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Perfect Imperfection

Tonight we put up our Christmas tree, the first Ravella/Gilbert tree. Actually we have two trees. One is artificial. It is perfect. It has p...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

We are Moving

At long last Ginger and I have finished our book, "Hope Found."  A little of the back story....
When I started this blog back in 2007 my intention was two-fold: first, to take my hand-written journal entries and put them in digital form so I could have a record of the journey Andrea and I were on and second, I wanted to provide a place for our close family and friends to see how we were doing.  

Blogs were pretty new back then.  Little did I know they could be read by anyone.  I soon found that strangers from around the world would find my blog.  When I married Ginger Gilbert, my story as a widower would become OUR stories.  Over the past 10 years hundred of thousands of people have logged onto this blog from countless countries around the world. Ginger and I realized how much people desperately need to hear the Hope we found and we can all have in Christ - especially in times of heartache and suffering.  

As we continue our journey to healing we have decided to start a new website "The Anchor of Hope" based on the truths of Hebrews 6:19.  We will continue to post blogs, but also will expand options to include lots of other things we think you'll like. God continues to refine us each and every day.  Our new website is www.theanchorofhope.com.

You can order a copy of the book from our publisher WestBow Press at:


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas

9 years ago on quite possibility the most nontraditional Christmas Day ever I met a man named Jim. I only knew of him and his wife through a handful of emails but I knew his heart and that made everything ok. I never dreamt that 5 months after that Christmas dinner with a table full of his family, all strangers to me, I would be walking down the aisle to join him in penning the second volume of our lives. I have been sifting through all the photos taken last week and came across this one. Mark from TIME magazine snapped this with his cell phone. It took my breath away. While I was focused on the flag-draped casket, thinking a million thoughts about the moments that led the kids and I to that hauntingly beautiful place called Arlington National Cemetery, I didn't notice Jim standing in the distance saluting the father of his children. There are a million unspoken words in this picture. It's who Jim is. He stands on the sidelines, never demanding the attention, always thoughtful, ever serving... the ultimate wingman Troy needed for the mission his family would carry on without him. Andrea's last words to her beloved husband, Jim, as she entered the hospital doors for the last time were that she needed him to be strong now. She knew more than possibly any of us on that November 26, 2007 day. Oblivious to the Ravella family's struggles I was living 1000 miles away preparing for my one-year anniversary of Troy's death. Jim was preparing to do what he did best - to sit with and to take care of his sick wife so he could get her discharged and they could go back home and keep on living life together, in sickness and in health - but Andrea - she was preparing him for life after she was gone. Out of the rubble of two families has risen a pillar of a man - Jim. We all love you @jjravella and cannot imagine what this Christmas today would be like without that Christmas Day in '07 when we first met. You have proven your devotion to us time and time again since that crazy Christmas. But in no moment has your quiet strength and selfless love been so evident as it was this past week. I do believe Troy saluted you first. We all just couldn't see it. Merry Christmas to Jim, my favorite gift.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Introducing Hope Found

We have some really exciting news we wanted to share. For the last seven years, we have been turning our story into a book. It contains excerpts from this blog that so many of you have honored us by reading as well as the lessons we have learned on our journey. Our goal in sharing our journey is to provide HOPE to those of you in the midst of your trial or those of you supporting those you love in their pain.  On this Thanksgiving week, we are so grateful. We are grateful most of all for God’s sustaining love and incredible faithfulness in our lives. We know there is no way we could have found the peace that we have or the meaning in our suffering without His mercy and grace. We are grateful for each other and the love that we are blessed to share. And we are grateful for our family and friends that have walked this journey with us and poured out their love on our family.

We are humbled to share with you that when God placed on our hearts the vision of turning our story into a book, we had no idea where the road was going to take us. After many sleepless nights, thousands of edits, some tears and some trepidation – we are sending our book to the publisher this weekend.

HOPE FOUND will be available in April 2017. Updates will be posted here on our blog. Please pray with us that God will use it to help others find healing and hope in their situations.

With much love and gratitude,
Jim & Ginger