Friday, January 2, 2009

Guest Post

Dear Friends,

Hi, I'm Susie's mom (mum for those of you in New Zealand), and Joshua's Nana. I asked Susie if I could make an entry on her blog in honor of Joshua's first birthday (7 January), asking that people would comment to Matt and Susie on Joshua's story, and how his life has impacted your life this year. Though he wasn't aware, his "Lifesong" sang out loud and clear. Joshua carried out his life mission in 67 days - most of us think we've got 67 years or more. I know my perspective on life has changed; each day and each life is so much more valued by me now.

Thanks for your support of Matt, Susie, and Oceana.

Jeannie Mears
Mum and Nana


  1. How do you even begin to describe all that Joshua did in not only his 67 days, but those following his entry into Life?

    I held my babies closer. I realised all over again how precious EVERY life is. I caught a glimpse of heaven. I saw Jesus. I witnessed Gods loving grace and compassion. I encountered a boy with more strength, courage, grace, tenacity and peace than someone who had lived 6 decades.

    Joshua has managed to weave his way into my own life. I think of him often, and love him, even though I never had the blessing of meeting him. Joshua Matthew Sams is an inspiration. An inspiration to live totally at ease with Gods plan, to rest in his infinite wisdom, and go Home with dignity when called, and not a moment sooner or later.

    Joshua is a hero.

  2. Before Joshua & Gwyneth Rose, I had always considered that there were some situations that warranted .. well you know. After Joshua's courageous story and YOUR strength as a mother Susie, my mind has altered quite a bit.

    So I thank you for that.

    Happy Birthday 'shua. :-)

  3. Dear Susie, Matt & Oceana,
    Gosh, I don't even know where to begin. I started following this blog within a couple of days of Joshua's birth. I have read your blog every day since then. Joshua's precious life has meant so much to me. Those 67 days were filled with miracle after miracle. For me, those days were a beautiful picture of God's infinite love & grace. You were able to love Joshua in your arms for 67 days longer than the doctors told you that you would. You were able to knit for him & hold him & just be his family. What a special gift. I can only imagine how many lives you all have touched in this year. You have touched my life in a profound way. Watching you through this blog has been one of the most amazing things I've ever witnessed. You have handled all of this with such grace & dignity. Now, you have little flip-flop on the way. I remember how excited I was for you when you announced that you were expecting again! What a wonderful continuation of your already amazing story. I have loved getting to know you.
    Susie, I think you are incredibly talented. Your writing is sweet, funny, incredibly profound & a pure joy to read! I will continue to read!!
    Happy 1st Birthday, Sweet Joshua!!
    Emily in Mississippi

  4. Hi Susie!

    I've written before about how your story has impacted my life, but I love your Mum's idea and so I thought I'd post again.

    I first "met" you on a Mommies by Month board (BF), before you knew about Joshua's encephalocele. I prayed for you when you shared your news with us (and continue to pray for you), and as soon as I learned about your blog, I began reading it frequently as well.

    Your faith and your strength motivated me to keep going many times in my LO's early days. She was a difficult baby, and I had a very hard time adjusting to the fact that my baby wasn't "textbook" by any means. I was often disappointed and felt like a failure. At some of my lowest points I thought of you and what you were being asked to give up and that helped me to find the strength to get through my days.

    The nights when I was up every hour (or more often!) to soothe a fussy baby I would think of you and tell myself that I should appreciate every second I have with my LO, even at 2 am. It was hard, but I have leanred to appreciate my middle of the night snuggles....sometimes I even hope for them, as crazy as that sounds.

    Yes, sometimes I get stuck in a rut and I get bored with the mundane tasks of motherhood, but by now I'm way past addicted to your blog, so each night after I put LO to bed and check in on my long list of blogs, my appreciation is renewed.

    Not only has my appreciation for motherhood grown and developed through "knowing" you, but my faith has evolved as well.

    How I wish that I had learned these things from you in happier circumstances, and I'll admit, even as I type this, I'm constantly deleting and rewording, because I really don't know how to say what I'm trying to say, and I'm hoping to not end up on the "things NOT to say when someone you love is grieving" list. But I do want to thank you for sharing your story...Joshua's story...with the word. You are so brave, and even though you say that you don't always feel strong, the strength you have shared with me (and countless other mommies) does reflect on you!

