mooney home. We guess boy. What do you think? Place on a bet on your left. Who knows, the majority of guessers were right with Hazel.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful for this gal...

Here are some recent photos from my phone.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Because my wife has threatened to out me if I did not mention something, here I go. I am leaving tomorrow headed to Tampa, Florida to attend a banquet put on by Family First. I will be receiving an award named after Tony Dungy's father (Wilbur L. Dungy). I am more than flattered and honestly humbled.

It is a bit overwhelming, as it feels somewhat like being handed the World Series Championship in the first inning of game 1. With that said, it is a great testament to my son and my God.

Ginny disagrees, but I feel as if I forfeit any dad status by leaving her and Hazel in their current state. I'll try to keep some updates coming on Twitter. Let me know if you have any good questions for Tony or Max Lucado.

The leash is longer

MM: At our Dr.'s appointment last week, after 9 weeks of complete bed rest, Ginny was given the green light to get off the couch for "1 to 2 hours a day." Needless to say, she is quite happy with this turn of events; she was most excited to be able to cook a meal.

Ginny still cannot be left alone with Hazel; so, her life changing freedom hours have not equated to much change on my end. Our friends and family are a constant at our house. They've got to be tired of us, but they show no signs of giving up yet.

Twenty-eight weeks down, and each week that passes with no delivery is a great thing. We are deeply immersed in what for us has been a 7 month conversation- what will we name this little guy or gal? The list is narrowing, and no we're not telling you.

Obviously, I have been a little quiet as for my take on this whole bed rest journey. There's plenty to say, but very little opportunity to sit down and write it. For me, it pretty much all boils down to an epic lesson in how unbelievably selfish I can be. Your wife on bed rest pretty much forces you to be the guy you wish you were- you serve your wife & you get to be the dad that you always hoped you could be. So, in practice, I am doing the stuff that saints are made of. However, I would quite prefer to perform these righteous acts without all the frustration, fatigue, and mental cussing. I'm doing all the right things, but struggling to do it excellently.

I pretty much cannot relate to my male peers these days. They want to talk fantasy football & razorback victories while I sit wondering why she woke up at 5am and contemplating adding another snack before putting her to bed. The ongoing joke is that I only lack mammary glands. I gravitate to working mothers and look for opportunities to quiz them on their child's caloric intake.

And I love it. I really do. I love being such a vital part of Hazel's life. I know this season will not last forever. And when it is gone, I will miss it sorely. It is this perspective that leaves me most frustrated when I am not enjoying the process of my current status. I know there is a beautiful fragrance to cherish here, but I smell dirty diapers.

As for Hazel, she is quite a trooper. She's walking, laughing and exerting her will on the world. She's not unaware of what is going on. My getting out the door has become something like an olympic event. Gold medals are awarded when I slip out unnoticed and tears are avoided. And gold medals are a rarity.

The current season of life seems like one of survival for all three of us. But all of it is such a great reminder of lessons learned in days past. We're making it. And baby's coming!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And the leaves keep talking


It has been a while. Ginny's bed rest has not really allowed much time for blogging- or going to the bathroom for that matter. She has a Dr.'s appointment tomorrow. It has now been 6 weeks and 5 days of bed rest, but who's counting?

Me, that's who. February, the month she's due, seems more like a speck on a distant horizon than a reality, almost a little cruel to actually dwell on. But getting through a day is a victory, and a good thing for baby #3.

I always prepare scripted answers to questions I know I will receive in multiples of ten. This process, while admittedly uncreative, allows for the fact that I am prone to uninhibitedly say what I think and this habit often leaves me apologizing to someone for something. So, I craft a good enough reply, and if the first recipient seems pleased, I go with it. In order to give you a window into our world, here are a few of the ones dealing with bed rest.

> Life looks wildly different than it did 6 weeks ago. The way we do every single thing as a family has changed.

> For me it is completely a a physical thing. There is more to do than I can. And I have no time to feel anything because the trash needs to go out, Hazel is crying, and we probably need to eat something tonight. For Ginny, it is completely an emotional thing. And the fact that what we are walking through looks so different, is what makes it feel like your not going through it together.

> No Ginny is not bouncing off the walls. She is actually handling the down time well. Somehow, she manages to have plenty to do, all from her perch on the couch. But what has been really hard for her is not getting to mother Hazel the way she would like. Watching other people meet the needs of your daughter is not fun.

There are plenty more actually, but you get the idea. I just wanted to give a brief update on bed rest. Again, our family and friends have made it possible for Ginny to do what she is supposed to- sit and be still. We cannot thank them enough.

However, today is not really about bed rest. Today is about honoring two of my favorite lives: my son and my wife.

Today is Ginny's 30th birthday and the 3 yr marker for Eliot leaving this earth.
Today is a special day.

