We will always remember Ellie for her love for others, her creativity, sensitivity, and delight in life! Ellie's light has spread far and wide... may it continue to shine in our hearts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winner #1

I just have to tell you all, this giveaway started for me as a fun way to involve everyone in the one year anniversary of Ellie's death. (O.K, I just re-read that sentence and had to laugh because I'm not really sure that a person is supposed to pick a "fun" way to commemorate someone's death. I do know how wrong that sounds. Still, I have to stand by that statement.) I simply wanted to do something "Ellie" - not only for her and about her, but something she would have truly been excited about. Giving stuff away is probably the best way that there is to remember that funny little girl. But in true Ellie spirit, it's killing me that I can't give something to everyone!

Do you know what has happened? What was supposed to be something that I wanted to do for you, turned into the very thing that I didn't know I needed. As this sad and difficult day is approaching, what I needed was to hear from you. So thank you. Thank you for being there for me during this time. For telling me what you love and miss about my sweet Ellie. For sharing who you are and where you're from. (I sometimes look at the stats of the hundreds of people who check in daily and wonder who you are. What your story is. I can even tell where people are logging in from. There are a few that I can guess at, but often I have to ask "who is that?") And of course I love hearing how this journey of ours has touched your lives. This gift that you have given me, and are giving me, is one that I will never forget. It is the perfect balm to this sad mommy's heart. THANK YOU.

We will now pick a name from the box to be our guest blogger on Friday, December 19. Before we pick, I want to let you know what I've decided to do. I have a little something to give this person. I have a copy of the pictures from yesterday's post to send to them as well as a small, unframed drawing of Ellie's. Should you decide for any reason that you are not comfortable with being the guest blogger, I will still send you your little gift. But instead of re-drawing a name to be the guest blogger, I will have you choose one from yesterday's commenters. If you read the comments and felt like you would like to hear more from a certain person, you may choose that person to be the guest blogger. Of course, I do hope that you will want to write something yourself, but I also understand that not everyone will enjoy doing that.

Ethan is holding the box of names. He is now stirring it all around. He is about to choose one. Picking...

Drum roll please... and the winner is...

Edith "Mema" Tyler, from South Carolina

Congratulations, Mema. Please email me with your address and let me know if you accept this mission! (see below for my email) I so loved your comment - it really touched my heart. I would have posted it here, but I didn't want to steal your thunder for Friday. Should you decide not to be the guest blogger on Friday, I will definitely post it for all to read!

For those of you who are just now joining us, there are two more drawings. On Wednesday evening, we will be drawing a name out of the box to win this 5x7" framed and signed piece of Ellie's art. (It is a high quality color copy of the original.)


On Thursday evening, we will be drawing a name out of the box to win a small quilted pillow made out of Ellie's clothing. (See previous post for photos of Ellie in those clothes.)

Please keep checking back. There will even be other special things happening on this blog tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday!

How to enter:

Leave a comment. Please give your name, where you live (City and State, or Country - obviously for security reasons, do not leave your full address and you don't need to put your city if you're not comfortable with that. I just thought it would be fun to hear where people are visiting from.) and a brief description of how you know or have heard of Ellie.


Send an email to: seskees at hotmail dot com (replace "at" with "@" and "dot" with "." and run it all together). I know that some people have had trouble commenting, so I want to make sure that you have an alternate way of reaching me. When I receive your email, I will copy it and put it into the blog comments.


Please do not leave anymore comments on the previous post. Please leave your comments on this and/or future posts. It will keep me from getting confused.

All of the previous commenters' names have been left in the box for the next drawings, so you do not need to comment more than once to be in the running for a prize. But if you really want to leave another comment to say something, just remind me that your name is already in. :-)

And finally, remember everyone is eligible: family, friends, foes, countrymen, as well as out-of-the-countrymen and other-countrymen.


At 5:36 PM, Blogger Jenna said...

My name is Jenna Hoff, and I'm one of your "frequent blog followers." I have been encouraged by your joy in the face of sorrow,as well as your sweet-spirit, your honesty, and your godliness. I've had a tough year, too- but somehow reading yoour words always leaves me feeling inspired and encouraged to persevere. You don't know me at all(I stumbled on your site)- but I feel like I know you, and I pray for your beautiful family often, that you will continue to know God's peace and comfort. I wish I could have known your Ellie- such a beautiful, amazing little girl.
Edmoton, Alberta, Canada

At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah, Neal wants to be entered but in true fashion of a 17 year old, he has been too busy to log in, he only has internet access at my house and he is playing a soccer game tonight... he is Ellie's cousin(once removed or something like that, ask Andy???) from Orlando, FL and kept up on the blog thru me. He loves and misses our precious Ellie and wants that PILLOW!!
Aunt B

At 6:45 PM, Blogger oneofhisfriends said...

