Author Archives: Erin


January 13, 2018 – My jumbled thoughts on a difficult day

The Super Sam Foundation family is hurting today. This morning we said our final earthly goodbyes to sweet Gabriel. Five-year-olds should not have funerals. But sometimes they do. So we showed up. We stood together. We cried together. We let Jeremy and Erica know we are in this with them. Together.  As awful as grief is, it’s also a result of love. Grieving for someone means you loved them. And there is so much beauty in our grief. There is so much compassion in our grief. And Jesus is right there with us. Crying with us and walking beside us on our journey.

As Gabriel was memorialized by his pastor and his parents, we enjoyed hearing stories of his squeals of delight and how he was always happy. He and Sam shared many positive traits. Gabriel and Sam both had smiles that melted hearts. They both had charm in abundance. And they both could bring a community together. What sweeter sign could there be than driving away and seeing the Super Sam sticker on the back of the escort police cars? As the officers continue to serve, the community continues to remember and honor Sam just as we now will do for Gabriel. And we know they are together in heaven.

Together is the only place to be in times like these. We were physically together at the funeral. We are spiritually together always. Even as we now allow time for Jeremy and Erica to grieve privately, we are holding them in prayer and sending all our love and strength their way.  

Sam went to heaven a few months before Gabriel was diagnosed. Gabriel never knew Sam here on earth but he had a great companion in dear Ava. I can’t think of a better tribute to these two incredible families than knowing Gabriel was loved by Ava on earth and by Sam in heaven. And Sam and Ava are both loved by Gabriel. These families are broken. They will not be healed until they are reunited in heaven. But they carry on. They keep Sam and Gabriel close. They carry their legacy forward. A legacy of smiles, laughter, love for others, selflessness, joy, and faith. Amazing faith! To Erica, Jeremy, Cassie, Matt, Ava, and their families…we love you and we are with you. Let’s continue this valiant fight together.


#OneWord – or maybe two

January 1, 2018All In - Edited

In 2017 I hopped on the #oneword bandwagon. My word last year was start. And I succeeded at that. I started three businesses in 2017. So this year my word is All In. (And yes, I know that’s actually two words!) After breaking my leg just weeks before two of my businesses were set to open, the last five months of 2017 were rough. I wasn’t able to work for nearly three months which meant no income for three months. Since I had already quit my job to start the businesses, I wasn’t eligible for disability or any other benefits. Now I am (mostly) healed and ready to really get in high gear with each business; to go ALL IN! I’m adding a cafe (breakfast and lunch) to the bakery, getting more leads for VA work, and spreading the word about tutoring and enrichment.

I’m also going to attempt to be all in with my blog, making one post each day even if it’s a short one.

My Home. My People.

I’ve lived in Fulton for four years now. A place I was sure I would not like. A place that was a stepping stone back to my favorite place, WashMO. Guess what. I like it. This town makes me crazy in many ways. But then… We have two beautiful college campuses. We have fabulous parks. We have a YMCA, an awesome trail system, a splash pad, a farmer’s market, and the people. Oh, the people. These are my people!

The boy mom who I think might actually be Wonder Woman. Who can take a class of infants and get them all in a routine in less than a week. Who can cart a toddler to the older boys’ swim meets and baseball games and talent shows like it’s as natural as carrying her own arm. Who donated bone marrow to save a life as quietly and as humbly as could be. Who carries on as if she’s not a hero. She is a hero and she is one of my people.

The boy mom who loves fiercely and consistently sacrifices for her boys. Who fights for kids and won’t settle for less than the best for them. Who gives her boys a fantastic childhood full of camping, lakes, dirt bikes, Legos, Nerf wars, baseball, fishing, fireworks… Whose boys will never doubt that they were loved and who will have memories of fun and laughter. She is my best friend and she is one of my people.

The mom who has a twin on earth and a twin in heaven. I don’t know how she gets out of bed in the morning. But she does. She gets out of bed for her daughter on earth. She gets out of bed for her son in heaven. She fights for all the kids. Endlessly. Tirelessly. She fights. She is a warrior and she is one of my people.

The incredible ladies who have stepped up to the plate to fight the evil we call pediatric cancer.

The dads who also fight and who love their kids with all their hearts. Who bring joy and laughter and balance to our lives.

The dear friend and neighbor who is the strongest person I know.

And the kids! The happy, funny, kind, goofy, awkward, huggable, beautiful, lovable even when they’re hard to love, awesome, creative, emotional, hardworking, all-around-wonderful kids!

These are my people. This is my home.


The Changing of the Cape

This morning I had the privilege of volunteering for the Super Sam Foundation’s Super Hero 5k and 1 Mile Fun Run. We had a beautiful morning and are so grateful to have so many supporters, near and far. The kids mile was as wonderful and inspiring as it was last year. Seeing those smiling faces take off running with their superhero capes flying high…there’s nothing like it!

But it is baffling to me how one’s heart can be so full, and yet still feel empty. After the race was over, the balloons taken down, the clean-up finished, the hard work before, during, and after the event that were so worthwhile done, the day was not complete.

I was given the humbling honor of visiting the cemetery with Matt, Cassie, and Cassie’s family. We took with us one of the superhero capes. Last year after the race, I had the extra capes in my car and decided to visit Sam and tie a cape on the tree next to his resting place. I did this quietly, unsure if it would be appreciated but hoping it would be seen as a gesture of respect. The cemetery staff was gracious and allowed the cape to stay. Through wind, rain, and snow, the cape stayed in that tree for the entire year. Yesterday, we took the cape down to replace it with a new cape. It was, as Cassie said, like a “Changing of the Cape” similar to the Changing of the Guard.

It’s hard to believe how much time has passed. How Ava has grown and had milestones that Sam will never get to have. I grieve for Sam. Definitely. But I also grieve for Matt, Cassie, and Ava. I wish I could take their pain away. My heart swells with pride at the work they are doing. Despite their devastating loss, they are keeping their heads up. They are marching forward and working toward a cure. They are fighting for All. The. Kids. No one would fault them if they chose to grieve privately and to carry on with their own lives. But they have seen a need and are dedicated to carrying on the work inspired by Sam. To help other families in the fight and to do all they can to allow children to have those milestones that Sam will not get.

None of us doubt that Sam is in heaven and knows nothing but peace and joy, but as long as we live here on Earth, we will have a hole in our hearts that cannot be filled. We will miss Sam every day. But we will continue living faithful and joyful lives. We will continue fighting for all the kids. We will be there for Matt, Cassie, and Ava, to love them, to honor Sam’s wish, and to journey together toward healing for all.

#WeBelongToEachOther #SuperSamFoundation #MoreThan4 #SSF4AllTheKids Cape

#moedchat Blog Challenge

Ten Reasons Why Twitter is the Best PD for Educators

10. It’s free!

9. It’s available 24/7/365.

8. Twitter is like reading the newspaper headlines – you only continue on with articles that interest you.

7. Twitter’s hashtags allow you to search for any topic quickly and easily.

6. Twitter chats provide focused time to discuss and explore one topic.

5. When your tweet a link, you can go over 140 characters!

4. You can log in to Tweetdeck with your Twitter account to see multiple columns of tweets based on customizable criteria.

3. Twitter favorites are like web browser bookmarks – items you can refer back to for a second glance or to read when you have more time.

2. Twitter connections often lead to other forms of PD – finding out about edcamps, following conference hashtags, joining Google hangouts, etc.

1. Twitter, like teaching, is all about relationships. The connections you make on Twitter can provide a world of excellent educators at your fingertips – to share ideas, to reflect, to think out loud, to appreciate one another, to be energized!