Living After Your Child Dies – Trish’s Story of Samuel

Living After Your Child Dies – Trish’s Story of Samuel

Today marks 2 years since I received the call that my oldest son, Kyle, had died in a helicopter crash in Kenya, leaving behind his newly pregnant wife and 5-year-old son.

One of the things that was very helpful for me after Kyle’s death was to  be able to reach out and talk with other moms who knew what it felt like to walk down the road that was now in front of me – and help me to look for the light in the dark moments

My friend, Trish Richhart, was one of those moms.  She lost her 8 year-old son, Samuel, after a 3 year battle with cancer.

We both agree that we would never chose to live those moments again, yet we are very grateful for the faith that grew stronger from those very dark moments.

 The Journey Starts

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 Enjoying a family trip to Florida where Samuel was able to have a few days of freedom. (2017)

Samuel’s last meal that Trish talked about in the podcast


May be an image of text that says 'The life FAITH struggle of is always TRUST -David Paul Tripp'

“At the street level, the life of faith is always a struggle of trust.  In this struggle of trust you will be left with questions about what God is doing.  If the doubt of wonderment causes you to come to God with sincere questions, asking is an act of faith.  You’re not rebelling against Him; you’re not running from Him.  You’re not demanding answers , but crying out in your confusion for help that only He can give.”  David Paul Tripp, Suffering 

In one of my deepest moments of despair,  I sat next to my very sick, hospitalized son, wondering if he was dying.  I cried out in anguish to God.  The cry of my heart was, “Why?!?”

I couldn’t understand how this sweet five year old boy had to suffer so much.  I couldn’t understand why I, who had tried so hard to be faithful and honor God, had to walk through this.  It seemed so wrong.  And if I am honest, I was feeling angry at God.  It is by God’s grace that within these feelings, I stayed turned toward Him and did not turn away in my anger.  I was confused and frustrated, but I realized that God was the only One who had the answers.  And He did answer me in my despair, but not in the way I was looking for.  Although it was not audible, His answer was as clear as if He were sitting next to me speaking. God’s reply to my heartfelt question of “Why?” was, “Do you trust me?”  I was surprised, but His answer was clear.

Did I trust God?  Did I trust God even in horrible circumstances that made no sense to me?  It’s easy to trust Him when things are going smoothly.  The real test of faith is trusting Him when life is falling apart.  I always thought that I did, but in that moment I had to reevaluate.  What did I truly believe?  I did believe that God is real.  I did believe that He had the power to heal my son.  I also believed that God loves my child even more than I.  So the logical conclusion is that He has a plan for good even in this. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 NIV

So, do I trust Him? I wrestled with that question.

However, that wrestling brought a clarity of mind; it refined my faith. I could not deny that I did indeed trust God, even when I could not understand His ways. I answered Him with my sincere “Yes.” That one word reply to God marked a defining moment in my faith. I have often reminded myself of my testimony in that moment. If I could truly trust God when I felt so very hopeless, I could always trust Him. That trust has been what has carried me through even harder things.

Have you ever wrestled with your faith? Has life ever dealt you such an awful hand that you questioned everything you thought you believed? Take heart; for the life of faith is always a struggle of trust. God has given you the opportunity to refine your faith. Stepping into that will bring you closer to God in ways you could never imagine.

As Trish writes on trust, it reminded me of the song “Trust Me”. It was a song I played over and over again the day of, and many days after, Kyle died:

May be an image of text that says 'TRUST in the LORD with all your heart on you never rely thnk what you Uknow. Remember show you you ne everthing wile way 360 right ROVERES'

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May be an image of text that says 'See, I am doing A NEW THING now it sprengs up, do not perceive it? I am A making m the wrlderness ISAIAH 43:19'

You can follow Trish on Instagram at:  godsgirlstrish

Listen In!

A Few Helpful Resources We talked About:

If you are on Facebook, you can listen to this great reminder from Wendy Speake:

This book was not talked about in the podcast. However, even though it is primarily a book on the marriage relationship, the principles it contains would build strong relationships with your kids, as well. They need to feel “cherished” too!




Creating Possibilities

I had fun recording this episode with a couple of my kids when they were home over the holidays.  I hope it will encourage you – and your kids!

