Matthew’s Birthday Giveaway


For the past three years, since the summer of 2009, someone here has searched or read a post on our baby Matthew. The top searched posts here are Fiat, and Mass of the Angels. These two posts have been read every day since they were written. We are humbled. How could a little bitty guy affect so many people? Obviously God had a plan when He sent Matthew to us and allowed people like you to love him even though he spent most of his time here on earth inside only showing his presence by growing (very) big, kicking, hiccuping, and rolling around. People knew he was an active little thing.

Well, time has gone by now with a move from Texas to Tennessee, a year goodbye and hello again with a deployment to Afghanistan, a new puppy, and countless weekly activities. You’ve been beside me all the time and I am grateful for your friendship. The homeschool community has been a great place of friendship and support. I honestly can say I thank God that we homeschool, sometimes I look back on those dark days following July three years ago and think homeschooling is what kept me going. I can only imagine how I very easily could have remained in a depression had our children left all day for school. Instead, they were right there beside me each day keeping me from sinking. I am thankful for our homeschool program we follow as it arrives so organized and ready with plans and all. Without that organization, I’d have been treading water. I praise God for saving me from the depression I was in for so long. Grieving I think takes on several stages. I want to think I’ve made it to the final stage. First is shock, then abandonment and depression, then a gift. Matthew’s life was a gift and I know that. I no longer feel depressed. I no longer feel as though my prayers were abandoned.

The anniversary of Matthew’s birth and death is approaching. Even though he’s gone to a better place, he very much has remained in our daily lives. His hand and foot prints remain on our bulletin board. When I take them down, the kids ask, “where is Matthew’s card?”
Now that I feel as though I can actually take charge of our homeschooling year, I’ve found this beautiful fresh planner. One that will keep me motivated and on track. I decided to order not just one, but two. One for Matthew’s gift.
This year in honor of the anniversary of little Matthew Karol’s birthday and life into Heaven, I want to give a birthday present away. I am offering a Holy Simplicity Liturgical planner from Sanctus Simplicitus I know for me, the more I had to keep my days straight, the better our homeschool day went.

To be entered in the drawing all you need to do is leave me a comment and let me know what your family does to make ‘back to School” special. Whether you homeschool or not, you are my friend and I want you to have a chance at receiving this beautiful Planner. Between now and Matthew’s Birthday anniversary, leave me a message and you’ll be entered. On July 29th, We will do a random drawing and announce the birthday gift winner.
Here is a peek inside the planner, Isn’t it simply beautiful?

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28 thoughts on “Matthew’s Birthday Giveaway

  1. We don’t usually do anything special, but this year since we had been schooling all summer, I have plans. We will mark the beginning of the new school year with new student planners and some school supplies. 😉

    That’s a beautiful planner.

  2. I have been eyeing that planner for a while… it would be a joy to win it. We don’t do anything particularly special to mark the new year but I do make sure to formally begin only AFTER the institutional kids start so that we can enjoy the gorgeous weather a bit longer. We also plan a huge play day with all the cousins to a local amusement park right before we begin (also after most kids are in school so that the line waiting is significantly reduced).

    Matthew is beautiful. What a wonderful way to honor his life. We have a little Matthew in heaven as well… I’m sure our children have already met. 🙂 God bless you and your family!

  3. Emily, what a loving tribute to little Matthew. Praying for your family during this anniversary of your loss. The planner you are offering looks like a lovely way for a family to mark the passing of the liturgical year. God bless you and your family.

  4. What a beautiful way to honour Matthew. Your family remains in our prayers. I thought of you specially when we said goodbye to our Beatrice this past spring. I know that she has joined her siblings in heaven, looking down on, and praying for, all of us. I hope that my little ones have had the joy of meeting each other.

    We start our school year on the Feast of the Archangels with Schuletute – paper cones filled with goodies and school supplies. I always look forward to making them and watching the children open them. Even our adult children still want theirs! 🙂

  5. Aww….cute little Saint Matthew. We are heading back to Ft. Hood in 2 weeks while Andrew is home for R&R. Isaiah will be starting 1st grade. I thought I would buy the children each a new outfit, even though we don’t go to school..but I think it is still nice to have something new to wear that isn’t a hand-me-down. The planner looks lovely. I have never heard of it. Thanks for the giveaway and may God continue to bless your family.

  6. I just wanted to say what an inspiration this post was to me. I am so sorry that you had to go through all of that, but I know that the time you had with little Matthew was so precious to you. God bless you and your family.

  7. It was an honor to “know” Matthew. I, for one, have been blessed by your faithful witness. When those days were darkest, think of how much light you unwittingly shone! God so good, so merciful, so faithful!

    We do not have a regular back to school tradition yet, but this year I was thinking of wrapping up some new school supplies (mainly art supplies, their favorite!) and letting the kids open them and use them on the first day of school (we school year-round, but have been doing lighter days lately, we’ll be gearing back up to full days soon). It should be an easy tradition to implement–easy is key for me these days! :o)

  8. I’m so glad I read through some of the other comments to feel I’m not alone…. we don’t really do anything special. This year, we started back as a necessity (actually today was our first day back). We just jump back in, sometimes with notice, sometimes none at all, when the kids are showing signs of needing a schedule and/or the weather is too hot/humid outside where no one even wants to go out. I love the rhythm of our days as homeschoolers and the peace it creates.

