Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Go Ahead and Try to Stop Me

Notes:  There are few things I want to tell you about Jace and about what my family is going through.  Some things I can say now, some things will have to wait until later. 

Cody Sartin plead not guilty to first degree murder, and the preliminary hearing has been set for August 10th.

A few times in my life I have felt like I stood in the presence of greatness.  The governor came and had lunch with me at school when I was 16.  I touched Oral Robert’s head once when I sat behind him in the Mabee Center (just to say I did it). I met the mom of Rachel Scott who stood up for Jesus during the Columbine shootings.  I got the thumb print autograph of one of the men who killed the missionary Jim Elliot and later became a believer in God.  I went to a New Kids on the Block Concert when I was 12.  All of those were trumped today by an 8 year old girl. 

I am friends with the grandma and mom of the Broken Arrow Angel, a little girl who was kidnapped and sexually abused three years ago.  This family has shown amazing strength and dignity in the midst of this nightmare, and I have respected their faith and perseverance.  Today, I was in the court room with them when the man who did this was sentenced to six life sentences plus 40 something yearsfor what he did to this little girl.  Everyone was nervous when the little girl got up to read her statement to the judge and the perpetrator.  She didn’t look nervous at all.  She looked powerful.  I wish I could accurately describe the way the girl stood up, read her statement, and with the last sentence, looked directly at the man who hurt her and said with stern determination, “I'm going to be what God wants me to be and nothing's stopping me, especially you!”

It was so freaking awesome.  I wanted to stand up and clap, but no one else did, so I cried instead.  This family  didn’t let what happened destroy them.  They fought back.  They are overcoming.  They are letting good come from evil.  What you do when you’re handed something awful in life is your choice.  Whether someone in your family is killed, you get diagnosed with cancer, you lose your job, or your baby wakes you up at 4 am every morning, you decide what you do next. 

When your family member gets murdered, you can run to God or away from him.  I’m running to him.

When your family member gets murdered, you can you can let your anger consume you, or you can let it fuel you.  My anger will result in lives being saved. 

When your family member gets murdered, you can stop living too , or you can live your life so that it honors his memory.  I plan to make Jace shine. 

When your family member gets murdered, you can hate, or you can forgive.  I’m going to find a way to forgive, because if I don’t it will hurt me more than it will hurt him.  I won’t let him hurt me again.

(You can insert your own bad thing for ‘when your family member gets murdered.’)

I feel like I have had more than my fair share of bad things happen to me in my life.  I’ll give you the list later.  But today I want to look Satan in the eye and say,

I'm going to be what God wants me to be
and nothing's stopping me, especially you!

I’m glad I have such wonderful role models in this little girl’s family.  I’m humbled by their strength and courage.  I’ll post her entire statement below.  She deserves to be heard and honored.  The family reads this blog.  Tell them you’re proud of them too. 

You need to respect your punishment,
that was a bad thing you did.

I don't want you hurting anybody else
that's why you should be in jail forever,
so accept it.

God made you but you are not like God's person,
you are the devil's person.

You should have been on God's side
and this would never have happened.

Back then I was the little angel fish
and you were the great white shark.

Now I'm the great white shark
and you're the little clown fish.

I'm going to forget all about you
and go on with my life how I want it to be
without any bad person stopping me.

I was only five years old, now I'm eight.
I'm going to be what God wants me to be
and nothing's stopping me, especially you!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I Didn't Understand. Now I Do.

I’ve been counseling children and families for a little over four years now.  I’ve talked to a lot of people who have lost loved ones, and many whose losses were due to violent crimes.  It’s the nature of the areas I work in.  Right now I feel like I need to go back and apologize to every child and every mom who I gave “grief” counseling to.  I feel like I need to get down on my knees and beg forgiveness from my best friend who lost both her parents.  I had no idea how overwhelming and all consuming the pain was.  I didn’t understand what sad felt like until now.  

