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Happy Birthday, Julie

Julie was the blogger in the family. Occasionally I would post a story or share my thoughts, but this blog was a personal way for Julie to communicate. 

Since the accident, I have been debating whether I should continue posting here, where Julie so passionately and regularly shared her thoughts, her struggles, and our adventures in Paraguay. For three months, I've put it off, but today is a special day, and I strongly feel the need to honor her. I think that Julie would encourage me to continue her work and maybe even smile from heaven as I post this blog entry on what would have been her 36th birthday.

I am told that time does not exist in heaven, so whatever age we are when we leave this world does not really matter in eternity. Does that mean that Julie won’t have a party to celebrate? Well, from what I understand, heaven is so very special that the party never ends.

And that's good because Julie loved to celebrate. We would celebrate getting documents, or clearing packages through Customs. She wanted Timi to know how important going through each childhood stage was, so she tried to make birthday and family occasions special. My family, on the contrary, did not celebrate as much growing up. 

On her birthday, Julie would have wanted breakfast in bed. She started that tradition on my birthday, so when her birthday came around, it was my turn to honor her. She loved being woken up by Timi and me singing "Happy Birthday" to her. Breakfast would consist of eggs, sausages, warm tea or coffee, and, of course, being with each other.

As far as gifts, we tried to do special things for each other. Spending quality time was high on the scale. After we read The Five Love Languages, we realized the importance of understanding and meeting each other’s language. Quality time and words of encouragement were first for Jewls. Julie was very easy to please, although her list of things to fix around the house could get quite long. 

I love cakes, so on one of her birthdays I got her three cakes. One we shared with the radio staff, the other with close family, and the third with people at the local church. She laughed and made fun of me and my cake extravaganza. I think that was six years ago.

As for Timi, he loved wrapping things for his mami. He actually loved gift giving. He would grab one of my newspapers and wrap one of his toys and present it to Jewls. He also loved giving flowers. I was surprised when Timi would just pick a flower from our garden and say, "This is for you, mami." Recently he had begun picking flowers for little Anahi.

Julie loved her orchids and being outdoors. She would walk around the house, with Anahi in a front pack, checking out her plants and finding out if there was a new flower bud. I remember her telling me with a big smile, "Norb, this flower only blooms once a year." She had a way of enjoying the moment.

Julie, three months have gone by since that dark morning when, in just a matter of seconds, our lives were ripped apart. You went to glory, to our eternal home, while I survived on this side. I would have preferred to go be with our Lord as well. I would give anything to have you and Timothy back, but I know that it’s not possible right now.

And Julie, this morning I will not be able to fix you breakfast. I would if God would let me bring it to you, but I know that you are eating at the King's table. It still does not seem right that you are not here to celebrate. I realize, also, that you have stopped aging, and I am a bit jealous. I am trying to stay in shape for when we meet again, so that I can keep up with you. Although maybe I should get used to living without worrying about how old I am. Living life fully today is what matters.

I love you, Julie, and I am looking forward to our heavenly reunion one day.
Happy birthday, with love,

Norb and your sweet Anahi


  1. Thanks so much Norb for including us in this birthday celebration. I appreciate your sharing your memories with us. We are praying for you and eagerly look for your return to Paraguay.

  2. Thanks for sharing that, Norberto--a beautiful tribute. Continued prayers for you and Anahi as you navigate this world without Julie and Timi.

    Jenn (Nelson) Wiard

  3. Thanks for sharing that, Norberto--a beautiful tribute. Continued prayers for you and Anahi as you navigate this world without Julie and Timi.

    Jenn (Nelson) Wiard

  4. Norb, I have missed reading the blog, and I was happy to see you'd posted today. This was such an important part of her ministry, and I am sure Anahi will one day treasure the collection of stories and updates her mami posted here. :) Thanks for sharing about your birthday traditions. I'm betting she and Timi fit right in with the celebration atmosphere in Heaven!! Praying for you today as you remember these special times.

  5. A beautiful tribute to an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing your heart. I am smiling and crying at the same time. I still think about Julie often, and pray for you and Anahi.

  6. Elena Barannikova, RussiaJuly 22, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Norberto, your deep thoughts and sincerety make one cherish the present and what each of us has at the moment that often seems insignificant and common.

    Thank you for sharing and spreading your love so that it could increase in other people. Love covers everything and is above all.
    Blessed be your big heart and I also wish shower of blessings to you and your precious daughter. You're a very special family, close to the Lord's heart.

