Posted on June 3rd, 2009 by John.
Categories: Our Journey, Our Journey (chronological).

I think most of the intense feelings we needed to express about James have run their course now. It’s time to integrate our ongoing memories and thoughts about him into the rest of our lives, so instead of continuing to add to this blog at, we’ll bring things to a close here and write about him at our current blog, The site will stay up, and we’ll still enjoy reading and posting your comments if you wish to leave one., with its 1,200 comments, still getting a thousand hits a day almost a year after James’s death, has changed our lives forever. Not only were we better able to track, communicate, and celebrate James’s growth by recording the details of his life online; not only did we see God shape our attitudes towards disability and suffering and doubt through our writing; but we also have been witnesses of how personally God speaks to people—even complete strangers!—through the life of our beautiful, broken little man.

We loved him, but we didn’t realize so many others would, too. It’s impossible to understand how our story could be that special, except God must be at work through the lives of the weak. It has been a humbling, exhilarating, mysterious thing to witness. The continual stream of readers and comments has challenged me to share our story with a larger audience for the glory of God. Thanks for journeying with us and for loving James, and Dora, and us, extravagantly–even though many of you knew the cost before you started.

OK, one more of Mister Cute for the road…see you soon at the House of Gjertsen.

14 Responses to “transfer”

  1. shelly on June 12, 2009 9:31 am

    I have read your family’s story for the past few days. I just wanted to tell you that you have a beautiful family and James was a beautiful blessing.

  2. Kait on June 15, 2009 1:17 pm

    I was on a temp job for a week as a receptionist in a building where the phone didn’t ring and during this time, I had the absolute pleasure of reading James’ entire life story.

    Your faith, undying love for one another and strength to continue growing in the love of the Lord during your time of sadness and extreme adversity is inspiring. You guys (including James and Dora and new baby on the way) make my heart happy.

    Keep on keepin’ on Gjertsens – and I’ll keep readin’.

  3. Contemporary Troubadour on June 23, 2009 8:38 pm

    I found your website from Cake Wrecks (I imagine you read that sentence frequently). The way you’ve written about James is so inspiring. I’m passing along an award to you over at my place. I admire the eloquence with which you’ve captured your son’s life.

  4. Kim on June 26, 2009 6:08 pm

    It’s been many, many months since I’ve visited this site and I’m not sure I’ve ever even commented before but felt moved to now.

    Yes, he was beautiful…but he was not broken. He was exactly as God intended him to be here on earth.

    And I agree that God “must be at work through the lives of the weak.” But he is also at work through the lives of the strong – YOU. You may not feel strong, I’m sure, but you are through Him.

    God Bless you both, you are in my thoughts often.

  5. Reina Brown on June 29, 2009 10:58 am

    I love this site so much, and the story of your son brought mixed feelings to me. I felt so strengthened and encouraged, and I also cried. When I heard the videos of his precious little voice, my heart melted, and I did cry. This is truly an inspiration. Please keep this site up forever. I love coming to it. When I’m feeling down, I read this site. Take care of yourself and God bless.

  6. Jess on July 28, 2009 8:08 pm

    I just found your site tonight and for the past couple of hours have read your story from start to finish. I just have to say how inspiring it was to me. How inspiring James is to me… Reading about all the things he went through and then seeing his smiling face in pictures and him fight to pull through. I am so sorry for your losses with James and Dora, but I rejoice with you in the knowledge that they are both in heaven with our Risen Lord!

    My husband and I lost our first baby Caleb (miscarriage at 7 1/2 weeks) and that has been a hard blow to us. It was encouraging to see your faith in the Lord in such difficult times. He is our Rock and salvation. Reading your site has also reminded me to take each day as a gift. We are currently pregnant again (about 12 weeks) and while it is so tempting to wish this time to quickly pass so I can meet our little one in person, I also have to remind myself that every day is a gift to cherish this little one. Thank you again and my prayers are with you! ~Jess

  7. Dana on August 19, 2009 1:21 pm

    James’ beautiful story brought me to tears. I read about his life a few months ago, but never felt I had the words to convey what my heart feels for perfect strangers and their perfect little boy. Still don’t. James passed on my son’s 2nd birthday. Now on the eve of his 3rd birthday, I cannot help but think of your family and James. James has touched my life in a profound way and I will never forget his story. Your family will be in my prayers tomorrow. Thank you for sharing James.