I hoped that forcing myself to write on this day would help me grapple with what I feel and think about a day that is always an awkward tight rope walk between deep pain and inexpressible joy.

Tears fall like leaves around this time each year. Fayetteville is on fire.
Our hometown is covered with hues of red, orange, and yellow. As if the trees were trying to tell us something. A recital for those who will listen. I devise reasons to get out of the house just so Hazel and I can meander through streets- the ones with real trees, just before and after the suburbs. I don't even try to describe the brilliance to Ginny because she will know she is missing out.

Far and away, this is my favorite time of the year. The intensity of the colors are matched only by the thoughts of my son that come so effortlessly and so often. Thus, this season always come bearing gifts for us. And I love it for that.

Ginny broke down this week on a friend who asked what we would do for this day. Nothing seems appropriate or enough. How does one approach a day that changed everything? Not to mention, it is Ginny's birthday. And before you wish that weren't so, just know that there is something beautiful about that fact that I cannot quite put to words.

So, defying doctor's orders, I took her out today. We visited the grave and ate an Italian lunch. But most of all, we just drove around and looked up at the leaves.

We talked about how Eliot's life has changed us. Of how God has worked enough redemption that we can breathe. We can see green peaking through ashes. In fact, just being witness to this is one of the main changes. For we desire to be a part of God's working redemption in the lives of others.

And the leaves keep talking. He is making all things new.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


october is a great month. leaves are changing & falling. football is in the air. pumpkins on the porch & pumpkin bread, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins in the kitchen. lately, when folks come over to help bedrest life happen they have on jeans & boots & scarves. everyone is buying candy & working on their halloween costumes.
and...october is when hazel was born, when i was born & when eliot went home to be with Jesus.
yep, it's a big month around here.

hazel turned 1 last wednesday & on saturday we had a little party at our house. bedrest didn't stop the fun. i made a banner and then bossed my great mom & great mother-in-law on all the other details. friends, family, tons of kids, pbj sandwiches, balloons, cake and the wonderful chaos that the combination of those things bring. hazel even got to try her first piece of cake. to say she loved it is a serious understatement. she looked at me, with that serious look she so often wears, as if to say "really? you knew about this? and you're just now letting me try it". she devoured it. started by picking the icing off, then grabbed the whole piece in her hand & ate off of it one bite at a time. all the while never unclenching the fist out of fear of losing this greatness.
later that day, when most of the guests had left, matt & i gave her the gift we had gotten her: her first baby doll. i've never seen her play with a doll before & wasn't sure what she'd think. it was love at first sight. all hugs & kisses for the doll.

all first birthday parties are special, no matter who the kid or what their family. but for me, this one was quite special. it wasn't exactly what i pictured...many of the fun & crazy traditions i'd like to start for Mooney family birthdays will have to wait till next year, when my world is a bit larger than my couch. the truth is that hazel will not remember her first birthday, but i sure will. at one point i looked around the room & the scene looked particularly familiar. some new faces, but many of the same faces that knew & loved eliot & celebrated his birthdays with us, were joining us once again for a birthday celebration. yes, it was quite a special day for quite a special gal.

now for lots of pictures:

Friday, October 9, 2009

impossible love

there's a line from a movie i have never seen that my dear friend often quotes when we are talking about being moms. the mom in this movie looks at her daughter, sighs, & says "impossible love". if you are a mom, my guess is that resonates with you. how can you even describe what loving your kid looks like? what it feels like? it bursts, aches, frustrates, rejoices, thanks, tires, energizes. it can make you feel crazy one moment & more sane than you've ever felt the next. i think about this often as i attempt to mother eliot while missing him. hazel while currently on the couch. #3 while not yet having met him/her.
i think that there is a lot of mommy refining taking place here on this couch. i don't pretend to totally understand all that He is teaching me. but what i do know is that i am not the mom i long to be and it has nothing to do with this bedrest journey.

for about the first 3 weeks of bedrest i didn't have our camera. i wasn't totally sure where i last had it & asking someone to search for the camera was low on the list of all the millions of things other people are daily doing for us. the other day a friend brought his fancy camera by for us to borrow. i am beyond grateful. here are some of the latest pics taken by a mom who loves her kids with that impossible love...



a little...well, a lot...of bonding time with dad lately

side ponytail (& when mom's on bedrest, pants are totally optional)

Friday, October 2, 2009

thirty thanks

A friend of mine keeps a blog completely of lists…and I love it. Not sure why, but it intrigues me and even when the topic is seemingly not that interesting, it is really interesting. So this post is a little random list of some of my most recent bedrest observations. I do not presume that this is interesting, but I guess you never know.

