Thursday, September 28, 2006

Phyllis Linehan Swanson, steadfast advocate for children

HIGH BRIDGE -- Phyllis Linehan Swanson, 64, of High Bridge died Tuesday (Sept. 26, 2006) at Hunterdon Medical Center in Raritan Township.

She was born April 15, 1942, in Clodaugh, County Cork, Ireland. She was the daughter of the late Michael Linehan.

She and her husband, L. Kenneth Swanson Jr., were married 43 years, and were High Bridge residents for 32 years.

Phyllis arrived as a 17-year old in White Plains, N.Y., where she later married and gave birth to her first two children. She lived in Plainfield for nine years, where her third and fourth children were born. Through the years, she served as a leader and volunteer with many youth organizations, such as Rolling Hills and Watchung Mt. Girl Scouts, Plainfield and High Bridge Cub Scouts, North Hunterdon Little League, High Bridge Huskies and class trips chaperone.

Phyllis was a steadfast advocate for all children.

The linen department at Hunterdon Medical Center was fortunate to have her as its leader for 27 years. She was a true friend and loved by many.

Phyllis was a member of St. Joseph's Church in High Bridge.

Survivors in addition to her husband and mother, Mary Scully Linehan of County Cork, Ireland, include a son, Michael and wife, Victoria, of Kingwood; two daughters, Tara and husband, Rick Hintz of Lebanon Township, and Patti and husband, Jim Letko of Franklin Township; nine grandchildren, Katrina, Greta, Otto and Emma Sage Hintz, Kelsy, Connor and Fiona Letko, and Ronan and Rori Swanson (and another expected); three brothers, Michael in England and Tim and Gerard in Ireland; two sisters, Betty and Paula in Ireland; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was predeceased by a son, L. Kenneth III and grandson, Griffin Patrick Letko.

The funeral will be 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph's Church, High Bridge. Interment will be in Lower Valley Cemetery, Califon. Calling hours will be 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Naughright-Scarponi Funeral Home, High Bridge.

My dear Mothers name is actually, Mary Philomenia [Linehan] Swanson, but everyone knew her as 'Phyllis' or 'Philly' or Mom or Nana...........she is deeply missed.

Emma Sage is missing her Nana. She understands that Nana has died and tells us that 'Angels carried her to heaven'. Emma Sage is also telling everyone "My Nana loves Me' over and over again,,,,,a fact that rings so true. My Mother loved children,,,,,,all children.

My Mum's family arrived a bit ago from Ireland and we are heading to my sisters to have dinner and put together photoboards, scrapbooks and a video slideshow for tomorrows calling hours and Saturday's Mass and funeral.

I am still in shock. My Mother was my dearest friend. I have a whole in my heart that is quite large, as my Mothers love for me and my love for her was great.

Please hug your children, call your parents, drop a note to a long lost is very precious and moments go fleeting by.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

September 26, 2006

This post has been created at the request of Tara Marie,
who will be spending the evening in the close company of family
and dear friends. More details will be provided at a later time. ~Rebecca


May the road rise up
To meet you.
May the wind be always
At your back.
May the sun shine warm
Upon your face.
May the rain fall soft
Upon your field,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

~Celtic blessing, author unknown

On April 15, 1942 in Cork, Ireland, Mary Philomenia [Linehan] Swanson was born. This afternoon after a great struggle to survive after her recent surgery, her soul left this earthly place to be joined with the Lord.

Your positive thoughts and prayers for Tara Marie and her family are greatly appreciated.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Griffin Patrick ~ September 24, 2006

Griffin Patrick 5/10K Memorial Run
Griffin Patrick 5/10K September 24, 2006

A year ago today, my dear sister's fouth child, Griffin Patrick entered our world quietly and still.

A year has passed,and as life changes and moves forward, today we stopped to pause and celebrate Griffin Patrick.

I created a video slide show as a way to share the images from our day.

Please click the button below to view the video.

View slideshow

The whole crew

We missed our own Mother dearly today. Nana is still in the hospital and having a rough time of it. If you could continue to keep her in thought and prayer, we would be so grateful. We miss you Nana.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

New York City Buddy Walk Slide Show

View slideshow

Please click on the above little link to see a slide show of pictures from our amazing and wonderful day in New York City for the big Buddy Walk.