I keep trying to put it out of my mind.  I take little vacations from the heart ache where I can concentrate on work or talking to someone about something else.  But under the surface there is a constant dull ache.  A pain somewhere below my heart and above my stomach that hasn’t gone away yet.  I don’t know if it will.  I’m afraid it won’t.  Then when I’m driving or when I first wake up in the morning, it hits me like a punch in the gut.  My life will never be the same.  I will never hold him again or kiss his owies or sing songs with him.  How can that be possible?  How can this really have happened?  

I’m trying to handle this right.  I’m trying to make good out of the bad, but every second right now is just really really hard.  I have counseled other people , “You just know this is going to be a hard time, and you have to let yourself be sad.  It is the right time to be sad.  But the hard time won’t last forever.  It will get better.”  I really hope I didn’t lie. 

To sum it up:  THIS ALL  SUCKS. 

On the other hand: God is still good.  

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Should I feel better now that someone has been arrested for killing Jace? I don't. I don't want the most important person in the world to me to have been murdered. I don't want him to be dead. I don't want my family talked about by people who don't know. I don't want anything, but to hear Jace's voice and for him to make his funny face right before he kisses me.

I want Jace to tell me "Get me a cookie right now." And then I want to correct him and then hear him say, "Get me a cookie right now, please." I want to drive in my car and hear him from the back seat say, "Stacey, I love you, Stacey." Nothing feels better. Nothing feels ok. I don't know how anything will ever feel good again.

We have appreciated so much all the support. We need it now. Don't believe everything you read. Pray for us. Pray for Leslie. There is a long road ahead. I'll try and post more tomorrow or the next day.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Love Him Too Much

This is what I said at Jace's funeral today.  It did not feel like a celebration of his life to me, but I think it was supposed to.  It felt sad, and right now I feel angry.

This was the balloon send off at the funeral.  