Things in my normal life that I usually take for granted, but bedrest has reminded me that I am really really really grateful for:

1. An incredible husband (think I’m just saying that? wrong, see previous post).
2. 2 incredible kids. (almost 3)
3. Serving Matt.
4. Caring for Hazel. (see #11-17)
5. How many people I know & love.
6. How many people I know & love that are really fun to hang out with.
7. How many people I know & love that are really fun to hang out with & go out of their way to stop by my house.
8. The windows in my living room.
9. The view out the window from my living room. (trees, leaves falling, clouds, sun, squirrels)
10. Where I live. (Close enough to the university to hear ballgames, frat parties, etc.
11. Bathing Hazel.
12. Feeding Hazel.
13. Holding Hazel.
14. Dancing around the living room Hazel.
15. Playing with Hazel.
16. Changing Hazel’s diapers.
17. Swinging at the park with Hazel.
18. I can read.
19. I can see.
20. I can smell.
21. I can think…well, most of the time.
22. Cooking.
23. Walking.
24. Books.
25. Driving.
26. Restaurants.
27. Grocery shopping.
28. Cleaning. (this one is so shocking)
29. Shoes. (I guess more specifically I’m thankful for typically having a reason to wear them)
30. i get to be a part of God making another person! May I never overlook this gift...amazing!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

the latest & the greatest

the latest:
so what i affectionately call the "bedrest journey" continues at the mooney household. we went in to the doctor last week & there was no change with the placenta previa. we left there with a better understanding of what is going on, since the info received before pretty much was in the midst of a scary unexpected trip to the hospital. at this appointment, we were able to sit & ask our doctor (side note: this incredible, God-send woman who delivered eliot & hazel & has walked through a lot with us) to explain further what happened & what is the skinny on the situation. the short of it is that there are 2 things that make this placenta previa a bit precarious...1. how early in the pregnancy it is (i am almost 21 weeks) & 2. that there has already been hemorrhaging. so i continue to sit & we day by day are learning a completely new way to do life with mom on the couch. more on this later...but for now, the real reason i got on here...

the greatest
he hands me a cup of water & i spot her drool on his arm. i lay here & he glances my way while rushing through our house with her in his arms. his eyes are tired, but it would take a lot for him to actually admit his exhaustion. he pushes through the unique challenges of our new way of doing life with such humility, determination, & love. at the same time, he's honest in the difficult moments. he schedules the baby's week with moms-day-out, grandparents, friends, & sitters so he can attempt to work & oh, i don't know, make a living in the midst of this. he comes home from work. he lays on the floor so she can crawl over him, around him & then up to his face. they laugh together & play for a while. he empties the dishwasher, then fills it. all the while with the little girl pulling on the leg of his jeans that really need to be thrown in the wash. he prepares my dinner, he prepares her dinner. he feeds her, bathes her, puts her to bed, then actually feeds himself. he picks up from her dinner, sweeps the millions of cheerios from underneath her highchair, then does more dishes, then a little laundry, then putting away the toys.

all the while, i sit & i watch. he does that which i currently can not. i watch him do the routine daily things with her that i took for granted & now miss terribly. i watch him serve me & wonder what it now looks like for me to be his wife when all i've ever known is what i now can not do. it's only a short while. in my head i know that, but my heart is having a hard time adjusting to my role as a mom & wife completely redefined...even if it's only a short while. i wonder a lot. my mind goes all kinds of places & most of these are places that blur the picture before me.
in front of my very eyes is something spectacular that i've been too immersed in myself to see.
yes, it's matt.
yes, it's the greatest, out-of-this-world daddy.
yes, it's the greatest husband who relentlessly loves his wife.
but really, when the picture focuses just a little, i see that it's actually Jesus. it's been Him all along.

Matt's birthday was a week ago. All that I had planned for his birthday wasn't possible. Therefore, from his wife on his birthday, he received, for the first time ever...nothing. So this post is a little insight into our lives as of late, but is more than that, it's a birthday present of sorts. A "thank you". A "love you". if you so choose to comment, wish him a belated birthday with me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

the Walmarts post

MM: I insisted that we give some sort of update on life even though Ginny just wanted to release some apparent, pent-up anger. I am glad she is writing. I am currently happy about all things that occupy her while simultaneously involving little to no movement.

Read the post prior to this one if you did not know that Ginny has been placed on bed rest. She is doing well- although the most difficult part by far, for her, has been the mandatory hands-off approach to parenting Hazel. I am tired, but smiling. Yes, we’ve bonded. Hazel always loves the hand that feeds her. Yes, I have had lots of help from great friends & family.

