Motivational Monday

I wanted to share a couple of things I ran across the last couple of days that made me feel hopeful and inspired and proud to be part of the human race. That’s not a bad way to start the week, right?

The first one is a follow-up to the heartbreaking story of Maddie, the toddler that died suddenly last week. Thank you so much for caring about and praying for the Spohr family. The internet, in particular the mommy blogging community, has rallied around this family in such an incredible way that it even garnered the attention of the Los Angeles Times, which published a story about it. I cannot begin to comprehend the tragedy this young couple is struggling to bear, but I am reprinting the LA Times story below so that you can celebrate with me the fact that even in what sometimes feels like a very cold, impersonal world God can still move on our hearts to bear one another’s burdens.



Parents in pain
“It still smells like her. It still has that Madeline smell,” said Heather Spohr, seated next to husband Mike, as she held her baby’s dress.

Heather Spohr chronicled the story of her firstborn, Madeline, who came into this world prematurely and ailing. The 17-month-old’s cyber followers are mobilizing to help the grieving family.

By Esmeralda Bermudez
April 12, 2009

Madeline Alice Spohr was born at 4:22 p.m. and weighed 3 pounds, 1 ounce. She came out crying and pink. . . . She is responding to treatment for heart and lung problems, but she has a long road ahead.
So began Heather Spohr’s journey in November 2007 to chronicle the story of her firstborn child on her blog. Madeline was born early, at 29 weeks, and doctors did not expect her to survive. But she did. And over the months, through Spohr’s blog entries, the little one in Brentwood charmed bloggers and readers from Kentucky to Canada with her fluttery lashes and sassy personality.
Many of her fans were mothers, like Spohr, who turned to the Internet for parenting support or a good laugh after a long day of chasing their own children around the house. They followed Maddie daily through naps, park strolls, birthday parties and, now and then, bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia. They suggested home remedies and bathing tricks.
On Tuesday, the “mommy bloggers,” as they are commonly known in the blogosphere, were shocked to learn that 17-month-old Maddie had died unexpectedly after being rushed to the hospital with a cough and congestion.

Maddie and I rode to the hospital with the lights on and the sirens blaring, it was surreal, Spohr wrote in her last entry, a day before a friend logged on to announce Maddie’s death.

Overnight, the news spread across cyberspace, and hundreds mobilized nationwide, using their blogs and other social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to help the Spohrs. Spohr’s own site, The Spohrs Are Multiplying, crashed because of the outpouring.

Within two days, Maddie’s Internet followers donated more than $20,000 in her name to the March of Dimes, a nonprofit the Spohr family champions. Through the Web, they organized everything from food deliveries to the Spohrs’ home to funeral preparations. Nearly 30 March of Dimes walkathon teams were formed, some in far-flung places such as Spanish Fort, Ala., and Caledonia, Mich., to walk on behalf of Maddie.

Some turned their blogs purple — the signature color of the March of Dimes — as a tribute; they organized purple balloon releases and began to sell purple Maddie T-shirts and bracelets. They did all this for a family hardly any of them knew in person, a family they befriended through the Web.

“We all put ourselves in Heather’s shoes,” said Megan Hook, a blogger from Camarillo and mother of three boys. “We all interact daily or several times a day online, through Twitter, through chats, through blogs and comments. It could have been any one of us.”

Two thousand miles away in Kentucky, Dawn Schnee, a blogger and mother of one, awoke Wednesday morning to hear the news.

“I was horrified,” she said. “I remember I sat on my couch and screamed so loud I must have scared my child.”

After moving to Kentucky as a new mom nearly two years ago, Schnee found solace in reading other mothers’ (and sometimes fathers’) blogs. Spohr’s sense of humor as a parent stood out and helped Schnee not to feel so alone. In February, she met Spohr in person at a blogging conference.

“It was so nice to hear that echo of ‘I hear you and I understand,’ ” Schnee said.

On Saturday, Spohr and her husband, Mike, sat on their couch far from the computer. The home that would come alive daily with Maddie’s laughter was mostly quiet. Spohr tightly held one of her daughter’s favorite dolls and kept a few of her baby clothes by her side, including a bright yellow dress she wore recently to a birthday party.

“It still smells like her,” Spohr said. “When I feel empty, I like to hold it all in my arms and remember her.”

The 29-year-old started her blog to update family and friends through her difficult pregnancy, and ultimately, to show Maddie the entries when she grew old enough to understand her improbable story as a preemie baby.

She says it may be a while before she returns to the blogosphere.

“When I do, I will have to figure out what my identity is now,” she said.

Friends and family will gather to pay tribute to Maddie at her funeral service Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. in the Old North Chapel at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park, Hollywood Hills.

Then the couple plan to walk with a team to honor Maddie at the March of Dimes’ March for Babies walk April 25 at Exposition Park.

For more information, go to

And finally, here is something that made my day and I hope you love it, too. It’s kind of reminiscent of a clip that was floating around a year or so ago, but this one stars a delightfully quirky 47 year-old woman who, after a lifetime of quiet obscurity, finally gets her moment in the sun– and seizes it!

CLICK HERE: Susan Boyle

(Now go out and make it an extraordinary week!)

8 Responses

  1. ruthiebear

    SUsan BOyle made me cry. I felt the same way when I heard Paul Potts’ audition on BGT. People are so quick to prejudge based on looks and fail to wait to enjoy what’s on the inside – the true person. Yes, this was inspiring. Thank you for sharing it with us, TOri.
    In this world of uncertainty and financial crisis, it is refreshing to hear about caring and inspiration.

  2. belinda

    What a great way to start off Monday morning and a new week! I take that challenge! Thanks!

  3. jonny

    Same here! I spent the Easter weekend home & alone for various reasons. Time to get out & kick some serious inspired b**t! Actually, I have my annual Easter Monday club tonight in one Helsinki venue. Basically every Monday night I have a singer/song-writter evening there, but because Easter Monday is a religious holiday over here, I only have various brothers & sisters in the faith performing that night. It’s been less than two years a live music club in Helsinki has been allowing evenings with only Christian artists, so this is still quite special, possibly even unbelievable, for some. I’m also not able to view the one You Tube clip. It’s not available on Mobile. Thanks for giving some idea what going on in it, ruthiebear! Also, I’ve been regretting the last post I did on the Heartbreaking blog. Unfortunately, I’m wasn’t able to remove it. I think it was more of a thinking out loud thing I should’ve kept to myself. My apologies to those who may have been rightly offended by it’s insensitive posting. Peace! jonny

  4. MostlySunny

    You know, there’s just something…uh…truly satisfying when the laugh-ee totally knocks the socks off the laugh-er(s)! I love raw talent and true humility. She was heartwarming.

  5. blondie

    That song ALWAYS makes me cry – add Susan Boyle into the mix and I was in a puddle over my breakfast cereal this morning! Thank you for posting both stories. What a way to start the week…

  6. LindaB

    Well, this post makes me want to go hug my kids and then sing Trumpet of Jesus in the shower (it sounds better in there)! Thanks, Tori!

  7. jonny

    LOL!! The shower: God’s greatest gift to many a vocalist = )

  8. mmyrrh

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