I Love Him Too Much

I read in some of the literature that the hospital gave us that the amount of grief you feel for a person is in direct proportion to the amount of delight that person brought you.  I did not find that sentence very encouraging for my grieving process.  
Donnie, Andrea, and I always argue about how much our left arms are worth.  Andrea rolls her eyes and says she would not cut hers off for any amount of money.  Donnie and I think she’s dumb, and say we would gladly part with ours for an even million.  Today I can tell you that I would gladly give both my arms just to feel Jace hug my neck one more time.
A hug from Jace was more valuable to me than anything else I have ever received.  MY favorite place on earth was sitting in a char holding him while he rested his head on my shoulder.   Every second I spent with him was truly a gift.  My heart swelled with pride every time he would walk up to someone else and blow his boogers on their pants.  I laughed so hard at myself for teaching him to call the cardboard cut out that Val sent me of Edward Cullen, Daddy.  Jace was going to be living proof that all the parenting books worked.  He rarely had tantrums, you could distract him out of most bad behavior, and just say the words time out, and he would run up  and hug you.  He took care of all of us as much as we took care of him.  I miss hearing him scream Stacey! Stacey! Stacey! When I come in the door.  I miss calling him on the phone and him telling me to come play with him or let’s go a Stacey schoo.  Jace loved to sing.  He was a terrible dancer  - it looked more like a weird tribal stomp than anything else, but we loved to watch it. 
Jace introduced me to a new and wonderful side of my parents.  They were his grandparents and they excelled at that job.  He loved them like crazy, and I am proud of what they did for him.  I am proud of what my sister did for Jace and of what he did for her.  I have never seen her be more alive than those first days when she was determined to do everything she could to get Jace healthy. 
Everyone who met Jace loved him.  He was generous with his love.   Jace combined the phrases I love you too and I love you so much into “I love you too much.”  And he did love us too much.  I am proud that he loved me so much and I am proud that I got the chance to love him mosty mosty.   Which was how he always won the I love you more argument. 
Lately I’d been looking forward to the days when I would get to show Jace the mountains and the ocean and Disney world.  I was consulting with other therapists on how we could desensitize him from him fear of things that move and make noise.  He would run screaming from remote control cars, so I was worried A Small World would be his worst nightmare.  Those moments will never happen.  They  were stolen from me, but I will get something even better.   I wanted to show Jace all those things but now he will get to show me around heaven instead. 
When we were in the hospital we prayed and you prayed that God would heal Jace.  I just knew that if he was ok – it would be such a miracle.  That people would believe.  That he would help so many people with his life.  But you know what – God did heal his body.  God did give him eternal life.  And he has already helped people.  There have been stories of people hugging their kids more, of looking at life differently, of reaching out to Jesus. 
There isn’t a reason this happened.  God did not take Jace from us.  God did not ignore our cries for help.  The devil is a liar.  The devil is the enemy.  Satan took Jace from us.  It is time to fight back.  This didn’t happen to us SO we could help others, but we will help others because this happened.  Good will come from it.  I’m not going to ask you for money today.  I promise I will do that later.  Today I’m asking you to fight with us.  To fight the injustice in a world where children are hurt.  To answer their cries for help before they are laying in a hospital bed.  To be a voice for the kids that can’t be heard.  I can’t do it by myself.  I have been working for years to reach a child here and a family there.  I have helped some, but this is not enough.  Oklahoma is among the worst in the nation for violence against children.   We have to do more.  Good people have to stand up and say this has to change.  Then after they say it they have to put their words into actions.  Please don’t forget Jace.  Please help us make his life count for something.  Don’t forget about him next week when there is laundry to be done or sports to watch on TV.  Keep Jace in your heart.  Jace touched all our lives with his smile and his joy – don’t let that stop.  Help him reach more.  Keep standing with us and fighting the darkness on his behalf.  Start by giving your entire hearts to loving  your own children, protecting them, and teaching them that they are children of God.  You have the opportunities we don’t now – don’t take that for granted. 
We all want Justice for Jace, but most of all he deserves to be honored by our lives.  He gave us so many gifts, but I think if there was one last thing he could give you it would be, and I quote his words – “Jesus and God.”  One of the videos we watched over and over together talked about “The Hope of Easter” 
This hope means Jace isn’t dead.  It means he’s alive, dancing off beat and singing as loud as he can.  Jace understood the simplicity of child like faith – he understood that he was “A child of God” and that “Jesus makes us all better.”  If this is not something you have figured out on your own yet – it is time to start believing with us.  For years I have been telling my family that I am always right.  They are finally starting to believe me.  Let me remind you – I am always right –And I’m right when I tell you that God is alive.  Jesus died because he loves you too much and more than you need anything else – you need his love in your life.  I stand before you as living proof that following Jesus does not make life easy – but Jace was right,   Jesus makes it better. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Time for Veggie Tales

I wanted to tell a cute story about Jace.  For a while I was worried about him.  I would say, "Jace do you love Jesus?"  Jace would answer, "Nuh uh."

This kind of devastated me.

A few months ago I started getting him to watch Veggie Tales.  At first he was like, "No, Barney!" I was steadfast in my resolve though, and Bob and Larry eventually won him over.

We watched Dave and the Giant Pickle over and over as well as other episodes.  It was from Veggie Tales that Jace learned "I'm a child of God!"

The best part though was the theme songs.  We would sing it and instead of the word 'celery,' Jace would say, "cereal."  It was the cutest thing ever.  Then duing the last line we would sing, "IT'S TIME FOR VEGGIE TAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALES!"  as loud as we could and then laugh ridiculously.  It was one of my favorite things to do with him.

I tried to get it on video once, but he would only whisper cereal.  Really I credit Veggie Tales for making a difference in his life.  He started talking about Jesus more and the last time I took him to church with me, he wanted to go in the big service to sing.  He stood up singing - or at least making music without singing words.  I'm grateful to the veggie tales creators for helping us teach Jace about God before he died.

I still miss him so much that I feel like I can't breathe half the time.  The funeral will be Monday.  I just hope we can honor his life in a way he deserves.  Alot of people are asking about donations or memorials, etc.