We go to the Dr. in order to check on everything on Wednesday. Until then, tell them what you think about it, Gin…

GM: So most posts on here are quite… well…they’re sort of serious. We like to talk about all that Eliot’s life taught us & continues to teach us & for both of us there is a lot of healing & processing in the midst of that.
When I was entertaining the idea of starting a little blog, Matt would have none of it. He said, “Why would you do that when we can blog together?!” I explained that I wasn’t exactly a “writer” like him & I wanted to just post about the mundane & silly & everyday mom stuff & not worry about how it’s written. He said that was perfectly fine & even encouraged it. Well, I have yet to do that…til now…

I don’t really like Walmart. That statement may seem like no big deal to most of you, but you see, we live in Walartland. We are very close to Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, AR.
The point is we live in Walmartland. Which is why, upon moving here, I quickly discovered that my days of shopping at a nice little Kroger or Albertsons or Harris Teeter were over. I remember this stark realization well. I needed asiago cheese for a delicious & easy zucchini casserole. Walmart #1: no asiago. Walmart #2: no asiago.
Not long after this experience & others similar, I decided I had to put an end to the frustration & learn to deal with this current predicament. So, now, out of the goodness of my heart, I share my tips for dealing with the megamart.

1. Always park close to the cart return. It doesn’t matter how far way you park. I my estimation, 9 out of 10 times, you are GOING to park far away at Walmart. Don’t fight it, just go with it. But if you park close to the cart return, you simply load your groceries & essentially you’re done.
2. Park near the entrance where you will end up, rather than where you start, which requires you to…
3. Have some semblance of a plan. Ok, ask anyone who knows me & they will testify that I am one of the furthest people from type A that you’ll ever meet. But, ya’ll this seriously helps me survive walmart. I organize my list into 5 categories:
a. household (all non grocery, like toothpaste, batteries, the things that take forever to find)
b. dry groceries
c. dairy
d. meat/freezer
e. produce/bread
I go in that order & don’t judge, just try it & tell me if you don’t spend WAY less time in Walmart than you used to.
4. When deciding a check-out, don’t just go by the shortest line, look at the actual checker. Sweet grandma Pearline may have the shortest line, but you’ll be in that line all day. Just make your best guess on who is fast & it won’t matter how long the line is. In my doing this, I have made a great friend. I’ve now known her about a year, we’ve actually grabbed lunch together. I could write a whole post on how great she is, but that’s for another time. She told me to...
5. Go to Walmart on Tuesday or Wednesday morning. My friend said this is a great time to go because everything is re-stocked from the weekend & is at it’s freshest. I’ve also discovered that there are very few people there at that time! If you can’t go then, whatever you do, just don’t go on Saturday or Sunday people, it’s just frustration waiting to happen.

So there ya go. And it’s not even Christmas.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

the latest happenings

GM: Very rarely in this life are we still. Quiet. Calm. Listening. The merry-go-round of life just goes & goes, only faster, never slower & all you hear is the hum of it going round & round & the loud background circus music. I'm nearly 5 months pregnant with an 11 month daughter, a dreamer husband, a little small business, friends that have not been called back, a home full of empty walls & a floor that needs to be repaired & laundry piled up...well, you get the idea. The carousel has been spinning & spinning for quite some time now and quite abruptly this week it stopped. It didn't just slow down, but rather came to a screeching halt.
Thursday night we had quite a scare. Essentially Matt & I thought we lost this baby. We rush to the hospital, barely breathing, praying, but not really knowing even how to pray. The doctor did an ultrasound & there it was...a strong beating heart & a healthy baby bopping around within my belly. The miracle of life is always amazing, but in the midst of all that fear & emotion it was truly beautiful, truly miraculous. Matt & I stood in awe & amazement. I am still in awe.
They found what's called a placenta previa. Essentially my placenta is in the wrong place & had caused hemorrhaging. It's a pretty common thing & we left a few hours later with instructions of bed rest. Not the kind of bed rest where you just take it easy, but the kind where you only move to go the bathroom & shower. Not sure how long this will be the case, but for now my life's present assignment is to care for & help Jesus make this baby by being still. Most respond with "oh I'm so sorry" or I even got a "you're gonna be SO bored!". But a little bedrest is nothing to be sorry about. We rejoice. In light of all we had thought on that breathless ride to the hospital; bedrest, ya know, is just no big deal. So we rejoice. I rest. We hope. I watch the beauty of a father & husband serving, loving recklessly. We pray a prayer of thanks & also of humbly asking God to protect this baby & my body.

It's amazing to me how true stillness can cause such stirring. It seems that as my body slows, my mind speeds. Nothing is without purpose & I feel as if my current quiet is no different. I anxiously await glimpses into Jesus' intent for my heart in this.
As I await & rest, I encourage you to join me & see what you may be missing out on. If you just thought, "I don't have time", then you really are the one that should join me...if you really think about it, you're not that busy.