Down syndrome Awareness Month

October is National Down syndrome Awareness Month.

With many Buddy Walks being planned and positive press coverge, I happened to take a few minutes to myself this morning and looked at a few national Down syndrome websites. The one thing that I noticed is that the National Down syndrome Society has a new webpage......and thought if you haven't seen it yet, you might like to check it out.

National Down syndrome Society [click for link]

and if you are interested in attending a Buddy Walk in your area, you can visit the Buddy Walk website and use their search for a walk link to find a walk near you.

Our Local Buddy Walk will be held on Sunday, October 21, 2006 at Spruce Run Recreation Area at noon. Emma Sage would love it if you could come out and join her in this walk.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Prayers of Thanks

O MOST holy Angel of God, appointed by God to be my guardian, I give thee thanks for all the benefits which thou hast ever bestowed on me in body and soul. I praise and glorify thee that thou condescended to assist me with such patient fidelity, and to defend me against all the assaults of my enemy.Blessed be the hour in which thou were assigned me for my guardian, my defender and my patron. In acknowledgmentand return for all thy loving ministries to me, I offer thee the infinitely precious and noble Heart of Jesus, and firmly purpose to obey thee henceforward, and most faithfully to serve my God. Amen.

To all of our family and friends,

Thank you for your positive thoughts and prayers.

Nana is in recovery and by the Grace of God the surgeons were able to do what they needed to do at this point.

My heart has been on edge, but sitting her with Patti, Michael and my Dad, I know that all of our love, spirit and positive vibes, will continue to surround Nana as she recovers from this first step.

Thank you all for reaching out and sending your positive energy our way.............and thank you Guardian Angel for watching over my Mom.

Have a blessed and beautiful day.

The Elephant Song

The Elephant Song - Cool Tunes for Kids by Eric Herman

Today at 10:30 am if you could keep my dear Mother, and Emma Sage's beloved, Nana, in your thoughts and prayers for a very postive surgery.

I am sharing this amazing song/video, as Nana is the most amazing Mother and Grandmother and she would just adore this video...........One of the greatest lessons my Mother taught me as a child and helped guide me as a Mother to my own children is this:

"The Greatest Gift you can ever give a child, is Allowing them to be Children for as Long as Possible!"

We love you Nana!

Monday, September 18, 2006


"A hug is worth a thousand words. A friend is worth more." ~ Jasmine Fitzwilliam

This is Emma Sage and her friend Emma Grace. The two met on a photoshoot for Toys R Us and became 'best' of friends after that short meeting. When they saw each other in Central Park at the 2006 New York City Buddy Walk this past Sunday they were just so excited to be together. I so wish we had more time to visit. Hopefully soon we can have a longer get-together.

I have many photographs and thoughts to share about our magical day in New York City, but alas it is late and there is still to many things that need to be done before this Momma can get to bed.

I just have to say that my heart and soul feel renewed after this gathering........

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Watching her brother play.....
Emma Sage adores her brother......who is here catching in today's game.

Oh My, Oh My, Oh My......

Oh My all have to click on this link to see the most adorable and magical image ever!!!!

Little Miss Magic in her first Prom Picture!

Happy Birthday Mamie....

Today is Emma Sage's great-grandmother [Mamie]'s 87th Birthday......she just got off the phone singing "Happy Birthday" and ended it with "I love you soooooo much!".

Here are five of Mamie's great-grandchildren [and she has one Great-great-grandchild too!]....there are a total of 3 children, 12 grandchildren, 18 great-grand children [and two on teh way, one in 2 weeks and one in 6 months] and one great-grandchild.

What a blessing to have so many little ones that love you dearly.

Happy Birthday Mamie, we love you soooooo much!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Wednesday's, Glorious Wednesday's

Wednesday is Emma Sage's most favorite day of the week......why? you ask?.........Well, Wednesday is the day she gets to put on her pink tights and little tutu skirts and dance, dance, dance!

Our first Dance Class was this past Wendesday. Emma Sage was beyond giddy and delight getting ready. She wanted her hair in her 'loo-hoo' as she calls it [You know, from Who-ville and that old Grinch], although those of us who experienced the phenomenon of watching the first release of Star Wars back in the 1970's will only think of Princess Leah when we see Little Miss' dance hair style.

