October 28, 2013 10:39 PM

Marking the Days at One Year and the Reality of Loss.......

my little girl.jpg

I know that I have not posted for you over the last three months.......my mind and heart have been consumed with a wedding for Matt and Emma, my children, and  the continuing reality of life without Barbara.....so I beg  your indulgence as I share with you some of what Barbara would want you to know on the anniversary of her departure in the eye of a hurricane...

 These days mark the anniversary of Barbara's fatal stroke and a season of loss, sorrow, & challenge... a time for reflection of our faith & understanding of God.... the new perspectives we may have  through  our individual worldviews as we mourn in each of our lives those you may have lost.....and for us, our dear Barbara and Hattie  ...The questions arise of "why" and  "when will I have hope again?"   I for one have realized that hope does not come naturally...it's something that must be sought through faith, (which can be dark times for some of us.) And realizing that with the healing of the  wounds  brings pain..... and as they heal, leave scars. .....

Please keep in mind these verses from the Book of Psalms and Jeremiah  as you read a bit of Barbara's history...... "You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb...My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you...When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth...Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down....my days were shaped before one came to be." And God says, "For I know well the plans I have in mind for you says the Lord, plans for your welfare....not for woe!  Plans to give you a future full of hope."

 This little girl above is Barbara... as you can see, she started out full of joy, hope, and expectation.....At age seven , she and her two younger brothers were put in foster care because their Dad had left and their Mother couldn't handle. There she was raped and molested by her foster father and his eldest son w/o protection or defense from her foster mother until her own Mother finally listened to her pleas  and took her children back. Her Mother was an alcoholic and food  and parental love were not a priority at that point. Barbara raised her brothers, including another from another step dad that also left. She took it on her own to talk herself into a Catholic HS (Bishop O'Connell) getting herself a good education and became the National Merit finalist in the DC area whereupon she rec'd scholarship for a full university education at George Mason when it opened in it's first year. She had met and courted a wonderful man Jeff, (a few years older) from Jersey who went to Mount St. Mary's and they married and had their first child....a beautiful daughter, Samantha... Tumultuous times, the late 60s.....Barbara became a Montessori teacher and involved in politics during this time....she was an activist & part of that 2nd wave of feminism during the Vietnam War that brought in abortion rights, anti war riots, etc. and all the drugs, free love, etc. that came with it. She urged her husband to move to S.F during the "Summer of Love"  and they came west to the Left coast where they soon had their second daughter, Jasmine. Things went downhill quickly with drugs involved, and Barbara unfortunately left her husband breaking his heart and turning his life and their children's lives upside down forever... Circumstances went from bad to worse as they will in that downward spiral, and soon Barbara and her daughters found themselves living in the S.F. Mission district in a daily worsening desperate situation. Poor Samantha and Jasmine were now experiencing with their mother things that Barbara had experienced with her own mother... Something clicked, (God intervened) and she moved them all across the Bay to San Rafael into a much tamer neighborhood.  Soon after, she had what she described as "a moment of clarity" where she realized she needed to do something about her addictions for the sake of her daughters and got clean and sober through AA. Two years later, (enter Tripp...similar history as you know...check archives) we met on my 28th birthday. We were married 3 mos. later w/ our 1st together,  Josh  on the way, @ Jenner by the Sea while the sun was going down.......God brought two misfits together that  had not been living His plan for their lives...but had been living lives according to their own will headed for destruction.  Both of us  should have ended up either dead, in jail, or in the gutter.... But He introduced "Plan B" which brought life, light, and direction where  before there was only darkness from our own choices...

Thirty + years later, she's now in Heaven......having  come to know that she had a Father that never failed her , had been watching her all her days, and loved her as His special little girl....She bore nine children on her own during which she had three miscarriages,( and an abortion in her early days which she always regretted.....and before I met her I myself was responsible for two that I know of and remember/regret to this day.)  She adopted three children with special needs , wrote 10 books for parents and mothers,  became an ardent proponent & speaker in the Pro Life movement after being an abortion activist in her younger years....Published hundreds of articles supporting family and truth, and thousands of blogs concerning same.  She wasn't perfect.....she had flaws, baggage, and demons from her past that we continued to battle, (as we battled mine...and continue too with her gone.)  But the reality is that God was and is always there.....in truth He is the Father who keeps His promises....no matter what.....