Also, this bedrest may make me do crazy post more on here. I apologize ahead of time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fall is Upon Us

GM: Every year around this time something happens in our house. It's called college football. Matt & I both get a little excited about college football & specifically our teams. You see, we each cheer on different teams. Matt is an Arkansas Razorback (unranked) fan & I am an Alabama Crimson Tide (preseason #5) fan. Which to most married couple is no big deal. But to us, two avid fans of two different SEC teams, this is a big deal. All kinds of trash talk & making fun of every facet of the other's football program goes flying through our house. We love the banter & have so much fun with it.
The thing about the way it generally is around here is that I just happen to be the one who dresses Hazel on a daily basis. So, despite numerous Razorback apparel hanging in her closet due to the little fact that we live in Fayetteville, AR, you can see below what she ended up wearing last Saturday. We sang the Bama fight song & said ROLLLLL TIDDDEEEE all day & it was a blast!

things I am enjoying lately...

Ginny & I have started listening to some church history cd's that Tommy Nelson taught on back in 1999. I'm on the third cd, and really enjoying it thus far. I have the cd's, but I am pretty sure you could listen here.

Also, enjoy this video. I try to surround myself with people more talented than myself. If you know me, this is not a hard goal; however, I have succeeded on many levels. This is just an example of one. With no further ado, hit it Ben.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Donald Miller talks about his new book

(Not so) Weekly Interrogative

Haven't posted a question in a while, here goes:

I recently realized that I basically go to the same 5 websites. Although I am perfectly fine with this, I figure I am missing out on some good stuff. So, favorite website we may not know of?

Comment and let me know, but:
#1 don't be trying to sell me something
#2 and no dirties

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


MM: (now that Ginny & I blog together, at least in theory, this indicates that this is Matt writing).

Here's some lines I wrote recently.

I know this is a bit different tack than is normal, but if you know me, then you know that abnormal is the norm.

Not the mid-life crisis of our fathers:

it’s always funny till it’s you.
seeing others struggle with the quickened gait of father time.
slow down old man.

am I doing enough? slowing down enough?
and what precise number of daughter hand holds will suffice?
I have found no way to do all the things that matter.

I want to feed the poor.
travel the world.
raise her to know love.

I want to date my wife.
succeed at work.
meet all needs I know of.

but that filthy dog needs a bath.
and we surpassed the oil sticker 700 miles ago.

I am not battling male-pattern baldness.
rather, will my few moments be remarkable?
I despise whiter teeth or the cliché red convertible.
but aspire to do things that matter.

when my box door closes
will the few lines of text reserved for me
refer to a pristine terrier and a smooth running engine?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

She says it...

better than I could.

Go and win some of Ginny's jewelry.

Ginny is headed to Louisiana this weekend. That means me and the baby girl on a daddy-daughter weekend. Speaking of, Hazel is crawling, teething, and growing. Things have been a little wild, but good.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


By way of catch up: Ginny is still feeling the effects of making a person, but looking forward to feeling better here in a couple weeks. While on the subject of making things, Hazel is currently getting in 4 teeth (she already has 2). For those without children, suffice it to say that she apparently is not excited about this occurrence and thought she was managing just fine without them. She is also pulling up and desiring that any and everyone hold her by the hands while she practices walking.

Pulling up. Falling down. Getting mad. Being cute. This is pretty much the cycle of Hazel's awake time. You've got to love it.

There was a story on Eliot and 99 balloons today in our local paper. You never know what is going to actually show up in print with these things, and we were thankful to the author for capturing the spirit of how we feel.


Below are the words that I spoke at Avery's funeral. I sought and received Shane & Carissa's approval to post these words. We have often been asked what we would say to families in such a situation. Thus, it is our hope that posting these words may, in some way, encourage others under the same plight, as well as assist those who surround them.


What does one say- when there is nothing to say?

We read in Job that his friends traveled to be near & to comfort him in a time of great loss. And upon their arrival they simply sat with him in silence for 7 days.
That seems appropriate for today. Words do not.

However, I desire today to simply and frankly speak to Shane & Carissa (and to you too Kaitlyn). And I also desire to speak to you- friends and family of Avery.

I come not as a well-studied authority on our topic today. Rather, Shane & Carissa are my friends. And also much of this is all too familiar to me. We- the early grievers of our children- are a tight-knit bunch. And so I am compelled to speak at a time that silence would be my preference.

For Shane & Carissa have arrived at a destination where my wife, Ginny, & I are waiting. Though the destination is the same. The route…both before and after…is always much different.

I do not pretend to know what you guys have gone through. Or what hurt lies ahead for you both.

Yet, though our specific routes will differ
- truly, even your own individual routes will be different-
Even still, I hope my comments on the climate and on the lay of the land will somehow serve to help your journey.

I will not try to make it all better. I am confident I cannot.

But I will speak of truth.
And there is truthfully a reason to hope today.
We must cling desperately to the deck of truth as the waters of grief, hurt, and anger rise around us all.