    I wish you the best in 2009!

  5. Susie & Matt,
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful son's life with the world. His life proved that God does work miracles.

    His birth defied medical odds and his life defied what you were told could happen. His beautiful face showed love and peace. Through his life, I have learned that not to take one day for granted. You found joy in the little things and rejoiced in his life every day. You have shown the world that they should trust in our loving God, as you have. I am so grateful that you chose to share your son's life and your life with "the world". Your story is a testament to the strength you can find in God.

    On his birthday I hope you can rejoice that Joshua is in the arms of his loving, heavenly father. While your hearts are heavy, may your spirits be light.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful son's life, I am a better mother, because of what your family has taught me.


  6. As a proud mama of 2 beautiful heavenly children, I can begin to imagine that ache you have, missing Joshua. You see, I miscarried a precious heavenly angel a few months before I became pregnant with my son. I was devastated and couldnt imagine making it thru without the precious angel I craved to hold in my arms and never got the chance. When I came across your story last spring, my heart was filled with love for you and your family. You got to hold a precious angel while most of us only dream of that day to come. I have days where my life seems like so much work, like its such a huge overwhelming task, days where my children are driving me to the brink of insanity, then I visit your blog. Instantly I'm calmed and feel a peace like never before. Joshua is a reminder that God performs miracles even if they aren't in the usual fashion. I wish I had a peace like you and Matt feel on a daily walk. I dont' know that I ever will but what I do know, my life has become more about the little things, rather then the material things. I love on my children more, I give my husband that extra squeeze in the morning even when he's running late, I kiss my children good night over and over because each day is and should be a blessing.

    I pray for Matt, Susie, Oceana, baby Joshua and their beautiful new baby to come every night.

    Peace and love be with.

    Joy In Ohio

  7. Amen. Joshua made me realize just how precious life is.

    God bless you all on this special day! Thank you for your blog. It is SO inspiring.

  8. I began reading your blog a few days after Joshua was born. I was glued to my screen each morning, waiting for an update on the little one to see how he was doing. Although I was saddened when Joshua was promoted to Heaven, I was also so happy to hear that Heaven had such a wonderful new little angel. I can only hope that 2009 brings Susie and Matt a year filled with another little angel, except one that will stay on earth longer. Susie and Matt are truly blessed either way, but this way they would get to see the angel every day.


  9. What a wonderful way to celebrate Joshua's birthday. Happy Birthday, Joshua! We love you and miss you terribly. Seeing life as more precious?...definitely. But the greatest impact in my life has been the realization of our heavenly Father loving us so much that He willing gave His Son's life for us. The Father felt every bit of the sorrow of the separation from His Son and His death as we did from Joshua's. I stand in awe of our God who loves with such a depth that I cannot fathom. I thank Him daily for His sacrifice on our behalf. I thank Him for the privilege of being Joshua's Gramma...our "prophet to the nations". And I am so proud of our strong and courageous Joshua for what he accomplished in 67 days on this earth.

  10. Susie has greatly impacted my life with her writings of strength and courage she and Matt demonstrate. She is the same age as my son Ted and I cannot imagine how he would deal with this sort of devastation.

    The story of this sweet family inspires me daily as I log on and click to see them carry on accepting their trials with courage.

    I am so thankful for the Sams family and their inspiration.


    ps. I still believe that these kids are wise beyond their years.

  11. What a wonderful idea : )

    Matt and Susie. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Joshuas story. I have never and pray I will never know the pain of losing a child but am so so thankful for your story. It has made me sane in those moments where my kids are driving me crazy. Because of Joshuas story I know how blessed I am crazy or not. I hug my kids tighter. Snuggle them more at bedtime. Another reason I am so blessed to know Joshuas story is because of the immense faith that you have shown in a situation where many would just shut down and close out God. God does have a plan. Part of his plan was that I would stumble upon this blog and have my faith renewed by strangers across the globe sharing their love and devoted faith in an extremely tough time in their lives. Joshua was so beautiful and such a miracle. Thankyou for sharing. Thankyou Joshua :) Im so sorry for your loss and I pray that as his first birthday approaches that you will be filled with the Lords Peace.