Cards and stuff can be sent to us at c/o Christview 2525 S Garnett Ave Tulsa, OK 74129

Friends have started a Justice for Jace fund that will be used to help with funeral expenses and any left over money will be used to start something in Jace's honor to help other children.  I think they will add a pay pal to this blog at some point.

Thanks again for every word.  They have meant a lot to us.
This is what Jace looked like when he first came home from the hospital.  

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Someone Else's Miracle

It doesn't seem fair that someone else gets to hug their baby before they sleep tonight.  It doesn't seem fair that Jace had to die so that other people could be happy.  I know it's right though.  Keeping his heart won't bring him back.  Instead it will beat inside of another little person, and maybe a little bit of Jace's joy will rub off on them. 

His heart is going to a baby in Missouri, his kidneys to a young child in OKC, and his liver to a teenager in San Antonio.  Jace's name means "healer" and today he is doing that for others.  I have seen him heal my dad from perpetual blahs.  I have seen him heal my mom from feeling like she had no purpose in life.  I have seen him heal my sister in every way.  He has made my life worth living everyday for the last 2 years, six months, and 28 days and healed my chronic lonliness.  I miss him so much I feel like I the grief will swallow me whole.  I never understood phrases like that until now.  I never understood being so upset that you don't feel like eating. 

I have had several other friends who seemed to love Jesus with all their hearts give up on him.  I WILL NOT GIVE UP ON HIM.  I don't understand why.  But I don't know everything.  Losing Jace with Jesus is hard enough.  I cannot imagine losing Jace without him.  And if I took the time I could probably make this more eloquent, but for those of you I am writing about now - Jesus still hasn't given up on you.  I want you to meet Jace someday. 

This makes me think of the story Jesus told about the house built on the sand and the one built on the rock.  My house isn't going to fall.  If it can stand through this it can stand through anything.  Some of you need to rebuild your houses in a better place. 

I am now going to tell my favorite person in the entire universe "See ya la'er!" 

Pictures of Jace

If you have any pictures or videos of Jace please email them to  We are making something for the service.  We will be having the service on Monday but won't know the time until tomorrow morning. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another miracle and another and another

Today Jace died.  Tomorrow Jace will save the lives of other people waiting for organ donations.  I am so proud of him for what he is doing.  You know when he was a baby his lungs were not good,  and they were worried about his other organs as well.  I am proud that over the past three years he got healthy enough to save lives with those organs.  I am proud of my sister for what she did for him. 

I am sad.  So freaking sad.  But I know good will come from this.  Today is the day to mourn.  Soon it will be the day to find meaning in the pain.  I will continue this blog with stories of Jace, stories of dealing with grief, and hopefully stories of rescuing other children from meeting similar fates. 

Today we wait.  Tomorrow we leave the hospital after five days of watching Jace lie unconcious.  After that there will be plans to be made and more tears to cry.  Later we will change the world. 

Help Wanted

This afternoon they are taking Jace off the ventilator.  He is being taken for a test right now to confirm that his brain is no longer alive.  This is the hardest thing I can ever imagine going through, and I don't know what else to do but take life one minute at a time.

Jesus raised Lazurus from the dead.  I wouldn't mind if Jace jumped up on the exam table and yelled "Guh Mornin!" like he used to.

I know it feels awkward when people are grieving.  My best friend Andrea's mother died and I have listened to her tell me what hurt and what she appreciated in the days after her mom died.

For those of you who don't know what to do I am going to give you a present we don't often get.  I am going to tell you.

1.  Acknowledge our pain. Don't act like nothing happened. 

2.  Don't say God needed him or that God took us from him.  A murderer took him from us.

3.  Write, call, send an email, a facebook, or a comment.  Tell us you care and you're thinking about us.  So many people have done this for us, and it has meant so much.  Some people I consider my good friends though have not said a word, and that kind of hurts.