And only by the hope found in truth do I stand here today- still, myself, holding, white-knuckled- on to this deck of hope and longingly waiting for the truth to be born out.

Let us not forget that all of this is to celebrate Avery’s life. To commemorate. To honor her precious, wonderful life.

Yet at the same time, none of this is for her. It is for us who miss her.
And how do we not miss a life that changed our own?
I have no hesitation saying that each one of us will leave here today forever changed by this girl’s impact on our own lives.
So, Today. And all of this- it is for us.

Because Avery is not here.
Heaven is not a warm, fuzzy designed to make us feel better at times such as this.

It is a core tenet of Christendom declared and counted on by belivers for ages.
Proclaiming in a world of loss that...
Jesus Christ has overcome the awfulness of death and offers eternal life.

Will you have eternal life with Christ? I don’t know; maybe you should give pause to that question yourself.

But I will tell you this. Avery does.
Eternal life with Jesus Christ. Her healer. Her Father. Her Lord.

It is because of this reality that
I Thessalonians 4 reads…
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
…And so we will be with the Lord forever.

And now, to you Shane & Carissa, I say…
Good job. Good job.
You loved her. You loved her well.

Avery was not alone in the fight for her life. You fought with her. Beside her.
You decided to give her life.
You realigned your entire lives.
Because. Well…Avery.
You quit jobs.
Went without sleep.
Made horrible financial decisions.
Because. Well…Avery.

Well done. You made the right decisions.
You are her mother. You are her father.

With Avery you get something you are not likely to get again:
Not with KK.
Not with any possible future children.

You get to see the whole picture. It is all there, encapsulated in a beautiful life.

And you get to look at the whole, and you get to evaluate how you did Mom. How you did, Dad.
And you did good. Well done.

However, it is important for those of us around you to remember. You are Avery’s mother and father. Present tense. And she will always be a part of your family.

And while I applaud you for the job you have done, with all that I am, I now encourage you for the road ahead.

When all is in disarray and upside down and wrong side up. I implore you to remember this order: God and then each other, than all else.
• Always first. God. Take your questions and all of your heartaches straightway to him. He can handle them, even welcomes them.
He is the sole source of true comfort. All good things come from him. I have often sought & wrestled for understanding that has not always come.
But what has come is the reality that I understand God less, but know him more.
• Next. Each other.
With your eyes focused on God, allow that which could tear apart, to instead pull you two closer together. Closer than you were. Closer than you imagined you could be.

And now to those listening in. To the friends and family of Avery. The friends & family of Shane, Carissa, and Kaitlyn.

Good Job. Well done. Shane & Carissa have constantly mentioned how people surrounding them have responded and rallied around them in amazing ways.

But I implore you as well.
Now is the time you are needed.
From today forward begins the hour for which you have been placed in the lives of Shane & Carissa.

Do not hide behind the notion of giving them their space. While it was much easier to understand your role before now: bringing them meals, getting them a place to stay, going and visiting.
Your role- although less defined- is just as important:
a shoulder, a call, a note, a listening ear.
Not just this week. not just this month. But for this life.
You will be the ones that remember, that cherish Avery with Shane & Carissa.

It is my firm conviction, Shane & Carissa, that you will not get over this. And, in fact, that is not even the goal to which we strive.

Rather, we who call Christ Lord
Believe in Redemption.
We look to Jesus as our template.

The cross is awful.
His death is gruesome.
But…God wasn’t finished with the story.

Thus our real hope for today and for tomorrow is that God does the hard work that only He can do. The toil of making beauty from ashes.

He- who gave his own son- is our hope.
may we all fix our eyes on Him as we miss this beautiful life.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

3. It's the magic number.

Having traveled lately quite a bit, and when not traveling, being occupied with catching up due to travels- our communication has lacked. But we have had some great times this summer doing something infinitely more important than communicating…creating and living days that are worth communicating.

With that said, the following posts are some various thoughts and words from our world:

(July 20)

He would be three today. Rather, he is three today.

This provides a great introduction to just the tip of the problems I have with wrapping my mind around the way I feel today. The way I will feel tomorrow. Next year, for that matter.

I don’t know what to think- or even what to think on. Most definitely do not understand how to prod my heart to feel. Not that it would matter. I certainly have learned that the heart makes a terrible student, but a great teacher. Ever illuminating the fact that walking through something never feels like you thought it would, and exposing foolishness at thinking you could fathom a path unwalked.

Ginny is better at marking these days than I am. She just goes about being his mom. Deliberating and decorating his headstone, whipping up cupcakes. Mom stuff.

For the most part, I pass time by attempting to decipher what I am feeling and comparing it to what I should be feeling. Although I am tempted to describe my current state as numbness. In fact, what I feel is the exact opposite.

