Monday, July 7, 2014

Thoughts of Mattie J.T. Stepanek before his Birthday Celebration

Over the past few days, I have been listening to recordings of Mattie J.T. Stepanek giving speeches to many different groups.  When I listen to Mattie, I am amazed at his beautiful spirit, his wisdom beyond his years, his strength and optimism, his connection to his purpose and his ability to communicate it to the world.  There are countless lessons to be learned from Mattie and over the next month, especially, I want to celebrate them.  If you would like to know more about Mattie, please visit the website of his Foundation which was started by his mom, Jeni Stepanek:

In 10 days, it will be a celebration of the day marking Mattie's 24th birthday.  In honor of this, a petition has been started to make Mattie's birthday, July 17th, a national day of peace.  Please visit and click to sign the petition to make this important day official!

A Peace Gathering will be held on July 19, 2014 at Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park in Rockville, MD to celebrate Mattie's life and legacy.  If you are nearby or up for the travel, please share in the celebration!

Mattie reminds me that my actions matter, that peace is possible and that we are all connected.  Here are a few of the things that I think of in my life when I think about Mattie:   

My oldest son, Michael, turned 14 this June, 11 days before the 10th anniversary of Mattie's death at the age of "almost 14".  When he turned 14, I couldn't stop thinking about the length of his life - he made it to 14!  What would Mattie have given to make it to 14?  To have another day with his Mom and his family and friends.  What would his Mom, Jeni, have given?  It was another reminder of how short and precious life is.  Mikey is starting high school in September.   The time with him under my roof is growing shorter and I need to make the most of it.

My middle son was born 77 days after Mattie's death.  His name is Mattie - it is a Catholic tradition to name children after Saints and Mattie Stepanek truly is a Saint.  We hope he is officially recognized as one so more people can learn about him and learn from his example - there couldn't be a better one to have.  He and Mattie S. are different in lots of ways (Mattie E. LOVES strawberries) and alike in others (Mattie E. is also a writer...not a poet, but not a day goes by that he doesn't write an entry in his journal, recording the events of his life).

My youngest son, John, the artist formerly known as 'JD', loves to hear poems that Mattie wrote about his little brother, Jamie.  I think because he is a 'little brother', it makes him feel good to know how much love a big brother can have for a little brother and to celebrate that through poetry.

I also remember one of my first memories of hearing Mattie Stepanek when my oldest son was 15 months old on the tragic day we remember as '9/11'.  He wrote a poem called 'For Our World' on that day at age 11.  It is one of my favorite poems, full of wisdom way beyond a child of 11 years.  You can read it here:  This poem has lessons for me every day of my life.  I find something new to think about each time I read it and it is always inspiring in different ways.

Even though we never met Mattie Stepanek, he has blessed our lives in so many ways.  We thank Mattie for all of the gifts he shared with the world and his Mom, Jeni, for continuing to share hers, including Mattie's legacy.  Happy Birthday, Mattie!  Peace IS possible!  xoxoxoxoxo

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mattie E. / Guest Blogger

              Hi, I'm Mattie,
                            I am a fourth grader that loves to be peaceful.  I am the middle child of a big brother and little brother.  I was named after Mattie J.T. Stepanek.  You can read more about Mattie at .  I just read one of Mattie J.T. Stepanek's poems called "Pirate Candy" written in April 1996.  He talks about black jellybeans.  He says black jellybeans are pirate's favorite candy because they are nice and mean. The outside is hard and crunchy but on the inside it is soft and sweet. I think Mattie is comparing pirates and black jellybeans to people who are soft and kind on the inside but don't show it because they are mean and nasty on the outside and that is all they show.  The inside of a black jellybean is like the inside of a human, soft and kind.  I think Mattie is telling us that we shouldn't judge people by how they are on the outside because everybody is soft and kind on the inside just not everybody shows it.  Everybody can be peaceful if they just try and everybody should try.  I think it is important to express how you really are on the inside because then the whole world would all be peaceful. I also think Mattie is trying to tell us that we shouldn't be like the outside of a black jellybean or a mean and nasty pirate and just be you and yourself.  In the poem Mattie includes that most people just bite through the hard and nasty stuff but Mattie is lucky because he gets to get right to the nice and soft stuff.  I think everybody should be nice and soft so everybody can be lucky and so everybody can be treated nicely.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!

As we start this new blog, we are so thankful for everyone in our lives and for all of our blessings, big and small.  One thing that we are hoping is that many people go to Mattie Stepanek's website and learn more about his life and participate in his Peace Tree and Poetry activity that is happening now!  You can submit up until December 1st.  Here is the link:

Mattie Stepanek is the inspiration for this blog and this incredible guy lives on through the work of his Mom and his Foundation and his own works that have a lasting impact in our world.  Please take some time to learn about him and be inspired.

I still have a lot to learn and am happy to have friends on the journey.

Wishing you all peace and love!