4.  Sit Shiva with us.  This is a Jewish custom in which people just come and sit with the family for a seven day mourning period.  You don't have to talk, just be with us.  (If we have never met you, this will be weird - just sit with us in your heart)

5.  After the shock and intensity has worn off.  Two weeks from now - remember us and that we are hurting and be there for us then too.  Excuse us if we are emotional or grumpy.

6.  Remember Jace and stand up for children like him. 

7.  Pray for us.  I don't know how we will ever be ok again.  I don't know how, but I know we will.

Though He Slay Me I Will Trust Him

I know now that we are in the final hours of Jace's life.  I never wanted the Bible character I relate to the most to be Job.  You see this entire year has been a nightmare for my family.  In January my mom had a minor stroke.  We have been to the ER numerous times with my granny.  In February my dad went into the hospital with chest pains and left with blood cancer.  We watched my dad waste away to nothing and wallow in pain until he had to use a wheelchair because it hurt so bad to walk.  In the midst of all that I was diagnosed with Lupus.   The only thing we could count on to bring us joy, was a hug and a kiss from Jace.  Hearing him laugh.  Hearing him say his combo of  I love you too and I love you so much - "I love you too much."  I don't know what we will do without that.  Jace was murdered.  How can the person I cherished the most in the universe have been murdered?  I cannot believe there is a reason for this, but I can say that God will turn evil into good somehow.  Jace's life will not have been in vain.  My mom said Jace's ministry was the same length as Jesus' and he touched so many of us and performed many miracles in my life at least.

I hope when I get to heaven he is the first person that runs towards me and jumps into my arms, and we can sing the veggie tales song together while I chase him around our mansion.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm too sad to think of a title

Jace's doctor basically said we are near the end.  In the morning they will test to see if his brain is dead.  Our hearts are overcome with sadness.  We know God heals.  We want him to heal Jace.  We want Jace to hug us.  It hurts so much I'm scared our hearts will explode in our chests. 

Please.  It is the last chance for a miracle.  Pray.

We just held hands and prayed over Jace and sang Jesus Loves Me.  We are trying so hard to believe . 

Please Jesus.  Please hear our cries. 

Breathe in Breathe Out

Last night was rough.  The pressure in Jace's brain got to where they told us it should not go.  The amount of blood to his brain was lower than they told us it could be.  We are all living minute by minute. Every minute we had with Jace so far has been a wonderful gift.  No matter what happens I am grateful I know him and am changed by his smile and love.

The Dr is going to put him in another kind of coma this afternoon to get the swelling down.  We need him to live.  Other than that they are still not giving much hope.  She said even if he does live he is likely to have many deficits.  He overcame them once.  He will over come them again.

I wanted to upload a video of Jace, but I am clearly not smart enough.  You will have to settle for another picture. 

Jace's birthday was June 5th.  A few days after that, I asked him, "How old are you now?"  He said confidently, "26!"

We have no idea how he even knows that there is a number 26, but I look forward to his 26th's birthday.  OH geeze I'll be so old then.

Please pray for a miracle, and for Jace to have a good 26th birthday.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Trying to Believe

I have seen God do awesome miracles.  I was shot five times when I was a teenager and had no lasting injuries.  My sister has been on death's door with anorexia and recovered.  My mom survived breast cancer.  The Broncos won two superbowls.  Jace's life and development.

I want to believe so much that we are on the verge of another one of those miracles.  I'm in all out bargaining mode, telling God that if Jace recovers even my friend Bob will have believe in Jesus and love him.  I'm telling God that like the blind man Jesus healed that this happened to bring glory to God through Jace's healing.  Then I have a tantrum and tell God - if you love me you will heal him.

I have seen miracles, but I have also watched my best friend's mom die while we begged for her healing.  I have seen a friend lose her baby after being pregnant for six months.  I have seen people live through pain they don't deserve.

I know my redeemer lives.

I'm afraid to hope too much.  I'm afraid if believe too much and Jace dies that I will never believe again.  I'm afraid God does not do what I want him to do when I want him to do it.