As each of us weave the tapestry of our lives.... there will be threads of grief, betrayal, abuse, injustice, etc. that will challenge us to throw it into the fire with bitterness or just stop weaving entirely ....Questions will arise.... How can a supposed loving Heavenly Father...God...be in charge of the Universe...and allow my loved one to die or for any other evil thing to happen?   I for one have come to realize the truth that God's ways are too complex for me to understand.  If He were a God I could understand then he'd be like me and not who He is.  Our Father has plans for each of us....Barbara and  I chose  while we were  each on our own  on separate paths and then when we were together to do what we wanted to do ... just like Adam and Eve...it ended up in near disaster many times with Our Father rescuing us...because that is His Heart... He didn't make us robots, but men and women of free will that were to live forever in the Garden to walk with Him...Instead, Adam and Eve chose their own plan, just like each of us so often chose our own plan....... Our individual choices come into play and may dictate our destiny....but no death is simply the result of circumstances, an accident or fate....This doesn't mean God wanted your loved one to die, for you or others to be betrayed, abused, etc..He is not morally responsible for the Fall of Man and the consequences ........It means the same God who loved you enough to die for you is in control.....and the answers to the questions are on the "other" side of the River...

Know that many of you want to know how we are faring and I will post an update soon...This imperfect post is what I feel she wanted me to share... While we spent time at the shore a couple weeks ago, two yellow butterflies showed up each day on the beach.....We  all felt it was Our Father's sign that Barbara and Hattie were with us.....Sunday we gathered at Barbara's graveside and  two yellow butterflies came by again.....You have to love His divine orchestration....

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.

May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.

 Love to you all,

Papa Tripp


Posted in | Permalink


Thank you, Tripp, for sharing this. I miss her so much! I'll be thinking about you and your family and praying for you all day.

Posted by: Melodee | October 30, 2013 3:48 AM

As this day has approached, I have thought often of your family. Thanks for sharing once again. Please know that you are being thought of today by the people that followed Barbara's blog. Thank you again.


Posted by: B* | October 30, 2013 10:00 AM

Thank you for sharing this. Barbara was an amazing woman (married to an amazing man!) and an inspiration to every one of her readers. The more I learn about her, the more overwhelmed I am by the presence of God in her life, and the more I want to have her strength and sense of purpose. God bless you all. Barbara, please pray for all of us.

Posted by: Denise | October 30, 2013 10:32 AM

Barbara was and still is a source of inspiration for all of us "mommies." Know that a blog reader in Texas is thinking of her and her family today.

Posted by: Anon | October 30, 2013 1:07 PM

Another post I will cherish. Thank you, Tripp.

You are a light through the darkness with your honesty Tripp! Thank you brother-in Christ. I read Mark Mallet's post and he is dead on. We are being shaken,we have become too comfortable, our lives are short, and we are prepping for eternity.

I was just hoping today that I make it to heaven because there are so many people I want to hang with forever!!:) +JMJ+ Ave maria!

Posted by: Eileen | October 30, 2013 1:12 PM

I have been thinking about your family all week! Thank you so much for this beautiful post. May God continue to be especially close to you and your children.

Posted by: Jeanette Hanscome | October 30, 2013 3:54 PM

Thinking of your family and praying for you always. I miss her.
Sara in Georgia

Posted by: Sara | October 30, 2013 10:22 PM

Thinking of you all today; thanks for sharing your thoughts. Today is also my daughter's ninth birthday. Barbara had a lasting impact on me as a mother. I miss reading her posts every day.

Posted by: Karen | October 30, 2013 10:35 PM

Dear Papa Tripp--

Thank you for sharing with us on such a difficult day, I am sure. You have been in our thoughts and prayers and will continue to be. Again, thank you.

