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. =)

White Sugar, Brown Sugar

A brother is a friend given by Nature. ~ Jean Baptiste Legouve

My two babies are such a joy. Such a workout, such a comedy act, such a well-matched boxing bout! They keep me busy, they keep me on my toes, they keep me in diaper debt.

It’s a little strange how little they look like brothers, with one white as a sheet and the other with a natural, full-body tan that rivals my own, 34 years in the making. But I believe these two. They mirror my own brothers, one a pale redhead and the other dark-complected and dark-haired. Growing up on my grandpa’s farm, we lived just down the hill from my Great Aunt Lenore, who, in her seventies at the time, enthusiastically loved my brothers and their opposite coloring. She’d kiss on them in turn, and sometimes repeatedly, while squeezing their cheeks and saying, “Now, give me some white sugar. And now my brown sugar!!” My sister and I were left to watch the ruckus, our cheeks not as special and not nearly as sore.

But sometimes, in photos like these, I see similarities in my babies. Those lopsided smiles, beautiful white teeth, happy, crunched eyes, their joie de vivre! Colby takes his role of big brother very seriously. He guides Luke around by the head and shoulder, he bops him with abandon and he fights him for space on momma’s hip. (Good thing God gave us mothers two of them!)

This past weekend at the wedding of friends, I told another parent (a green first-timer) that babies were good for the biceps. And two babies that weigh about 60 to 65 pounds together, are dynamite. I do not worry about my arms, friends. And I am closer all the time to not worrying about my belly.

When I do worry, I let myself worry about the children in Africa. Seriously. Did anyone else see the NBC Nightly News report on the imminent starvation of 1.5 million children in Africa?

Broke. My. Heart.

If you go find it on the Web, you’ll probably get fired up like I did. You’ll want to help. You’ll start reading the comments after the article, and your frustration will multiply tenfold. Yes, we’ve been trying to feed the children of Africa for more than forty years. Yes, parents there have more children than they can feed (and likely won’t be sterilized for fear of the child mortality rate and the likelihood that their children will die before them.) Yes, we have needs here in our country. Yes, we need to fix big problems to find long-term solutions.

But none of this stops the child or children who will die this minute from starvation. None of this stops the heartache of their mothers.

It is the burden of being human to feel helpless. But it is the duty of our human heart to never give up hope that we can change this world, perhaps by saving one child at a time. The power of one cannot be underestimated.

I respectfully declined to contribute to political campaigns via email today with a simple note that read, in part, “I can no longer contribute to your campaign. Children in Africa are starving, and the amount of money we spend on political campaigns in America makes me sick to my stomach…. Let’s quit playing this silly money war… Change must come, and you can lead us in this change.”

And if I could, I would. I can shine the light in my corner of the world, the Internet, the human collective. I can turn you on and get your brain working on how you, yes you, can use your power of one to make a positive change.

As I said last post, we can do it together.

Thank you all for the phenomenal response to the blog I posted on Appalachia last week. Rich are those who know they are blessed. And, in case you’re wondering, I got my $600.99 back. Chalk one up for the good guys…

4 Responses

  1. Patti Miller says:

    Great blog. I remember A. Leonore and the white sugar, brown sugar and Colby and Luke are exactly the same. Both are amazing and different in ways, but alike in many others, just like your brothers. Hearts of Gold , all of them. Love them all so much. Thanks for reminding us about the children in Africa and other places who need our help. Your blog gives us faith that one person can make a difference!

  2. Julie says:

    Erin, when I first looked at that top picture of the boys, I seen your grandpa Bernard looking back at me in Luke’s eyes! He does look like him, old blood coming thru in this new life. Loved this blog as always. And, there are so many good causes out ther, just not enough good, caring people. So, we each have to do what we can to help those that we can. Thanks for sharing your life on these blogs, I love them!

  3. Luann Sheets says:

    Erin, I love reading your blogs and they are so energizing.I feel a sense of renewed energy to do everyday something for someone just because I can.This blog as with others, keeps the flame burning for me to stay on it. I am proud to be your aunt and I so hope you are coming to Camp Hervida so mom’s great grand children can put on a display for her to see from heaven, we have so much to share and learn from our kids and they from each other.

  4. Jessica Yost says:

    Love this! Brought back memories of my sister and I. My mother always called us cocoa and butter. A good reminder to celebrate and love our differences. You make beautiful children:)

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