Congratulations Mema.


At 7:24 PM, Blogger LindaSueBuhl said...

How wonderful the Lord has once again led you to an almost lyrical solution. I became a friend of Ellie's via a New Tribes connection - Rachel Chapman's blog. She asked her readers to pray for the daughter of a NTM family- that started a heart connection to Ellie. Your description of Ellie being in ICU led me to begin praying for Ellie regularly. The obvious love, irritation (the pictures of Ellie being mad at you were priceless), joy, passion for life and love for the Lord hooked me forever. Somehow Ellie captured all the life zest God could give someone and then packed down and flowing over the cup. When it became clear she was not going to be healed this side of heaven, I had joy in her beautiful summer in Montana - the bee up Sarah's skirt, playing with animals and a horse (this from the girl who didn't want to see pictures of my goats until they "had hair on them and their eyes opened") and drawing people to her and sharing love with everyone who came through the sparkly force field surrounding Ellie.
I am changed by knowing Ellie through blogging and emails - when my mother in law died this summer I immediately thought of her meeting Ellie in heaven and how sweet those moments would be. Ellie is a part of my life and I look forward to dancing with her in heaven. Maybe in heaven I'll be less clumsy (so I CAN dance) and Ellie can lead us all in twirling around. If I get to cast a vote - I'd like for my post to count toward someone else getting a prize - I have already been so blessed by you Skees!

At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One year ago I was waiting to hear if the box of Christmas ornaments I sent to Ellie and Ethan had arrived. I hope they got there in time for Ellie to see them, and I hope that Ethan is enjoying them still. We continue to follow your blog, and appreciate the updates on how your family is doing. Your journey is an encouragement to so many! Blessings, Kristen

At 7:58 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

I am so glad you commented! Would you mind emailing me? Ellie did get the ornaments in time. I did not do a very good job of keeping track of things during that time, and I couldn't remember who sent them because I waited to long to respond to you... I am so sorry. But I would love to tell you all about how special it was! Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness.

At 8:47 PM, Blogger sumi said...

Hi Sarah...I can't remember how I came here anymore but I have found your blog to be a place where I can find validation for my own journey.

This path we share is so crazy sometimes, and it is soooo nice to know I am not alone. I have appreciated your heart for God, your support and your comments so and just wanted to let you know that.

Hugs to you as you walk through this week - I'm praying for you as you miss your sweet Ellie.

At 8:51 PM, Blogger Sarah said...


i guess you could consider this my entry in the Ellie contest. :) I feel like with all the times the Lord has brought your family into my life, I can't not participate. There's really no reason you should remember me...I met you at the service in Florida. I was there because I worked with Judy White at the time, but I also know your mom from when she spoke at Word of Life several years ago.

Anyway...if you get a sec, read this post that I wrote a little over a year ago about all the ways the Lord has brought your family into my life. :)

Thanks for all you share about Ellie and your family!

Snellville, GA

At 8:53 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

You actually found me because I found you first and left you a comment! :-) I remember because I was so tickled that you visited. Thanks. I too appreciate sharing this journey with you!

At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Sharon Bernhardt and I'm in Salatiga, Indonesia. I've been reading about Ellie's journey since I heard about it from Karen Whatley. Your story has been such an encouragement to so many and your family is beautiful!
You remain in my prayers!

At 3:16 AM, Anonymous Kyleigh said...

Hi! My name is Kyleigh, and I'm living in Melbourne Australia. I came across your blog last year sometime - just before Ellie headed off to see Jesus for real. I was packing our lives (hubby and I) up to move from one side of the country to the other, and came across a NTM mag that I had picked up years ago at a missions conference (when I was about 17). The story of your father had stayed in my mind for 8 years, and when I saw the mag I had to get online and research. I really wanted to know what happened to the families, as I'd been thinking of everyone for years. That's how I ended up here.

That magazine was just one of many reasons I ended up being part of missions trips from the age of 18 to Russia (a long way from Australia!) and in the end living in Eastern Europe for nearly 2 years.

I've since moved back to Australia, married, and moved yet again far from friends and family (Although this time they're only a 4 hour flight away, like I keep telling my husband - who has never lived away from his fam -it's not that bad!).

I love your raw honesty,and the way you open yourself (with difficulty sometimes I imagine) to complete strangers. I do pray I never know what you and your family has gone through. But I do pray that I can show the grace and trust in God that you have shown in the face of anything - big or small - that may come up in my life.

Bad things happen to good people; it's a fact of life. Being a Christian does not make us immune to sickness and death. However, what I'm learning, is that we're so blessed - we have something, or rather someone, - to lean on who is greater than us. That's kinda cool. It's something that has to be learned - my darling cousin in the States recently lost her husband, making her a 28 year old widow and single mother. And like I emailed her - I look foward to seeing the beauty of grace worked out in your lives.

