to Give

Four years ago (almost to the day) Barbara Curtis and I crossed paths, quite literally. She was at Loudoun Hospital while her husband Tripp was recovering from surgery. I was there with a baby in the NICU. Barbara had just come into the Church and she told me how she longed to bring its traditions alive in her home for her children. Hers was a family in crisis then--Tripp's healing was complicated; their finances were burdensome; they had just lost their home. After I arrived home with my new baby, I wrote to you all and told you about Barbara. I asked you then to help her to celebrate Advent. And help you did! You volunteered to send care packages to the Curtis family, packages full of faith! You sent Advent in boxes from all over the country. 

I wish I were here to ask for Advent boxes today. I'm not. I'm here with a very heavy heart to share a little of the Curtis family's pain. Barbara suffered a massive stroke yesterday. Her condition is grave. Barbara is not conscious and will not regain consciousness. We grieve.

Because this is a very real community, as soon as you heard, you wanted to help. To give. And, like me, you felt a bit helpless. We pray together for Barbara, and Tripp, and all twelve children. We want to do something more.

Before she was stricken, Barbara was struggling with a huge challenge. She had just learned she was unable to re-enroll Maddy at Catholic University for the spring semester because the family had not been able to make adequate payments for tuition. In order register, Maddy has to raise $5000. Barbara was working so hard to make that happen! In her words, 

Please let them know what a serious student Maddy is, how serious a future Maddy has in opera.

Even as a freshman, she was cast in the fall opera with a solo part and in the spring opera.  This fall she also has a background part, and in the spring she has the fifth lead in Gounoud's Romeo and Juliet.  This is incredible for someone her age (19).  

I know it was a stretch for us to send her here, but the education she is receiving is so solid and she adores Catholic University...  

When I called financial aid and asked about emergency funds, they said money is very tight. ...I know someday  CUA  will be so proud to have nurtured Maddy.

Believe me, this isn't just a stage mother or anyone starry-eyed.  I have 12 kids and that gives me a lot of objectivity. Some of my kids are gifted.  But Maddy not only had the greatest gift, she has worked so hard! And she is so filled with joy. It reminds me of Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire, when he says " When I run, I feel his pleasure."

Also, Maddy lives very simply, buying her clothes at thrift stores and getting around on Metro. She sold her car when she left for her senior year for spending money.  

Yes, I would so appreciate your prayers and any other way you can help.  Thank you.

Barbara is not the starry-eyed type. Barbara knows how formidable the task of raising a family like hers is and she is faithful to that task, grateful for that great joy. Please let's help her! As Tripp and the family gather, can we let them know that this is a true community of faith? Can we show them how far Barbara has reached and how much we, too, love her children?  Can we please send Maddy back to school in the spring, so that part of her world is safe and sound and there for her? Please wrap your arms and your hearts and your prayers around this family now. And, then, please take a moment to send the link on so someone else can be blessed with the opportunity to give.

Barbara Curtis Mommylife Memorial Fund

PO Box 682 Lovettsville, VA 20180-0682