A Journey of Adoption

A Journey of Adoption

A Journey of a Couple’s Heart to Adopt

In this episode of Forti-fy, you will hear the heart of Ashley Kellogg who chronicles her family’s 10-year journey to their first adoption – and how their ever expanding family now includes the addition of 5 special needs children, in addition to their biological 6, making a very lively and bustling home!


Be sure to check out the plethora of helpful resources listed below that Ashley has provided!

Resources Discussed in the Episode:

Adoption Resources


Gateway Woods is a local agency in Leo that works with foster care and international adoptions providing homestudies and other adoption services


Hand in Hand is a local agency in Albion that provides domestic and international homestudies and other adoption resources


Children’s Bureau is an Indianapolis based adoption agency that works with foster and adoptive families for homestudies and other adoption services


Special Angels Adoption is an agency that provides services for special needs adoptions.


The National Down Syndrome Adoption Network provides support for birth and adoptive families of children with Down syndrome


Reece’s Rainbow advocates for orphans with Down syndrome and other special needs by raising funds for adoption grants


Empowered to Connect website has a podcasts, a blog and training resources for foster and adoptive parents


Facebook Pages: 

Indiana Foster and Adoptive Parents

Parenting with Connection

China Adoption Questions


Conferences: is a virtual conference providing hours of training for working with children from hard places is a virtual conference for foster and adoptive parents runs yearly conferences for foster and adoptive parents


Books: (This is a great list for ALL parents!)

The Connected Child by Purvis, Cross and Sunshine

The Connected Parent by Qualls and Purvis

The Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel

No Drama Discipline by Daniel Siegel

Love Me Feed Me by Katja Rowell

Attaching in Adoption by Deborah Gray

You Can Adoption Without Debt by Julie Gumm

Feel free to reach out to Ashley at: 

She would be happy to answer your questions!

To the Mom of Young Children: Take Off the Pressure of Perfection!

To the Mom of Young Children: Take Off the Pressure of Perfection!

Our kids show us who we really are!

In this podcast episode, and in this blog post, Kelsey shares about life with 5 kids under the age of 7. We talk about the “mess” inside ourselves and how our kids help us get “cleaned up!” We also discuss the beauty and freedom of creating our own “family culture”, and not being bound to looking like anyone else.

Books Discussed in Podcast:

(Parenting Scripts was recommended by Kelsey’s sister-in-law)

An Author/Blogger/Podcaster Kelsey has enjoyed:



Other Blog posts by Kelsey can be found Here.

Valor was just getting up from his nap when we took this picture, so we will get him in next time!

In this blog post, Kelsey talks about making memories by building a living history.

(This is separate from the podcast episode)

During some of my childhood years my family lived in an old farmhouse in the country. My siblings and I had large maple trees to climb, big old barns to explore, an old grape arbor to munch from, and acres of field to run through. My mother liked to grow a large garden each year, and we learned at a young age how to help her plant, weed, and harvest the produce grown in it. Mom loved to garden.

She would tell us that she got into gardening as a way to spend quality time with her busy father when she was a child. In turn, she invited us into the garden with her as a way of passing on what had become special to her. We would begin at the local greenhouse where we would pick out tomato plants, melon starts, packets of green bean and corn seeds. My dad would borrow the landlord’s old blue Ford tractor to till the soil, and I would climb up onto his lap to help him steer.

I can recall it like it was yesterday, the feel of dad’s old sweatshirt, the scruff of his beard grazing the top of my head and the smell of the diesel smoke puffing from the exhaust as we chugged along. 

The days grew hotter and the plants grew bigger until, in the dog days of August, the once hard, green tomatoes began to turn into soft, red fruit ready for harvest.

We knew it was time for the canning season; out came the glass Ball and Kerr jars, new lids from the Super Value and from the basement we carried up the old black, speckled canner. We would don our aprons and set to work in that old farmhouse kitchen preserving our summer’s harvest.

My mother taught us, first by us watching, and eventually, by us helping, the art of canning our own food. That age old tradition began to weave its way into my heart and my identity. That pleasant feeling of setting ourselves to such a purposeful task was satisfying. We worked, not only for the need of the food for the winter, but also for the visual reward of rows of jars standing at attention filled with bright red tomatoes.