Before he healed him, Jesus asked a man in the Bible something like - "Do you believe?"  The man answered.  "I believe.  Lord help me overcome my unbelief."  Sorry I'm too lazy to look up references.  See all it took was the man WANTING to believe.  I desperately want to believe, and yesterday Andrea Keown told me that in those moments I could not find hope, she would do it for me.  She would believe on my behalf.  She would stand in the gap.

I am scared.  I am weak.  I want to believe.

Please stand in the gap for me and for Jace.

A couple of weeks ago, Jace was at my house, and I started crying.  I said, "Jace I'm sad I don't live with you anymore.  What will make me feel better?"  I was hoping for a hug.  Jace answered confidently, "Jesus."

Jace believes.  I wan't to believe.

 A few updates:

There is at least SOME brain activity.  They can't tell what type or how good that is or not, but still SOMETHING is better than nothing.

His swelling is increasing but so far he is still handling it.  We are told the next 24 hours are the most crucial and that they have maxed out the medications that will control the swelling.  Either the swelling will peak and then go down, or the swelling will become more than his brain can handle and he'll die.

Please please pray.  When he was a baby and his oxygen levels were low, I used to sing this to Jace.

Jesus loves Jace this I know.  For the Bible tells me so.  Little ones to him belong.  They are weak but my God is so strong. 

Yes, Jesus loves Jace.  Yes, Jesus loves Jace.  Yes, Jesus loves Jace.  The Bible tells me so.  

He will heal your heart and mind.  He will heal your eyes and lungs.  Give you hope and grow you tall.  Bring you peace and make you strong.  

Yes, Jesus Loves Jace.  Yes, Jesus loves Jace.  Yes, Jesus loves Jace.  The Bible tells me so. 

I know Jesus is holding and singing over him now.  Please pray for him.  I am begging you.  The world and I need him.  Thank you for your overwhelming love and support.

What is Happening

Sometime between 8:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. Jace was shaken so hard that it caused a subdural hematoma.  There is a criminal investigation, so I think I have to use restraint, but after years of working as a Social Worker and advocating for children, I never thought this type of evil would directly affect my family.

Jace is now in the PICU at St. Francis Children's hospital.  He is in a medically induced coma and we are waiting for the swelling in his brain to go down.  The Dr. is not optimistic, but we believe God hears our cries for help and comes to our aid.  We believe that the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead works in Jace right now.  We believe that God has a plan for Jace's life that does not include being murdered.  We believe that God heals.  We believe in miracles.

Favorite quote from Jace:  "I'm a child of God."

If you know me, you know that I write to deal with life.  This is the only way I could think of to channel the overwhelming pain of this nightmare.  Please pray for Jace.  Please send this blog to everyone you know and ask them to pray for Jace.  I will be posting updates about his condition and other information as it comes.

For those of you that don't know Jace, he was born on June 5, 2007 at 25 weeks.  He weighed less than 2 pounds, and was not expected to live. His mother had had numerous other children taken from her custody.  She used meth while pregnant with Jace, and could not identify Jace's father.   My sister Leslie was his nurse.  We had discussed being foster parents in the past, and decided to take Jace.  Life was hard.  The first night he was with us, I thought he was going to die in my arms.  He made it though, and has grown into the most delightful, wonderful, adorable human being in the universe.  He has truly made life worth living for all of us, and I can't imagine life without him.  I lived with Jace and raised him along with my sister until two weeks ago when I moved into a separate house and her boyfriend moved in.  That was hard for me.  This is a million times worse. 

Right now there is swelling in his brain.  The swelling is treated with  medication, but they expect it will get worse before it will get better.  The hope is that they can keep it under control with medication until it goes down on its own.  Until then, it cannot be determined how the injuries have affected his brain as far as brain damage or if there is brain activity. So for the next 48 hours it is just a waiting game.

Please pray.  Please get others to pray.  Jace deserves another miracle.

Please forgive any typos or incoherence.  Im a little out of it.

You can leave comments on the blog.  I have also added a guest book where you can write notes to Jace and we will read them out loud to him.