I'm Erin Jo. I'm thinking, writing, dreaming, mothering, loving, living, praising, BLESSED to be Fiona to my Shrek and Mommy to my four amazing kiddos.



Shrek is "like an onion with many layers" but has a heart of gold. He's my husband and my friend, and we just get better all the time.



Lily is my first baby and only girl. She's smart, funny, tall and kind. Keeping up with this girl is a challenge and a joy. She's terrific!



Max is one part ogre, two parts lover and all boy! Our little man has a temper but gives the best hugs of anyone I know!



Colby is as ornery as he looks. He flirts shamelessly, even with strangers. He's all mouth and curls and the loudest by far.



Luke is the baby of the family, but holds his own. He's happy and adorable. And he's a terrible sleeper. =)

Earning Her Wings

Ava and Luke

Ava falling for Luke. Love at first sight.

Our girl, Ava Cole, earned her wings today. My daughter Lily says she’s dancing and singing in heaven, and cousin Jayden says she’s got her long hair back, restored to perfect health. And I believe all of this and more.

I believe that my life is so much better because of Ava. I know my friendships are stronger, my eyes and heart are wider.

I am a better person because of you, baby girl, and so are several thousand others.

You were beautiful and strong and good. You fought like a girl, and, on some level, you won. Because you–just by being you for six and a half years–you made such a difference. You showed us Love in Child Form. You took the days God gave you and you used them for good, just by being you.

You put a face to a fight. You were a friend to my children and an inspiration to us all. You had so much talent, so much beauty and the best wardrobe of any girl I’ve ever known. (Those glittery black legwarmers said it all.)

And now, you’re gone. Gone from here, but onto another place, where I know you’ll make a name for yourself just as you did here. And we’ll miss you, so much. Your mama and daddy, your doggies, your family and friends. But you’ve left such a part of yourself that you’ll never be forgotten. Never.

And your mama and daddy, well, you know how strong they are. We’ll lift them up. We’ll hold their hands, their worries, their burden. We’ll remind them that they’ll forever be parents, because they brought you into the world and loved you all the way out. They fought for you and with you. They put you first, and they were with you every step of the way.

Lily tells me you’re probably also still wearing that pretty crown from the pageant last week, and I believe that too. You’ll always be our queen.

So I know you’re probably busy running and jumping and dancing, but I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you for living your life out loud and for blessing all of us with your undeniably strong spirit.

And I know I’ll see you again, in perfect health, your curly tresses and a stunner outfit. We’ll roast some marshmallows and sing along to your mama’s guitar around a campfire with our Lake Tweet crew. Until then, goodbye, Ava Cole. Run, jump, dance and sing in peace, sweetie. We love you forever, and we are so proud of the way you lived your life.

“Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before we meet again, and meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.” – Richard Bach

21 Responses

  1. julie says:

    My dear sweet Erin, you did it again, only this time you left me in tears. Thank you for the words that say what we are all feeling. I know you and your kids were/are so very close to Ava. She was lucky to have them and they to have her.

  2. You are such a wonderful writer. I think that you have unknowingly written the eulogy. That was beautiful. I
    am so proud

  3. Patti Miller says:

    What a beautiful tribute to Ava. You have a way of saying what many of us can’t, but are feeling and wish we could say. Absolutely perfectly said.

  4. Valarie Garvin says:

    Wow Erin, you put into words what no one can say.. Such a sweet tribute to a wonderful little angel

  5. Linda Hart says:

    Very well written Erin. Ava’s spirit will live forever in all that we see, all that hear, and all that we do. I for one will try to have more patience and tell my children how much i love them each and every day. She truly was an angel here on earth; an inspiration to all. My prayers go out to her parents and family.

  6. Melissa says:

    This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. God Bless you and your family…

  7. Andrea Wilson says:

    Wow! Nobody could’ve said it better. That is beautiful!

  8. Karen Rutter says:

    If tears cleanse the soul, all those who knew, or even just knew of Ava, just got cleaner. You said what we’re all feeling, and it’s comforting to know that so many are feeling the same way. Ava touched so many lives and made us all better people by doing so. Thank you for putting this into words.

  9. Leanne Schneider says:

    A beautful tribute for a beautiful little girl. I didn’t know Ava but have followed her story. My heart aches for her friends and family. Thank you for allowing me into her world and letting me get to know her through your writings. Hopefully, Ava knows how many lives she has touched by being such an awesome person with a smile that lights up a room. May peace be with her loved ones now as she looks down from heaven.

  10. Kim Cooper says:

    Perfectly said. We love you, baby girl. I know you are free now. I take comfort in knowing that you can now be that vibrant, happy, performing diva for Jesus and all his heavenly host now and for eternity! Gone, but never forgotten!

  11. Jessica Yost says:

    What a beautiful tribute to Ava and her family! What a support you are to her parents!

  12. Donna Johnson says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how much you and yours love Ava. May God be with you and all those who love her. Let me know if I can be of any help.
    Grandma is home.

  13. Roberta Pitts says:

    You are such a great writer and such a great support system your whole family has been for the Nichols. This is such a beutiful message about Ava and her impact. You have put into words what so many of us cannot and I’m certain everyone thanks you for that. Love you!

  14. Leanne Medley says:

    You just put into words what so many are feeling right now. One of the most touching tributes I’ve ever read. Ava has received her wings but before she did this precious angel has made an impact on the world , most people never accomplish that in their lifetime, Ava did it in 6 years. We all love you Ava even those who have never met you. Heaven has received one of their most precious angels<3

  15. Angie Stevens says:

    Very well written!!

  16. amber kerns says:

    Erin that was so very nice. Ava was a inspiration to us all.

  17. Sunny Ramage says:

    Perfect words Erin. Just beautiful.

  18. Kasey Myers says:

    That was absolutely beautiful, thank you so much for sharing. Ava has left us with so much, she taught us more than any teacher ever could <3

  19. Bre says:

    This is beautiful! <3 Ava will always have a place in my heart.

  20. Anita Henry says:

    Erin…simply beautiful! What a special little girl she was. You summed it up perfectly. Ava and her family are such an inspiration to all of us!

  21. Arian says:

    Just lovely, Erin. I don’t know the family, but you still left me in tears.

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