  7. What a beautiful post to honor a wonderful woman! I am continuing to pray for your family.


  8. Norb, you honored Julie with this post. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  9. This is so beautiful. I cried, I couldn't fight it.
    We are with you Noberto. Be strong!
    God bless you and Anahí today and always!

  10. Norb, this is an incredible letter and message . . . I am deeply touched. One of the reasons being: you are challenging me to love my wife as much as you love yours. Thank you!

  11. Oh my...speechless...prayers and hugs!

  12. I stumbled across your blog by clicking on "next" at the top of my blog. Your letter to your wife on her birthday was touching and filled with love. I don't know anything about your circumstances but it appears you now have a precious little girl who needs you more than ever. You will get through this - the first year is the hardest. The sadness will always be there but you will learn what to do when it comes. In peace.

  13. Such a beautiful post. I was friends with Julie through She and I were both trying to get pregnant at the same time. I remember a specific time when I was down because I had not yet gotten pregnant, after a year and a miscarriage. Julie was in the same boat. She wrote a post and prayed that God would give me a child - even before herself because she knew it was important to me.

    My son was born in December 2005, not long before Timi, if I recall correctly.

    She was a wonderful, selfless person. My heart aches for your tragedy.

    I wish there were some way to help. Please know you are always on my mind and in our family prayers daily.



  14. My heart, my prayers, my tears are right there with you brother :(
    Brother "JT" with the CMA

  15. Norb, Thank you for the posting. I have read your blog for the last couple of years and I had to say I think I am still in shock, but so amazed about God's love for us even in the lowest of times. Thank you for your faith and your sweet note from your heart and soul. I thought the following may further strengthen you......


    No one has yet believed in God and the kingdom of God, no one has yet heard about the realm of the resurrected, and not been homesick from that hour, waiting and looking forward joyfully to being released from bodily existence.

    Whether we are young or old makes no difference. What are twenty of thirty or fifty years in the sight of God? And which of us knows how near he or she may already be to the goal? That life only really begins when it ends here on earth, that all that is here is only the prologue before the curtain goes up--that is for young and old alike to think about. Why are are we so afraid when we think about death? .... Death is only dreadful for those who live in dread and fear of it. Death is not wild and terrible, if only we can be still and hold fast to God's Word. Death is not bitter, if we have not become bitter ourselves. Death is grace, the greatest gift of grace that God gives to people who believe in him. Death is mild, death is sweet and gentile; it beckons to us with heavenly power, if only we realize that it is the gateway to our homeland, the tabernacle of joy, the everlasting kingdom of peace.

    How do we know that dying is so dreadful? Who knows whether, in our human fear and anguish we are only shivering and shuddering at the most glorious, heavenly, blessed event in the world?

    Death is hell and night and cold, if it is not transformed by our faith. But that is just what is so marvelous, that we can transform death.

    My wife and I just left Asuncion after two years. Pam was an administrator at the the American School of Asuncion and I supported the Operation Smile- Paraguay Foundation. Our church was St Andrews Chapel on Espanda. We do miss Paraguay and will never forget the wonderful people we met. We hope that all the political things going on will end up impacting all the people for the good and not just the rich as it seems to always do. If you are interested I blogged our adventure .... you can find it searching Google under "Paraguay Pam Bill".

    I thank God for Julie and Timi and their to short life on earth but know they are at home with their savior forever and forever. And I will pray every day for you and Anahi and that God will hold you in the palms of his hands and help you through each and every day! Love, Bill

  16. This is beautiful. Please keep blogging. It is wonderful to hear how you and sweet Anahi are doing.

  17. God knows your beautiful heart and he cares for you so much, Norberto...praying for you along the way.

  18. Praying for you! Heard your story and I was touched. May God gives you strenght each day that passes by.

  19. Hello,

    I came across your blog after I finished posting on my son's blog. He's a missionary for our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Right now he is serving in Armenia. I just wanted to say how sorry about the trials your family has had to endure. Your tribute to your wife was beautiful. I truly believe, too, that you will see her again and that you can be together forever. Endure well, friend. You are loved.

    Jennifer Hammer

  20. Jolene Sommers LopezAugust 7, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    God bless you Norberto. Thank you for posting this. Ernie and I were friends with your aunt Nilah at AU adn thereafter for many years. We are sooo sad for you and little Anahi but know that the Lord is with you even when you walk thru the valley of the shadow of death. There WILL be happier days ahead. Love and prayers.


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