  8. cla ro on August 27, 2009 7:30 pm

    i only came across your blog tonight, and my hear has broken for you both.

    to loose one child rips your life apart, but to loose two, and within such a short space of time…

    you have handled this with such grace, and your joy in your life and your children and your love for them had touched me in a way i cannot explain.

    i know i cannot say anything that will comfort you, nothing you have not heard already. but know that you will be in my prayers.

    just know that as you loved and cared for james, he is now caring for you now. looking over you and protecting you in a way he simply could not do in life.

  9. meg on September 16, 2009 8:32 pm

    John and Abbey,
    I’ve recently found your blog through cake wrecks and read it cover to cover so to speak in less than 24hrs. First let me say how deeply sorry I am for your losses, and also how deeply touched I have been by your faith.

    The testimony of your sons life has changed me in a deep and permanent way. I am a single mother to a high energy toddler. So many times I have (and I am deeply ashamed to admit this) bemoaned my fate with him. I’ve mourned for the child free phd getting money making life I had planned. I’ve grieved for trips never taken, parties never attended etc. God has used this blog to give me a wake up call of well, biblical proportions. My son is healthy and God is providing for us and the rest is just details.

    When I reached the post about James passing I put down my laptop, climbed in to bed with my baby, and holding him cried with thanks and praise to God.

    I know that James has touched so many lives but I wanted you to know how he has impacted mine. And to thank you for allowing Gods love and grace to be shine through you.

    In Gods love,

  10. Petra on October 14, 2009 4:59 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story; it is beautiful beyond words.

  11. Sammi on October 19, 2009 2:12 pm

    What a beautiful child, and what a wonderful family. He was truly blessed. I wish your family all the best, and appreciate you sharing James’ life with us.

  12. Carol on October 19, 2009 10:12 pm

    Dear Abby and John,

    I’m so glad you were able to write so beautifully about your feelings for James and tell the story of his life. Your story of life and love and grief and healing is unique, and amazing, and moving.

    From my own experiences with losing my beautiful niece Jess, almost 5 years ago, I feel that I am glad, in a way, that I still feel so much pain at times, missing her. The grief tells me how very very much I loved her, and love her still.

    I am thrilled to read about Valor and see his pictures also. I am sure he will love hearing about his sweet older brother.

    Thank you for all you’ve done for us “strangers”. We are all God’s children, and not so much strangers after all.

  13. Ines on January 14, 2010 9:31 pm

    Dear John & Abby,

    thank you for inspiring faith in Christ. Too many times i’ve given into temptation and forgetting the plans God has for me. I found your blog through cakewrecks and your journey has been a shattering wake up call.

    I am only 17 and still had a long way to go in life and God had given me the tools to build up His kingdom. I should not waste precious time given. Your journey is testimony of what it means to trust in Him.

    Right now, i am reminded once again to hold onto the treasure of my family while there’s still time left. Both of your efforts have mirrored the time and sacrifice God has done for the people He loves. In the distant future, when i have children, i know that i will be reminded of what it means to raise a child in the name of Christ.

    When you have read this comment, i would’ve probably shared your journey to the congregation of my church.

    And James,

    thank you for showing me that it is not about what you can’t do, but what you CAN. The endless trips to hospitals, doctors, therapists, specialists and the never-ending doses of bitter medicine did not define who you are. Even though you were a small child during your short life, by reading this blog, God has let me know that you are a beautiful, outgoing and gentle person. Even though we will never meet on earth, your time spent here has shown me to fight for not only my faith, but on behalf of those who cannot do so. For inspirations, love and spirit know no time or space.

    I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
    -Philippians 4:13

    With much love

  14. kimi on January 3, 2011 10:30 pm

    Today through Cake Wrecks I was drawn to your blog. I have sat and read the entire chronology today. I do not know why I was drawn to sit and read James’ story. But what I do know is that whatever my original intention, it was God’s will I read it. I am changed from reading it. Your faith, your strength through the struggle, has given me the reassurance I needed that God truly is in control and will see me through. I do not have a child with severe disabilities, however I do have 5 “special needs” children – all various degrees of “something”! I do have a son with Type 1 diabetes so I was very amused at some of the comments about you hoping for good numbers – only something a fellow-d-mom would understand!

    Thank you for keeping this blog up and know that James is continuing to change lives. May God bless and keep you always.


    Mom to:

    Daniel-15 (chronic anxiety)
    Scott-14 (Tourette’s/PANDAS)
    Bryan-12 (Type 1 diabetes)
    Sarah-10 (anxiety)
    Dana-10 (I’d like to say normal – but not quite – she just doesn’t have an official diagnosis!)

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