Sunday, January 1, 2012

I think...

After all of this time, I think I finally figured out how to post a post under my own name, and not under my wife's. Aaaaannnnd - lo and behold! it was simpler than cooking a can of tomato soup. Go figure...Oh, well, live and learn, right?

Well, I wanted to come back and give you some more info on Anna's service. Alissa is hanging out with her family while I'm home with Isaac, who is safe and sound in bed, sleeping quietly and cozily. Isn't that a fun word? Cozily. I am. I'm figuring Liss will show up here pretty soon, and hopefully I won't be distracted too much when and if she does.

I'm still amazed at how incredible Anna's service was. There was lots of sniffling, tear falling, mascera running, and even a bit of sobbing here and there. My little nephew, Drew (age 7 or 8 or something like that...), apparently started sobbing during Anna's slideshow. How sweet is that?!?!

By the way, the slideshow was an awesome tear-jerker. Did we mention the song that was written by a fellow church member? I think so, but if not, I'm sure I'll hear about it and we'll have to explain. Well, Alissa pre-recorded the song, and used it during the slideshow. Yes, it was pretty amazing that she could get through the song at all, but she did. She'll say the recording wasn't that good, but since most of us are non-music geniuses, we wouldn't ever know the difference.

But I'm getting out of order...

Our pastor, Bill Bowers, opened the service by welcoming everyone and offered a prayer. Our good friend, Art, led everyone in a couple of songs. By the way, if you were at the service, you might remember Pastor Bill mentioning that the Freeby family (that's Alissa's side...) was very musical. He also mentioned that the Peppley's were not, which is pretty true. So don't think he was being mean, he was just being honest!

The tributes came next. My sister, Heidi, started them off with a kind of poem, where she and her sister-in-law took comments that Alissa and I had written on this blog. They then compiled them into a form of poem, and she read them off. That was pretty cool.

Pastor Dave then read his letter, which was already posted. So no need to retread that old path, right? And no, I'm not referring to Dave being old...

Next was my brother Joe, and he commented on putting on the full armor of God. Normally, he would have been the one to be a blubbering fool behind the podium. But for some odd reason, that fell to one of my other brothers, Tony, who came after Joe. The funny thing is that Tony started his tribute out by saying he thought he would be able to get through it easier if he just stuck with facts and figures. Well, he did, but he also got choked up quite a bit. Nice work, T.

I think Alissa's Uncle Doug came next. It's possible someone else was in there too, or I got someone out of order, but I'll let Alissa correct me if I'm wrong. And I'm having a blond moment, cuz I can't remember what he talked about specifically. It's possible it had something to do with how strong Alissa and I were through the whole ordeal. And - well - no one likes to hear their horn tooted, right? Well, except maybe celebrities and politicians. So I probably tuned out a little bit. But I digress...He also read a few words from his wife and one of his daughters. Regardless of what he said, it was special.

Anna's grandpa (affectionately known as Pabba...) got up and read a card that he gave to her on her birth day (as in the day of her birth, not birthday...). Pabba gives all of his grandchildren a nickname, and all of them have "bug" in them. For example, he calls Isaac Doodle-bug. Well, he reveals the nickname in the birth day card that he gives to the kids when they are born. So he let everyone know that he was to call Anna Bella-bug. Bella means beautiful. Yes, we all cried.

Alissa went next, and she poured out her heart to her little baby girl. I went last, and after I got done the crowd started to applaud. Since I'm a guy, and guys are all conceited, I initially thought they were applauding because mine was the best and most touching. I eventually realized that the applause was for everyone who had given a tribute. They all were spectacular, and all were so heart-felt that there wasn't one that was better than the rest.

...Meanwhile, Pastor Bill sat on a stool, perched kind of back and away in a far corner of the platform. I think he thought the tributes were going to be pretty quick, so why not stay there on the stage? Well, they weren't quick, so he just sat there and enjoyed watching the backs of our heads. Thank you, Bill.

Well, we all cut into his time too much, so he had to remove a lot of what he was prepared to say. However, his words were direct and full of passion. He spoke of how Anna came into this world with half a heart, but made a significant impact on this world just by simply being herself. Then he directed us all to consider how we are living our lives. Are we living whole-heartedly to God? Or are we living with just half a heart? Like I mentioned last night, I think his one quote summed up Anna's story and message to this world. It was certainly tragic that Anna was born with half a heart. But what is even more tragic is a person who is only half-heartedly living for God. He challenged us to consider our place in God's kingdom, and asked us if we would do what we can to be like Anna, and live whole-heartedly.