Dance Class was a dream. The studio is wonderful and everyone there has been just fantastic on inclusion. The class is filled with 10 other little girls, all of the age of five, since it is a 5 to 7 year old class, but this session is held from 1 to 2 pm, so only Kindergarten [5's] attend this class. There are two other 5 to 7 year old sessions in the evening and weekends, so it will be fun to watch the recital this year [mark your calendar for June 16th].

I had a very pleasant conversation with one of the Mom's sitting next to me, who just beamed when she told me of her beloved cousin that has T21 [ah, someone who really gets it!!!]

We are not able to watch, but we could hear the music, the instructor and when it came time for 'TAP' 20 tap shoes tapping away!!!!

Here are a few pictures I was able to capture of the first day........
First day of dance three
and I say 'Tried' to capture, because if you notice in every picture, this child would not stand still....and my digital is not good with movement [ah, someday soon I hope my dream of a digital SLR comes true so I don't have to have burry images of my little poetry in motion],,,,so look closely, in the above photograph look at her one foot [tapping way!!!]
First day of dance

Little Miss pinky sucker....
I love this one of her with her little pinky stuck in her mouth as she takes a moment to 'reflect'
First day of dance two
I love this one as I her face was so serious, but if you notice her hand, they were moving a mile a minute as well as her toes [which came out as blurrrss on the original crop of this image]

Ah,,,,,,,Wednesday's, Glorious Wednesday's!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Minnows and Butterflies Beware....

That is the title of a picture of Emma Sage that appears in our weekly newspaper, Hunterdon County Democrat, for Thursday, September 14, 2006. on Page C-5

Minnows and Butterflies Beware....
Minnows and Butterflies Beware. When Emma Sage Hintz, 5, of Lebanon Township finishes her mango ice from Rita's, that net is going into action. Her hunting ground is at the edge of Spruce Run Reservoir off Van Syckels Road.

My little sweet girl just doing her job of raising awareness of difference in a very subtle way.

Too cute, don't you think?!?

Little Man.....

If you have not yet seen this amazing documentary, I urge to do it is truly a powerful movie about life, love and the power of believing. Little Man

"Nicholas' smiles and joy show what all of us parents of kids with disabilities already know - why we keep believing in our children and trying to do everything for them that we can so that they may know joys and smiles, too." ~EP

and in our family, Emma Sage has a very special cousin who was also born a 'Little Lady' when Livija Diane entered our world when she was only 26weeks 3 days gestation....truly one of God's littlest miracles.

I think one of the things that strikes me the hardest when watching this documentary and looking at sweet Livija Diane, is to know that at this same gestational timeframe, doctors are still allowing women to terminate a child with T21 [just because they are sporting that extra chromosome], when in fact, these two little miracles show us that their little lives, if born, even this early, can surrive and grow and prosper and bring forth such love and joy.

I just ordered the soundtrack as it as beautiful and powerful as the doctumentary is.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pretty in Pink....

Pretty in pink
Today was Emma Sage's first dance class at her new dance studio........what a magical time she had. She adored the teacher and all her new friends, and it seems like they felt the same way about Little Miss.

I have many photos to upload and stories to tell, but I just don't know when I will get enough time to get any of it done.

One of my most favorite things to do is to share our life with Emma Sage on this blog and there just haven't been enough hours in my day for me to do that here is just a tease until this Momma can sit down for a little bit of time and update life with Emma Sage.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Yum, you want a carrot

Little Miss Perfect

These pictures are for our friend Tarenne and her Momma! Miss T has a similar shirt she has been sporting these days and I wanted to share our shirt of Emma Sage's that is similar.

But you will laugh first, as the photograph below was one [of a few] shots I took before I could get a shot of the shirt....I asked Emma Sage to show me her shirt for the camera and this is what I got....
No, I'm not going to show you my shirt
A No Momma,,,,I'm not going to show you my shirt!

After taking about 6 frames, I finally got my sweet little girl back showing off her 'Little Miss Perfect' shirt.