I feel it all. From all directions. Happy. Sad. Celebratory. Fearful. And the list goes on.

Despite the illusionary wrestling match with proper feelings. It is always a good thing to remember. To intentionally go to breakfast at a place that holds special Eliot-meaning to Ginny & I, and to talk about our son. To take Hazel to Wilson Park where her big brother frequented. To pour a drink and watch video of our son.

Never sure what to feel, but certain of what to do: remember.

Thus, this day is different. Yet this day is no different.

Happy Birthday.


Right before we headed to New York for the Today Show, we received notice that put the interview into proper perspective by trumping any New York news.

We are pregnant! We are thrilled.

Ginny is about 11 weeks along with a due date of February 7th. Lord willing, this child will be 16 months younger than Hazel.

No we will not find out if it’s a boy or girl. No we won’t tell you our potential names. Yes, we are those people.

In fact, we got to see this baby today via ultrasound. Amazing. Pretty much kicking, punching, and being awesome.

Ginny is sick but smiling. Three pregnancies in three years, and I must say, she has never been more beautiful.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Praying for our friends

Our hearts go out to the Keirsey's tonight. You may recall Avery's information being posted on our blog recently. We took down the button from hesitation that going on the Today Show may inundate them with unsolicited attention. With that said, they assured us it was fine. Anyway, they are walking through the valley currently, so please feel free to encourage and pray for them.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunsets, long-sleeves, and lots of food

MM: The title pretty much sums up our time here in Petoskey, Michigan. It has been so fun to join the gals. Miss Thing is loving the never-ending supply of attention she receives from Ginny's family. Her attempt to perfect the army crawl has continued, and she has recently pulled up to a standing position for the first time.

Seems a lifechanging moment is on the horizon as she learns to walk. I am always bouncing between two opposing hopes for my daughter. Half the time, I find myself hoping time will freeze due to intermittent, hypothetical flash forwards of adolescence. So I wink and tell her to stay here forever. The other half is spent begging her to grow up, so I can take her to a game, have a conversation, and know what she is thinking. But, in truth, both options are just fine. I am just glad to know her today, and look forward to the days ahead. It seems that all roads ahead are bearable, as long as she continues to choose to walk towards me.

And this is why I continue to know that writing is good for me. I was just going to give an update, but got sidetracked by my ever-growing gal. The exercise forces me to think through what is only a fleeting thought otherwise.

Well, on to bed. And to those of you in anyplace like Arkansas...get this: I wore long sleeves and a jacket tonight. So good.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Back home (kind of)

MM: Ginny & H went on to meet up with family in Michigan; I will be joining them for the week of the 4th. Glad to be home. Lots to process.

Here are some pics from the NY trip. I decided since the city can seem so big and overwhelming to photograph, I would focus on one street. So here is a glance at a stroll on 54th, from 6th to the water. What can I say? I like the cabs.

Monday, June 22, 2009

NY meet the Mooneys

We leave tomorrow morning for Hazel's first trip to New York. Ginny thinks she'll love it; I don't think she'll know we're gone.

By way of details, we will be on The Today Show at 8am this Wednesday (June 24). It will be on at 8am in your time zone no matter where you are in the states, or so I am told.

We'll be placing updates on the twitter account listed in the post below.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

another New York

MM: Summer has been a whirlwind thus far. The three of us headed to Waco, TX last week in order for me to perform a wedding for some great friends. It was the first time doing that, and, well, they're married.

I had the paradoxical honor of speaking at Eliot's funeral. Like never before, it was something, for some unknown reason, that I felt I had to do. Wanted to do.

And although "difficult" does not begin to explain the toll of that experience, I no doubt live in light of the satisfaction that being Eliot's father on that day meant that I stood and spoke at his funeral. Being his dad meant doing that. And I always love being his dad.

On that day, near the end of my words, I said, "We encourage you today to not forget Eliot. To not forget whatever his sweet life taught you. Please go & do that which has been stirred in you through his life.

And we look forward to hearing of the ripples he has made in eternity."

I do not think we anticipated the actual weight of these words. And at that moment, if we had never heard of another life impacted by our son, we still would be floored by what we had already witnessed.

But the ripples have become waves, and we just sort of stand on the shore and laugh in bewilderment.

Eliot's story re-aired on the Oprah show last week. The three of us will be heading to the Today Show in New York in order to do a follow up interview. I know...crazy.

Feel free to follow our excursion via my twitter account. We leave on Tuesday. We will be on the show on Wednesday. I believe it will be a later segment in the show, but I will pass on details when we have them. Of course, everything could change, and once they meet me who could blame them for a changing their minds.