All in all, the service was a tremendous time of celebrating Anna's life. Alissa and I would like to once again fervently thank everyone who came to Anna's service in person and in spirit (what does that mean anyway..."in spirit?" can a person really be somewhere else as a spirit? I think not...whoa - strange tangent! sorry). I'm thinking I would like to get copies of what everyone said for Anna, and put them in a post (or posts...). That way, all of you who couldn't be at the service can get an idea of how it went.

Well, it's 11:30, Alissa is not home yet (they must be having fun! luckies...), and I'm getting tired. Of course, I'll probably stay up reading, or playing some stupid computer game, but I really should go to bed. After all, there are some very important activities happening tomorrow, namely some good football bowl games. I gotta rest up so I can watch them, right?


  1. Hi, you guys,
    The service was absolutely amazing. So were you! It gave so much honor to God, while at the same time being sweet and special. There were many, many tears, yet I didn’t sense even the least amount of bitterness in the sanctuary, which was incredible, given the circumstances.
    The clapping? That was for you. We were trying to say thank you for letting us share in Anna Joy's life with you. Thank you for being so incredible in your strength and your faith in God, even when it didn't turn out the way we had all hoped. Thank you for letting God give you the strength to stand up at your own baby's memorial service and give honor and glory to God, the way you did. The beauty of the whole service was just so haunting. How could we attend a memorial service for a baby who lived only 11 days, and go away feeling uplifted?! Who can do that?! You and God did. Thank you. It was such an honor just to be there.
    Tony's "facts and figures" blew me away--I would like to see a copy of them. And the song for Anna Joy, sung by Alissa,...well, it was heartbreakingly beautiful. I wonder if any of us will ever forget it. Matt and Alissa, you guys are something else! Your whole family, including your church family, are one of the most amazing testimonies of God's grace I've ever witnessed. God bless you, and give you comfort. We're all very proud of you.

  2. The service was an incredible blessing to us who were able to attend, so I'm so glad you summarized it for everyone who couldn't be there. And your idea of getting copies of what people said posted on this site is wonderful! We've been trying to remember all those amazing "facts & figures" about this blog your brother read during his tribute. I can understand why he "blubbered" through them in spite of his best efforts! We were all blubbering too, because they were amazing! But we can't remember them -- been trying to repeat them to other people who weren't there and have undoubtedly been getting them all wrong. You know -- like how many different people have visited this site, how many individual visits (300,000 or so?), all the different countries the visitors came from (amazing!!) etc. Those statistics were amazing enough to make us all cry! In the short 11 days (+ 9 months!) of her life, Anna Joy truly was able to reach more people around the world with the message of hope and joy that we have in Jesus than most of us will ever reach in our lifetime! And it is still happening. Maybe you should write a book! Actually, I think you already have!

    May God continue to bless you and Alissa and all your family with his Perfect Peace as you continue to walk through this with Him in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.

  3. P.S. Any chance you could post a recording of the song Alissa sang (incredible!!)-- and maybe the words too -- on this site? Or a link to it??? Just seems like everyone who couldn't be there ought to hear it too... Too good to miss!

    P.P.S. -- I agree with Dave -- the clapping was for you -- and your brave family -- and for Jesus!

  4. Thank you Pastor Dave for your words....I agree. Thank you Matt and Alissa for your part in God's story in your life. It would be awesome if you could post the song somewhere. I hear people were having problems posting on the blog...Humm..wonder why?

  5. Matt, thanks for doing such a great job of describing the service. Those of us who were there were just carried away over and over by the love that was expressed in that sanctuary. That's such a beautiful word. There was so much love in the sanctuary on Saturday. God must have been there with all of us. How could He stay away? Thank you again for keeping this blog going.

  6. the lord is blessing you all with the strength to pull through this, your family are the truest form of heroes and roll models next to the lords family. may he keep blessing you all forever, and my family will say our prayers for anna joy to come through all her procedures in the best of health. from the paskiang family, to your family.

  7. I really wanted to be there, so I appreciate the "as if you were there" post. We continue to pray and send our caring tidings to you all.