    Im sorry. But I cant stop staring at Joshuas photo on the left in the little blue outfit. What a beautiful boy.Its the thing that grabs my attention every time I read :) Take Care

  12. Matt & Susie, Thank you for sharing Joshua with the world. I checked in every day to see the pictures and how things were going when he was here with you. I still enjoy keeping up with your family and I am praying for your new baby of 2009. Joshua was loved far and near. His life made an impact in my life. I don't know how to put this into elegant words but I thank for for educating me a bit... on his condition and on how to make each day count of any situation. Many blessings to you. Michelle Houston, Tx

  13. Joshua's Lifesong made our family a little less afraid when our kids were told their son, Noah had Mackel-Gruber Syndrome. Thank you for sharing his 67 days with us.
    Nana Verna

  14. When I stumbled upon your blog and read through your story I could not imagine being in your situation. I remember waking up in the morning and making sure that Joshua was still alive. The morning I read the post that he had passed away, I cried. I told my husband your story. I learned a lesson that day... I learned that you were grateful for the days you had with him. From that day forward I knew if I was ever in your situation, I would deliver a beautiful baby and be grateful for the days that I do have with him or her. Although he is not with you he is your baby and always will be. I will never forget your story or your little boy. God Bless you !

  15. Matt & Susie,
    Where do I begin?
    I found your blog about a week after Joshua passed away, but I quickly read back through the previous couple of months & learned about Joshua's 'cele and his birth and all the beautiful days he was with you. I watched all the videos, looked at every picture. And I cried.

    I cried because I am a mom. I cried because I could hear your heartbreak in your words. I cried because you were broken, but you still pointed people to God. I cried because I was aching right along with you.

    And even now, I read your posts & there are days when the tears come again.

    In the past couple of years, my husband & I have also had our hearts broken due to the loss of 2 children...but it was a different kind of loss. (email me & I'll tell ya our story if you want to read it...warning--it's long!) And so, although our situation was fundamentally different, I could sympathize with the loss of this precious little one in some crazy way.

    I have been honored & impressed by your transparency. In the church, it is so easy for us (all of us!) to put up a wall and smile our plastic, pasted on grins. But if people don't know of our struggles & pain, they assume we live perfect lives with our perfect families. I think that turns off newcomers & new believers more than anything. When we are honest & transparent and allow them to see inside our worlds, they can grow and we have another person to hold us up & support us through it all.

    So thank you...on so many levels. Your words have touched me. Your honesty has moved me. And Joshua's little life has blessed me. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us, every day!

  16. Happy Birthday 'Shua !!!
    think of you almost daily
    'Lijha's family

    ~thank you for being a vessel of honor!!!!!~

  17. Hey guys,

    Through Joshua's life, I certainly learned a lot. I feel it made me better as a parent in a way because I saw how precious life is and how short it can be and it helped me to have more patience with my son. More than that, it gave me more faith in God. When all the doctor's reports were so negative that he wasn't going to live long and he may not even make it past birth, and to see that little fighter live 67 days was amazing. Every day I looked forward to reading your blog and seeing the progress he has made. It also gave me appreciation for my friend :-) Susie, I took a lot of lessons from you. Through this time, you made every moment count. Every moment special. I find myself a lot of times getting lost in cleaning, bills, potty training, Samuel learning to talk, that I forget to enjoy my son. And that is what you did. You enjoyed every moment you had with him. What stuck out to me the most is how you had a birthday for him each week. How special. Joshua has taught me to have faith in God, that He is bigger than doctors and statistics. He's taught me that time is precious and don't waste it on petty things. And his story most importantly has taught me to enjoy every minute with your children. You never know what life can bring your way. Even though I didn't get to meet him (besides when he was in your belly :-) ), he has changed my life for sure. I love you Susie & Matt, and how blessed Joshua was to have you two as parents.

  18. Baby Joshua thankyou for leaving a special foot print on my heart..

  19. Reading Joshua's story has taught me to appreciate every day that I have with my children. My little boy was born on Jan 8 and I have spent many many days reading Joshua's story while holding tightly to my baby with tears streaming down my face. Thank-you so much for sharing this journey with us. Your entire family truly is, through our wonderful Savior, Strong and Courageous. God Bless You!