    Thanks for sharing about Matthew again. What a blessing it was to be sending our love and prayers from IL during the pregnancy and his time here. I love our Magnum Opus family and the connections/bonding it provides! Hugs to you and your family!

  9. This year, we are trying to get settled into our new house. No firm plans for the first day of school, but my arm could be twisted to make a road trip a little north. 🙂 We love you and your family, pray for you daily, and cannot wait to see you again. St. Matthew Karol, pray for us.

  10. Oh, my friend… I so miss our dear Matthew.

    You have found a beautiful way to honor his precious life and the blessing that he was ~and remains~ to so many.

    I love you. I love all of you. Thank you for being such a strong prayer warrior for my family during our difficult year.

    (COME BACK TO TEXAS! WE NEED YOU!)

    Now… for back to school…

    THIS year, our household will shrink dramatically from its present state before we begin. We are celebrating the new year and the fresh start with Pi(e) Day!!!!!! Apple Pie, Chocolate Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie….

  11. Happy birthday sweet Matthew, we miss you and love you.

    We don’t usually do anything special but this year we may make a special snack to welcome in our new year. Not sure what though…lol
    We are going to be schooling 5 this year so lots of crafts for the littles and lots of work for the bigs.
    A birthday gift to give away for Matthew is a sweet way to honor him.
    God bless you and all of your beautiful family my dear friend.

  12. Emily, I cry every time I see Mathew’s photos. I am so glad you are healing and especially glad that I have met you and your beautiful family. For school preparation, I normally take a day off work and take the boys to lunch. They get to pick where we go. We might also stop by a park to play – depending on how hot it is. Mostly it is one last “Mommy day” before return to school. Then we all go home and cuddle up and take a nap together! God Bless, Phyllis

  13. Emily, this is such a beautiful post. I can so relate to the different stages of grieving that you talked about. I’m at that final stage too, knowing that God is in control and that my little ones life – despite how very short it was – was such a gift and blessing. We will always miss these precious children dearly, but it is such a consolation and joy to know they are in Heaven! {{hugs}}

  14. What a beautiful act to remember little Matthew with such a generous gift! We always have a few “presents” – often necessary items – and a chocolate cake and we aim to go to Mass too, to start our homeschool year off right – it “throws the schedule off” to go to mass on a school day but it is a good way to remember to relax a little and walk this path with God consciously as our guide and support.

  15. Happy Birthday sweet Matthew! I found your blog through Charlotte at Waltzing Matilda and came over to read your beautiful moving story. Your faith in God is strong and your children will grow and learn from it. Losing a baby is unimaginable and a special cross to bear for some mothers. Your gift of his life was short yet so very precious. God’s strength, grace and blessings have pulled you through! I admire your courage and reliance on God.

    Have you heard of Fr. Joe Kempf’s book, Sometimes Life Is Just Not Fair? It’s a children’s book to deal with the struggles in life like losing a loved one.

    May God bless you and your family and may Our Blessed Mother hold you and your family in her loving arms.

  16. Happy Birthday Matthew!! What a special way to share the continued love of such a special little boy. Hugs to you all!

  17. Oh precious, Matthew! What a gift you are. Happy birthday to you and all those angels among you. May you continue to watch and keep all the mommies and daddies, brothers and sisters here on earth. God bless your beautiful family, Matthew!

    Emily, I just saw this on Charlotte’s blog. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You have helped so many others along the way.

    Let’s see…we start school the end of July and take two weeks off at the end of each quarter. Mostly for my sake 🙂 I love to sneak a card into their bedrooms the night before school and place it on their nightstands. They see it and open it first thing in the morning. I also like to make a special big breakfast for that first day. Something fun. Our homeschool group celebrates a back to school Mass usually the end of August, early September. I believe it is the perfect way to start a school year off.

    Best wishes in this upcoming school year!

  18. Praying for you and your family as you remember your beautiful son!

    We celebrate the start of each new homeschooling year with a party for Our Blessed Mother’s birthday.

  19. Thank you for your beautiful witness and sharing of your faith. Your posting have made me less fearful of what the future may hold and to trust in God.

    We don’t have a back to school tradition but last year we started early (in July) because we had our 5th child in September! This year I’m thinking of having the kids decorate a cake or cupcakes with some school theme.

    God bless!

  20. Thank you for sharing your story .. Matthew has a generous mama. On our first day of school, we usually take pictures of the kids and use the photos as part of the cover sheets for their yearly school binder. The “worth keeping” stuff is put in here throughout the year. Happy feast day to Matthew .. my 15 yo’s birthday is that same day. Blessings.

  21. I wish I was organized enough to have a special ‘Back to School’ tradition. I feel like I’m doing good if everyone can find all their books on the ‘first’ day. We actually school pretty much year round, so its hard to determine when the ‘new’ school year begins…
    Happy Birthday Matthew. Your family is in our prayers.

  22. We usually celebrate the new school year with a treat for breakfast and some new school supplies (mechanical pencils, stickers, erasers, notebooks, sometimes art supplies) Nothing very fancy, but just a little out of the ordinary.
    Happy Birthday St Matthew!

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