And the much anticipated ‘POP’ of the lids as one after the other obediently sealed tight.

I hoped then that someday I would have my own home and garden and my own family to pass this tradition on to. 

Many summers later, I find myself standing in my own kitchen, with my own brood of children as we don our aprons and prepare to can a bountiful crop of ripe tomatoes.

We planted the seeds together earlier in the spring.  We cared for the tender little plants as they unfurled their first sets of leaves and began to soak up the light and spread their roots deep into the soil. Together we spent time out in the sun, under the bright blue sky, pulling pesky weeds and talking about the gardens in our hearts and what weeds we ought to pull from there so God’s glory can grow abundant. At long last, as the crickets begin to sing their end-of-summer song, the mornings are a little cooler and the sunflowers are in full bloom, we begin the tomato harvest.

Now it is time to pass down the traditions and make the memories with my own children that I so cherish from my childhood. As we get out those glass Ball and Kerr jars from the attic, wash our Tattler lids and seals and bring up the old black, speckled canner from the basement, we talk about the life of these tomatoes and the process we are about to embark on.

Our four year old tells us how it all began with a small, delicate seed many months ago, while he sorts out wide mouth lids from small mouth lids. Our daughter, six years old, brings the stool over to the counter and fills a big bowl with ice and water, preparing things for the peeling station…all the while talking about things a seed needs to grow into a strong plant and bring forth good fruit.

Our eldest, seven years old, refreshes our memories on the steps ahead…scoring, blanching, peeling, boiling jars, filling to the top and sealing tight.

Our two year old gets into mischief and pulls on my legs to remind me that this is indeed not as interesting to her as it is to us. The baby, well he sleeps until the most time sensitive moment in the process and then he lets out his wail to let me know he is hungry, and not hungry for tomatoes.

My children are full of mischief and imagination. Including them in these tasks of adulthood is not always easy or peaceful. There are certainly times I get frazzled as they bicker over who gets to do which task or my four year old begins to pulverize the blanched tomatoes in his hands getting tomato juice all over the kitchen. Some years we don’t get around to starting our own plants and some years my garden doesn’t produce as bountifully as I would like. But God always provides whether it’s through a family member starting extra plants or a generous neighbor who has more harvest than they need.


What I have decided is most important here is not that the process go perfectly from beginning to end, from seed to table, but rather that I keep a living history in our lives; that my children learn the age old task of preserving their own food and appreciate the art of it. But above all, the importance of creating a wholesome, beautiful childhood for my children, just as I had, so that too may be passed on to the next generation as it was for me.

Happy canning!

Some Faves Today:

Currently Reading: The Lost Castle Series by Kimberly Camdron

In my morning mug: Special English Breakfast from Harney & Sons Co (with a splash of milk), iced medium roast coffee with milk in the afternoon

Listening to today: Adventures in Odyssey: Pranks for Memories

Reading with the children: 90 Devotions for Kids from the book of Matthew – Adventures in Odyssey, The Boxcar Children Homerun Mystery by Gertrude Chandler, The Bombay Boomarang Mystery by Franklin W. Dixon, Pages of History: Secrets of the Ancients by Bruce Etter


Kitchen Tip:

If you have build-up on your kitchen and bathroom fixtures you can mix up baking soda and lemon juice into a paste, coat your fixtures in the paste and let it set for 20 minutes. Go after it with a scrubby pad and you’ll find the build up comes right off! 

Caution: if you had a dark finish on your fixtures it may also remove some of the finish. 

Are You Aware of Sex Offenders Living in Your Area?

Are You Aware of Sex Offenders Living in Your Area?


On this episode of the Forti-fy podcast, Heather and Ann sat down with Detective Michael Smothermon who heads up the Sex and Violent Offender Registry in Allen County.

Mike gives a very thorough overview of the program. He also provides an incredibly helpful tool to help you track offenders in the area of where you live, work or go to school.

Listen in to hear all about it!

Click to listen:  

Click HERE for the link to sign up for email alerts,

The page will look like this:


If you have any further questions, all contact information can be found HERE.

Thanks Mike!