With love from Debbie Kierstead

Posted by: Debbie Kierstead | October 31, 2013 12:13 AM

I still miss Barbara too. Thank you for this beautiful piece, Tripp. God be with you as you continue to walk this life's journey.

Posted by: Holy | October 31, 2013 4:03 PM

Tripp - I miss Barbara so much. You and your family are very much in my prayers!

Posted by: Shannon Miller | October 31, 2013 4:47 PM

Thank you for the post. Of course Barbara has been on my mind all week. I pray daily for your family, I miss her so much I can't imagine how it must ne for you all. Your postings on the blog are a blessing to us who miss her, thank you.

Posted by: Danielle M. | November 1, 2013 12:58 PM

Thanks for sharing, Tripp. Praying for you and your family.

Posted by: Deborah | November 1, 2013 3:31 PM

Thinking of you and your family, and keeping you all in my prayers. Thank you for sharing, especially about the yellow butterflies. God lets us know that our loved ones are with Him and that they are happy, doesn't He? Our family has seen more beautiful rainbows this past year - since my husband went to heaven - than all our other years put together, as reminders to us that God is always good, through whatever paths he calls us to walk in this life. He continues to comfort and strengthen us, enabling us to keep walking these paths He set out for us, even when it is so hard to do so. I pray that you and your family will continue to feel His blessings and comfort in your lives.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2013 11:29 PM

Thank you for sharing your struggle with the rest of us. Please know that I remembered her today, on All Soul's Day. May God continue to hold you and the rest of the family close.

Posted by: Dirtdartwife | November 2, 2013 5:25 PM

Your posts are always inspiring... You are ministering to others in the midst of your own grief.

Your wonderful family has been in my thoughts and prayers a lot over the last few weeks. I think of Barbara all the time. Her parenting advice seems to come to me out of the blue. I miss her, but like you said Father's ways are sometimes too complex for us to understand. I am so thankful for His grace, His healing, and the way he carries us through tragedies. I trust that his love and mercy follow you through your days, and will bring more and more healing to you as time goes on.

One of these days I hope to send your family a private email and share more of what God has done in my own life this past year, and how Barbara's life weaves into it all.

Blessings and prayers to your lovely family!

Posted by: Lisa | November 2, 2013 8:13 PM


I, too, was watching the days as the anniversary of her passing came near. Thank you for updating a little bit. The other day I was thinking of where I could find books for little boys to read about manhood and valor and I thought, "I should write to Papa Tripp about that because I bet he would have some good ideas."

Know that your voice has a place, and it fills a need for people as well. Perhaps you can write for single fathers, or for mothers like me with little boys who need guidance and direction. Just a thought.

Blessings to you all,


Posted by: Imajackson | November 2, 2013 11:37 PM

Thank you so much for sharing. You and your family are always in my prayers.

Posted by: Lizindc | November 3, 2013 6:48 PM

Thank you for checking in and sharing. I miss her and am thinking of you and your family.

Posted by: Crystal | November 4, 2013 10:51 PM

Your posts are always inspiring... You are ministering to others in the midst of your own grief.
portrait painting, portrait innovations

Posted by: Yonicoo portrait painting | November 13, 2013 10:42 PM

Think of y'all and pray for y'all often.

As I'm reading your post, U2's "Magnificent" is playing.

??"Only love, only love can leave such a mark?
But only love, only love can heal such a scar?"

It's a rockin', worshipful song.


Posted by: Lexie | November 17, 2013 11:48 AM

I miss her so much. Praying for you, Papa Tripp. In Christ alone our hope is found, Linda

Posted by: linda | November 22, 2013 10:25 PM

Always thinking and praying for you and your family.Still missing Barbara.

Hope your Thanksgiving was a joyful one.

Posted by: melita | November 28, 2013 6:16 PM

Dear Tripp and family,

I live in France and we don't celebrate Thanksgiving here, but this season reminds me of Barbara.