  20. Susie has bee my reminder this year of God's grace with her experience with Joshua. I hear about things like this and think "how do these women do it"? Susie shows us how. And she's an inspiration because her son inspired her. So, there you have it.

  21. Oh! And I thank God for bringing us, along with Matt, into this incredible family. I thank Him for the perfect mother for my grandchildren. What a blessing you all are! Love you all!

  22. Joshua's story has touched me. I learned from him to enjoy life as much as possible because you never know how much time you have. I appreciate that I do have two happy and healthy babies. They might get under my skin sometimes but they are here and growing everyday. I learned that no doctor can annotate how much time someone has on this earth. Joshua proved that. He stuck around and showed everyone that he was going to go when he was ready.

    Happy 1st Birthday baby Joshua

  23. to me reading about Joshua and what Susie share about her thoughts and feelings are like therapy.

    I have lots of good and well meaning friends and even a great husband, but Susie is one of the few that 'gets it' about losing a child because she has experience it too.
    It is good for me to read that she have many of the same thoughts and feelings as myself.

  24. Susie,

    You have made profound impact on my life over the past year. I started following your blog right after Joshua was born. I laughed and cried with your posts, praying for more time for your family with him. I found out he was promoted right before heading to my Shepard group and we all prayed for strength in dealing with his loss. You are such a strong woman of faith, something that I desperately needed to see this year. You've definitely given me a huge appreciation for every day that I have with my daughter.

    Thanks for being so strong and courageous and we'll be praying for you all on his birthday!

    Corey, Kristin and Sage

  25. Matt and Susie, Back when your beautiful story of dear Joshua was just starting, someone shared with me to pray for you--I think it was Debbie Hinton. I have been praying ever since. God has knit your family into our hearts just as if we were blood related. You are an amazing family and example of Christ's love. Joshua's life here on earth was awe inspiring, and knowing he is with Christ right now moves me to tears. Sad because I know you would rather have him in your arms- but thrilled for Him because of the glory Joshua's life and your's is giving Him.
    We love you guy--from on the Hill-Vic and Shawn Neitz

  26. Happy Birthday, Joshua! Thank you for being so Strong and Courageous. Your story has warmed my heart, touched my life, and allowed my relationship with the Lord to grow stronger. I have a baby that is just about your sister Oceana's age (born June 06) and a baby that is just 2 weeks older than you (born Dec 07) - so I am reminded of you every single day. I do my best to hug my boys tighter, say I love you more often, and make precious memories each new day.

    I am amazed by your Mom & Dad's strength - to remember, to reach out, and to share in all things Joshua. You are one amazing Little Man, and as a mother, my heart simply aches for your Mommy's.

    But what a glorious reunion your family will have one day! And some day, Joshua, I too will have the honor of meeting you.

    Happy Birthday, Buddy. You're loved and missed, but we know you Live, perfect, whole, and happier than we can even imagine!


  27. Oh Susie! I can't even begin to explain how Joshua has effected my life. Watching you through your whole experience has made me cherish time with my children so much more.

    Ican't tell you how many times I cried at the sad news on the blog and how many times I've smiled at the good news. It broke my heart when he was promoted.

    I want to thank you for being so strong and such an example to other moms. You definately made me stronger. I hope you know how awesome you are!

    Happy birthday Joshua, you are missed and celebrated by so many.

  28. Susie, There are no words to describe the real and profoundly deep impact this tiny little baby has made in the big world. He helped me realize how precious life is and to treasure the moments - big and small. Through the whole thing, I was amazed by how you handled every bit of it, but what struck me most, and continues on a very regular basis to strike me, was the part in the video you made where you made a list of all the things Joshua got to experience while he was alive. Even the sunburn. When I think of that, it helps me to cherish each moment, the good and the bad, as LIFE. I'm so thankful that you've included us in your journey. God chose just the right woman as little Joshua's mommy. Happy birthday, Joshua!