OK.....I'll let you
Her first set of key
Here is an image of one of the new and amazing things that have happened at our home....Katrina's first set of car keys! What a two fold blessing, one that scares me half to death and one that has given me great help in the never ending shuttling of children to and from activities. Since Rick travels often and for great lengths of time, the transportation of the kids from their many activities has always been on my shoulders....well now I have a helper. Today Katrina packed Emma Sage in the car to drive Otto to fall ball....what a delight for me! [and yes, I said a prayer the whole time that they arrived safely back home.]

Friday, September 08, 2006

I love doorways

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle. - John Quincy Adams

For my Mother and my dear friend, RNP........yesterday brought shocking, face slapping, pause in your heartbeat kind of news. For the all of us, it was similar in its delivery, smack, but both bits of news will bring about different journeys.....but the one thing that will stay constant for you Mom and for you Rebecca is that we know that love, patience, perserverance and lots of faith and hope will make our news something we can live with, celebrate and come to understand.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Asking for Prayers, Positive Thoughts

I truly believe in the power of prayer.

If you could find time in your daily mediations, prayers or are just send out positive healing vibes [especially at 1PM today] for my dear Mother, Phyllis, I would be so greatful.

Just as the soft rains fill the streams,pour into the rivers, and join together in the oceans,so may the power of every moment of your goodnessflow forth to awaken and heal all beings--those here now, those gone before, those yet to come. By the power of every moment of your goodness,may your heart's wishes be soon fulfilledas completely shining as the bright full moon, as magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem. By the power of every moment of your goodness,may all dangers be averted and all disease be gone.May no obstacle come across your way.May you enjoy fulfillment and long life.For all in whose heart dwells respect,who follow the wisdom and compassion, of the Way,may your life prosper in the four blessingsof old age, beauty, happiness and strength. ~ Traditional Blessings and Healing Chant

Mom, I love you.

Kindergarten 2006

First Day of School 2006
Emma Sage is so excited about schooling....she tells everyone she is 'HomeSchooled' and she is quite proud of that fact.

Yestday was an amazing day....I have to update when I have some time [when will that be???? oh please, current of life slow a bit so this Momma can update all the amazing adventures we have been on] but her is her first 'Official' start of school shot.

Tonight, I promise our 'Educating Emma Sage' blog will be filled with pictures and the curriculum we have chosen.

Just a proud Momma fact [OK,,,,so it seems like a brag, but I am so proud of this little girl and how much she loves to learn that I just had to share!!], Emma Sage knows all her ABC's [upper and lower] can count to 20, can count by twos & tens, knows her numbers without hesitation to 13 visually, can add and subtract her counting bears in any combination you present to her up to 13 [that seems to be her magic number] and has a sight word base of 63 words [from the Dolch list]. We will start our 'Teach your child to read in a 100 easy lessons' in about two weeks....until then we are working on her foundation of letters and sounds. I have compiled so many incredible learning tools/books/programs and I am so excited to be able to share what we are doing.

So.....her is one more image from our first day.....
Old school house
I thought this would be a fun place to visit on our first day, as this is the old one-room school house in our township [now a museum].

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." ~Albert Schweitzer

The above picture is of a wall hanging in my home......the quote I read many times a day, "Gratitude is the sign of noble souls" and it reminds me day in and day out how thankful I am for my life, my family, my friends.

A funny thing happened on the way to the 'Fishin' hole'.........we heard a whoosh and a buzz above us and all of a sudden we were beamed up on a space ship!! lol!!! Thank you so very much my dear friends for realizing I was missing and that my normal routine of blogging stopped. The current of life just came up behind me and swept me away....tossing me, but manking me stronger and healthier for the ride.

So many things have happened over the last few weeks....we have a new driver in the family, school has started for the older three, along with their sports and extra curricular activities.....
the grapes are ripe and I've been busy collecting them and making jam [I so wish it were wine, but that will have to wait till my life is a little less full].

Emma Sage starts school tomorrow [officially] and she has been up to many amazing and incredible things....all of which I have captured on film [for the most part] and I will share when I get a moment to upload and post.

Again,,,,,,the thread below touched my heart deeply...........I am so honored to have such dear friends. Truly the gift of Down syndrome in my life has brought me more blessings that I could have ever imagined.

Thank you..........