I am sure you are all missing her very much, particularly at this time of family gatherings, and I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of her and her writings are still having an impact on my life and the way I mother my children.

May God bless all of you, heal your wounds in His time, and may you all be able to cling tightly to Him.

Please know that many people carry you in their hearts, all over the world.


Posted by: Helen | November 29, 2013 8:08 AM

Thank you for sharing. Hope you and the boys are ok.

Posted by: Julana | December 2, 2013 10:43 PM

You and your family were in my thoughts today. Just wanted to stop by and let you know that you are all always in my prayers.

Posted by: Lauren | December 7, 2013 4:58 PM

Wishing you and yours a happy and holy Christmas. You and your family are remembered in our prayers.

Posted by: Karen | December 17, 2013 6:50 AM

Sending our love and Christmas wishes. Thank you for trudging the road and please know that we pray for you. Pray for us? The world needs the Curtis family. God bless you, Papa Tripp.

Posted by: Tiffany | December 24, 2013 10:27 PM

Dear Tripp Family,

I sat in a class of Barbara's a few years back at Mount Hermon in Santa Cruz, CA. She was teaching how to write daily and how to organize your time. Lord knows I needed her guidance (still do).

Barbara was the one who hand-delivered my manuscript to Beacon Hill. Which resulted in my only book ever being published. (She even had a giveaway of my book in her site here.) When I asked her what I should do when they offered me a contract she emailed me and said, "I've published with BIG houses and small houses. I'd much rather be a BIG fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond." It made me chuckle. She was right.

I LOVED her heart for politics and what was going on in this country. Being from the "left coast" all my life, I emailed her and told her the Lord was moving our family out of CA to Tennessee. She was really happy for us, but also told me that I might being moving to the "Bible Belt" but that I'd come across other issues I may have to take a stand for politically.

Please know that a former California-girl now living in Tennessee is thinking about her tonight. She was a voice I respected and I can't wait to hear all her family does in her absence here on earth. Eternity will be such a glorious place to catch up.

In His Love - Joanne

Posted by: Joanne | January 4, 2014 8:46 PM

Thank you for writing all that you have. Your's is a beautiful love story. I appreciate the honesty with which it is told.
Barbara also was a type of mentor mom for me, in my daughter's early years, and while considering homeschooling.
The music you've added to these posts has been so on the mark.
Take care - you guys are in my prayers.

Posted by: Alice | February 7, 2014 3:06 PM

Thanks for keeping this site open. I often look back and read the archives when I want to hear Barbara's "voice". Although we never met, I've been reading her blog daily since she began it, bought all her books and felt as though she were my big sister. Love to you all as you march on.

Posted by: Marie | February 10, 2014 8:48 AM

Missing Barbara today. Tomorrow is National Down Syndrome day so you will all be in my prayers. God bless you and your family.

Posted by: Con Junior | March 20, 2014 2:46 PM

Missing Barbara so much

Posted by: Melanie | March 28, 2014 8:12 PM

thinking about Barbara today...missing her words of wisdom and inspiration. Praying for you all!

Posted by: Beth Lambdin | April 5, 2014 7:46 PM

I used to read Mommy Life faithfully when I was a SAHM homeschooling mom and my kids were little. Barbara was such an inspiration! Today, the first thing when I woke up, I saw the beautiful Happy video for World Down Syndrome Day, and thought of her, wondering what her Downzers were up to, and how your family was faring.

I am sorry for your loss, and I'm praying for your family. You all are so blessed to have had her, as I'm sure you know.

Posted by: Jema | April 10, 2014 10:42 AM

I don't know how I came across this but it came at a time when I needed it most.
Thank you for sharing. I know I was meant to read this today,
Thank you very much as I know it will help me greatly on my journey in this world called "LIFE".
Your words, stories, pictures and songs will stay in my heart.
I needed all of this for hope and faith and strength.
Thank you again,

Posted by: nancy | May 30, 2014 6:25 AM

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