  29. I think the title of their blog "Be Strong and Courageous" says it all. I have been more than inspired by this family and little Joshua. One little boy made so much impact on this world and it's hard to even place into words. Happy 1st Birthday Little Man! :)

    Love, Dana in VA

  30. I was moved more by Joshua's life, and by his promotion, than I have ever been by anything in my life. I honestly think of him every single day. Sometimes, when my sweet little boy is sleeping, I'll look into his crib and see his hands crossed the way Joshua would have his hands crossed in some pictures and I think of Joshua and smile. I really think they would have been great friends had they met. He's a very special child and he did so much in his 67 days to bring me back to my relationship with Jesus. Thank you to Susie for sharing your beautiful story of Joshua. Blessings to you and your family.

  31. Reading and praying for you this year has reminded me that even when things in this life don't make sense, God knows what He's doing and it is His strength that gets us through hard times.

    I know that I know that I know that I KNOW that God has good plans for your family. And for mine.

    Happy almost birthday, Sweet Boy!

  32. To the Sams Family,
    I began reading your blog only a few months ago and spent many a weekend avoiding my homework to catch up on the story of Joshua. Susie, I don't know if you remember me, but we met once, a really long time ago. I've been best friends with your cousin, Dorothy, since we were fourteen and I met you the year you helped with the costumes for our theatre group. Dorothy first told me about Joshua and whatever she knew, she'd pass along to me. I remember crying with her the day he was promoted to be with Our Father, and thinking how miraculous it was that a baby, who lived a world away from me and who I had never met, could touch me in such a fashion. Reading your blog this past fall was a real inspiration to me - your Godly strength in the face of the unknown has been a real comfort to me in times of uncertainty. Thank you so much for sharing this incredible story.

    Happy Birthday 'Shua!
    And many blessings to you, Matt, Susie, Oceana and Baby Girl.

    love and prayers,

  33. Mum of Angel and a Joshua too.January 4, 2009 at 10:55 PM

    Your son impacted our lives so much that when our baby was born at 33 weeks in April this year we settled on the name "Joshua". We were un decided on a name and had many a disagreement over names for months. Joshua just seemed right... So Joshua he is and he suits his name to a T.

    So much love from my baby Joshua to yours. xxx

    Happy Heavenly Birthday Joshua...

    And to Susie, from one bereaved mum to another.. sending all my strength for you to get through. xx

  34. We cannot assume that we know what someone else has walked through or is walking through. There are people hurting all around us because of loss. You have walked through the loss of sweet Joshua with a hope that comes with knowing Jesus. You are honest about your grief and struggles. You celebrate Joshua and the gift he was and still is. I think I will be able to be a better friend and be better able to walk along side someone who experiences such a loss in the future after reading your blog. I just had my 20 or so week sonogram and my baby looks very healthy...because I know your story I did not take that for granted. Thank you for sharing and allowing so many to celebrate Joshua's life with you. Happy Birthday, are one loved little boy who touched and continues to touch the lives of many!


  35. I'm not sure when I started reading - I think I found you through Confessions of a CF Husband though.

    Susie, I have been continually amazed at how you have shared both your joys and your heartaches while giving glory to God for what He has done in your life. Many (even those of us who believe in God) have a hard time praising Him through the storms of life.

    I'm so grateful that I was able to read about Joshua and pray for him and your family. It has given me a softened heart for those who are different from the "norm" and a better appreciation for my children and life in general.

    Thanks for letting us have a small glimpse into your life, and for the opportunity to pray for you.

    Happy *almost* 1st birthday, Joshua!

  36. Joshua's life reminded me of how precious life and time with our little ones is. And Susie, you reminded me that God is good, no matter what!

  37. What do I say? Happy Birthday Joshua! So many days I think about what a precious little boy he is, especially when I look at AJ, only three days older than Joshua. Joshua must be loving being able to run and sing to and jump and cuddle with Jesus. So many days I wonder why God allows the things that He does. I guess the whys never are answered. But impact my life? He definitely did. I cried. I laughed. I prayed. I still do. Susie, I am so aware of your strength, awed really. Words? I have none that can adequately describe the impact. But you taught me to cherish every day that I have with my son.