As always, we feel that we must explain that excited is never a word that we could use for an opportunity such as this. We are honored to share Eliot's story. As noted earlier, we feel that this is the way that we are his mom & dad now. So, we are thrilled about telling his story and talking about the great folks that make rEcess happen, and for going to New York on someone else's dime. However, we are going before a large audience to share about the hardest thing we have ever experienced.

As this has come together quite fast, we would love your help in spreading the word to anyone who you think might care. We have good friends who currently do not know of our plans.

New York holds a special place in our hearts as its streets were the ones we wandered together on a trip shortly after losing him. Little did we know that upon approaching his 3-year birthday, we would be back to share his life on the Today Show, with his little sister in tow.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fayetteville glow

MM: A storm rolled through this evening right at dusk. We snapped some photos in amazement of the colors. It was quite a spectacular site with the whole sky ablaze with oranges and deep reds.

The three of us are heading to Waco, Texas tomorrow. I am doing a wedding for some good friends of ours. Should be a great time. I have been working on my attitude about officiating a wedding- which whispers to me that all you can do at a wedding is screw it up. Seriously, what is a "good wedding" where something doesn't go wrong. My furrowed brow turned the corner somewhat this morning as I did some last minute preparation for the ceremony. I realized how much I love my own marriage. And if I can help start someone else down that path in any way, then fantastic. With that said, I am crossing my fingers that I don't head to the bathroom with my mic on.

The high is 98. The wedding is outside. My suit is black. Weight loss is good.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


We are enjoying all of the things that summer brings with it: eating on the deck, shorts, flip flops, and longer days. It all seems to fly by as of late. I am sure I am to blame some conglomeration of busyness, getting older or life with a drooler.

Ginny is beautifully juggling motherhood and jewelry design ( along with the numerous items to which I commit her. I am enjoying both of my jobs: working with communities for my church and business consulting ( with companies and individuals who need some outside perspective. It is two very different worlds in which I dance; however, I do enjoy them both, even though as in literal dancing, I feel as if I am prone to step on some toes occasionally throughout the waltz. My default line about my jobs when persons ask…and they do constantly ask, and they do constantly stare blankly at my attempt at an answer…is that I work with great people at both of my jobs. Without a doubt, the future of my life- if allowed- will be well served by the time spent with the folks that I get to surround myself with (insert pay raise here). And, no, I am not currently practicing law.

On the consulting side, we are currently developing a new offering by which we can assist corporations & individuals with strategy development and problem solving with much less travel. It is aimed at being able to assist non-profits at a lower cost to them. Possibly boring to you, but exciting to me because it could allow a chance for more involvement sans traveling (which I do not mind, but the 2-job thing will not allow much of).

I’ve also been working out for the first time in a decade. I have always been active, but pretty much just ran and played basketball. Nothing else. I am not committed, but so far that has worked well for me. It is a total mind game with myself to do a workout. I have done a week’s worth of P90X. I hate it. If I ever see the leader guy- the one whose muscle-size is only matched by the size of his teeth. I might think about punching him. Of course, this would be the end of my life, but I would have to think about it. The mind games I must play include being mad at someone or something. Unfortunately, he is the current target of my rage. Of course, I could have targeted my own laziness or affinity for white chocolate, but I chose him instead. As I said, these are deep and troubled waters to wade into in order to see what it has taken me to workout. Stay posted. My money is on me being a quitter.

Recently, Hazel has not been feeling too well. Typical baby stuff. She has a couple crooked teeth sneaking into her mouth, and some stomach issues. This season with her has been so much fun. She acknowledges mom & dad and, even cuddles when she doesn’t feel well. This is big. She is typically way too busy and curious to cuddle. So, I hate that she doesn’t feel good, but I’ll take the effects.

Ginny & I had the opportunity to speak on grief recently at Tyson Inc. Yes, the largest meat provider is right here in good ole Northwest Arkansas. Apologies to all vegetarians and vegans. I am not sure what the marketing pitch looked like for this one but I can only imagine…on your lunch break, come hear about loss and grief and grab some tenders. With that said, people actually showed up. It is always extremely hard & gratifying to share of our son and of losing him.

In regards to the everyday and not really the speaking stuff.- for us, it is never harder to talk of Eliot. Always harder not to. I think some people think that when he comes up, they have opened up a sore subject that we would rather they not. But the truth is, it is a sore subject, if by “sore” you mean it hurts. However, the myth is that one could never bring it up. It is always sore and always on our mind. Thus, we prefer to talk about, remember, and acknowledge our son every time it is possible. I do think we may sometimes skirt bringing him up, but it is a sacrifice done for the other person, not out of preference.

No question this week. I am open to suggestions.

-->above is Matt writing, but I (Ginny) just hacked into his post to add some pictures of Hazel. the first is sad b/c she's crying but i couldn't help myself b/c it was a sure way of capturing the teeth. the last is her 2 cowlicks that swirl into a fabulous mohawk.