(WHEW long post, huh???!) Finshing up with a fave quote from a Michael W Smith song - "though you are mourning and grieving your loss, death died a long time ago; swallowed in life so that life carries on - still it's so hard to let go."

At 8:22 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

I would love to be able to have something of Ellies!! - I have been following your story for quite some time. My name is Michael Stark, from Blairstown, NJ. I have three kids of my own, and one girl that was Ellies age (9).
I will admit to you, I always wanted to ask your family for something that was hers, my kids and myself always kept you all in prayer, and I was always telling them how she was doing, because they were always asking. I cried very hard the evening she passed away, and have always felt close to your family. My wife and you are the same age and the birthdays are very close as well. Hers is 9/26/72.
I am a sentimental guy and hold your family close.

At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah!
My name is Christina and I live in the Orlando area. My husband and I know John's family through the local assemblies and Camp. I met you once when Ellie was a baby. When we first heard that your family was facing cancer, I cried for you. I remembered the story of your dad and put myself in your shoes. I couldn't imagine going through this with my child after feeling such deep loss before. But, you did it with grace and a strong testimmony.
I have read every post since Ellie's diagnosis and I have learned much from you and Ellie. Through your posts I could see that Ellie had such a bright personality and strong will. MOst of all, I listened with tears as you described the time that you and Ellie talked on your way home that last time from New York about what seemed to be the future. She trusted you so much to do the best for her! And you and John have always put her first. I'm not sure that, if faced with the same thing, I could have put aside my selfish longing to keep my child with me and force her to try everything. You gave her dignity, comfort, and wonderful memories instead of hospitals, tubes, and strangers. Thank you for teaching me that, as a mother, it is my job to put my children first - their walk with God and their peace and happiness. Thank you for being such a good example.
My twins will turn 6 on the 18th. We will forever remember how we so fervently prayed for your sweet daughter on their birthday. I smile when I remember that our small assembly was praying for Ellie on Wed night even as she walked into the arms of her Lord. We love your family and our prayers remain with you.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Elijah's Mommy said...

I'm Melissa Gill. I'm from central Florida. My parents were with NTM for a while and heard bout your family through the NTM "family". Also people at church asked for prayer for Ellie. That's when I started following your blog. I was amazed at how you were able to put into words your feelings and experiences. I'm so glad I got to "meet" Ellie and pray for your family during the last year or so. She is such a precious little girl and I'm looking forward to meeting her in Heaven one day!

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Rach said...

Hi Sarah,

I happened to find you through a comment on Sumi's blog. I wanted to let you know how very sorry I am for your loss. As I arrived I saw you were approaching your one year mark and I caught my breath.

My prayers are with you and your family as you celebrate your sweet Ellie. My heart aches for you not only as you approach Ellie's Heaven Day, but also the holidays.

I'm not commenting to enter the contest, as I only just found you. I just wanted to let you know you and your family are in my heart, on my mind and in my prayers.

Many hugs to you all,

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

I have read your blog from the time Ellie became ill and have prayed for you and your family. You may remember me as a volunteer at NTM headquarters in Sanford. I worked in the finance office with your Mother when she worked there. Also you worked the front desk in the lobby when we were volunteers there. One year I bought some paper Christmas decorations you were making, shaped like a little fan. We were at your wedding. I remember Tanya's little Jessica taking off her shoes during the ceremony. I also remember John's Dad carrying little Ellie around the headquarters building showing her off, when she was just a tiny little baby. He was so proud of her and she was so tiny and sweet. My husband Ed, volunteer plumber from Ohio, may have worked in your house you bought just down the street from Reinalda's. That is my connection to your family. Ginny Holloway - Ohio

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Oregon Criss's said...

I commented on the previous post...I was reading up. So I'm posting again to be in this next drawing :)

At 9:28 PM, Anonymous Angela said...

What a wonderful way to commemorate the one year mark! I love it.

At 5:41 AM, Blogger Markus and Sarah said...

Sarah (Meisel) Røsvik
Northern Luzon, Philippines
I just read your newest post and had to take a few minutes to compose myself so I could write this...
I know John and Sarah and their families through NTM in Sanford, FL. Although I don't know you that well and haven't seen you in years, like so many others who have commented in the last couple of days, I feel like you are a dear friend. Because of Ellie and her life, you are now a very special part of our lives. We began following your blog soon after her diagnosis. I remember a stretch of several months where our internet connection was very unreliable, and sometimes having to wait for over an hour for the blog to load so we could see Ellie's pictures and read how she was doing. It was always worth the wait. Your honesty and beautiful way of expressing yourself has deeply touched me. We love you and continue to pray for you.


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