  38. Oh Susie...where do I begin. Your beautiful family of 5 has forever changed me. I will never forget sweet 'Shua, and I pray that I will continue to grow in the lord even more as I have already this year. Because of beautiful babes like Joshua, Tristan, Kaleb, Gwyneth and others I have come to appreciate life even that much more and have really grown in my habits of consistent prayer for others. I prayed for Joshua and you and your family every night, and continue to do so often. I feel blessed to "know" you and your family! You truly are an amazing, inspirational, beautiful person! Thank you for sharing your life with us, especially during the difficult times. Know that I'm crying and praying with you, and God Bless!

  39. Ever since we've entered January, every day that goes by all I can think of is you, and precious Joshua... Sometimes I hold Levi and think how unfair it is, mad and sad all at the same time. Wishing Joshua was here with us. I LOVE that my family got to hold and love on him, I am soooooooo thankful for that irreplacable memory. Whenever I glance at our NZ pictures, those ones with our little Joshy Boy makes my heart smile from ear to ear. He is beautiful. I hope one day we will be close enough to call ourselves neighbors, and watch our children grow. My heart is aching and crying for you and your family, we love you all SO much. Joshau never leaves our minds, and will never leave our hearts. Happy Beautiful 1st Birthday big boy!

  40. Susie, I began reading your blog not long after Joshua's promotion. At the time, we were going through a rough time with our Joshua's behaviour. I was spending day after day frustrated and exhausted. Your family's story was a huge reminder that 67 days, weeks, months, years...we can't know what it's going to be. It gave me strength to love and hold on tightly. I want to thank you for being so vulnerable with total strangers. God bless you guys on this difficult day! We'll be praying for you! Happy Birthday, Joshua!

  41. I want to write something but I don't know what to write.
    You are so strong, You are so real.
    Life sux sometimes but life is also amazing. Especially Joshua's life (Mr 'Shua), and Oce's (oh my sweet sweet Oce), and Flip Flop's (yipee), and Matt's (Mr Mohawk man) and yours (One truly amazing woman).
    Thank you for your ever increasing family of (at this stage!) 5.
    Happy Birthday to Joshua. I pray that tomorrow is a special day that goes exactly how YOU want it to go.
    Lots of luv from us to you xxxxoooo

  42. So far away from where you are
    These miles have torn us worlds apart
    And I miss you
    Yeah, I miss you
    So far away from where you are
    Standing underneath the stars
    And I wish you were here

    I miss the years that were erased
    I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face
    I miss all the little things I never thought that they’d mean everything to me
    Yeah, I miss you
    And I wish you were here

    I feel the beating of your heart
    I see the shadows of your face
    Just know that wherever you are
    Yeah, I miss you
    And I wish you were here

    I miss the years that were erased
    I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face
    I miss all the little things
    I never thought that they’d mean everything to me
    Yeah, I miss you
    And I wish you were here

    So far away from where you are
    These miles have torn us worlds apart
    And I miss you
    Yeah, I miss you
    And I wish you were here

    -From Where You Are
    (if you get the chance you could listen to it on youtube)

    Joshua changed my life forever. Thank you for sharing him with me. It was the little things that really got to me. His little miracles. Every one of his 67 days. It made me see how big of an impact the little things in life can have. And how if we all do little things we can really make a difference in the world around us. It gave me a new perspective on God and blew him out of the box i had put him in. his story and yours susy, will stay with me for the rest of my life. thank you, i love you all!

  43. I have read your story for the last year. I have cried on numerous occasions and for me Joshua reminded me vividly how blessed we are to have a forever with our families. That because of the gift of our Savior we only need miss the ones we love for a short time. I have ached for you, Susie on numerous occasions and have prayed for your strength. You are younger than me by almost 6 years and I admire your life. Thank you for sharing Joshua's life with us. What a precious angel he is. Happy birthday, baby boy.

  44. I think Joshua affected me in the way that I realized (once again) that God makes no mistakes. He sent Joshua to your family because He knew that you would turn people back to Him and thus glorify God with Joshua's life. And isn't that why we're all here? To glorify God with everything we do, no matter the cost to us.

    I remember checking daily to see how he was doing and how we all cried when he passed. But I was able to show my children that we are all here for a reason, no matter how long we get to spend here. We all just felt so much love for this little one who, without a word spoken, was doing so much for the Lord. Bless you, Matt and Susie for caring for him and loving him so.

    Susie, this will change your life. You will never ever forget about him, you will always feel pangs of sorrow, but it will impact your life and mold you into His image. I applaud you so much, for being such a light of hope to others facing the same diagnosis.

    God bless you!


  45. Dear Matt, Susie, Oceana, and Flipflop,

    We're so privileged to have you as our family, and we're so proud of Joshua and how he taught us all to just walk with God when we just don't know what lies ahead.

    "Lord, we don't know where all this is going,
    Or how it all turns out.
    Lead us to peace beyond understanding.
    and beyond all doubt."

    Newsboys - hope I quoted it correctly.

    God entrusted Matt and you with Joshua because He knew he could.....and you two did a "proud job". Oceana is a proud big sister too.

    Thank you for making us privileged grandparents of all three children.


  46. Dear suzie
    I first started reading your blog after hearing about it on baby fit . your little man had made me hold my own kids longer and cherish the late night feeds.i have lost a son as well and nobody remembers but me. and also remember your beautiful son.

  47. Dear Sams family,

    Joshua and your allowing all of us to know him and love him has forever blessed and impacted my life. I have used his story several times as I see patients who are dealing with loss or new diagnosis on their babies. I use it to share hope and the value of life and the value of love. Thanks for letting us know Joshua story.

    I'm praying for you all, especially this week and I'll always know you are a family of 5!

    Michele Walsh

  48. You guys are such an example of faith and grace through trying times. Thank you for sharing your little boy's life with your readers---I can't recall when exactly I started to follow your blog, but it was soon after Joshua arrived into this world. I was glued to my computer screen each day, awaiting updates on your sweet family and your precious baby boy. Your peace and faith and love throughout this journey are an inspiration. God bless you guys and your growing family. Happy Birthday sweet Joshua! Many prayers from our family to yours, Tamara in Minnesota

  49. I know I am a bit late on this, as Joshua's birthday was yesterday (today in the US). But I wanted to express my appreciate to you, Matt and Oceana for sharing Joshua's story, even if I am late.

    I learned of your story right around the time that Joshua was born. Your family and this blog became part of my daily routine. I would check in on you guys daily. And you did not disappoint. You opened your heart and your feelings in ways that were so raw and so powerful, but also so full of grace and love of God and his plan. God had the perfect plan for Joshua's life and he choose the perfect family to give Joshua to. You accepted the reality of God's plan. No it was not easy. No you did not like having to give your son back to God, but somehow you showed the world to find goodness is all things. In all situations. In all of God's plans.

    Joshua was a gift. He was a treasure. And through you loving him and sharing that experience with us on this blog you gave me something to aspire to become. A better Mother to my own children. You knew when Joshua was born that his days on this earth may be few. You loved him fiercely during all those days before and after his death. My children were born healthy, but I still don't know how many days they will have on this earth. God may have a plan for us that is very different than what we have planned. Joshua's story taught me to not take for granted ONE SINGLE day, moment, second with my children, my family, my friends.

    Because you shared your story I am a better mother. I am more patient. I am more greatful of my children.

    You are still a part of my daily routine. My kids see me sitting and reading your blog. They look at Joshua's picture and ask me if he is in heaven. They know his name. They know his story. They feel me hug them a little bit tighter after I read your blog.

    Thank you for sharing your story and your baby Joshua with me and my family. Your story and your honesty about your emotions have left a huge impact on me. One that I will never forget and neither will my children.

    Happy Birthday Joshua. Thank you Sams family for sharing your story and your precious children with us. We are still reading and so excited to see what the new year brings for your family. God Bless you!

    Jennifer Bray
    Spokane Valley, WA

  50. My story is like so many here. I found your blog after Joshua had left his frail body behind to soar w/ the angels. I read his story w/ disbelief & sat @ my computer crying that you all had to be separated if only for this lifetime.

    I was so touched to read how long Joshua was here on this earth & yet how short his mission here was. Just because of all of your strength he has touched so many lives & taught so many of a Loving Father in Heaven & his Son, Jesus Christ. I am so in awe of what such a tiny infant has done.

    Susie, Matt, Oceana & Joshua - you are all loved by so many people you don't even know. Thank you so much for teaching me about our Father all over again.

    Happy Birthday, Joshua! Thank you for letting us know you.

    Susan - Arizona, USA