Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cole: I Love You To The Moon and Back - MY REVIEW & GIVE AWAY!!

“Hug a little tighter. Love a little longer.”

I will never forget these words, nor the story that brought them into my life: Cole…I love you to the Moon and Back. In the Fall of 2008 the lives of the Ruotsala family was devastated with the news that their precious, three-year-old son had a rare and vicious type of cancer. What began as a “owie” in his tummy, was soon revealed to be a tumor the size of a man’s fist. Cole’s father, Aaron journaled this eight week journey into the world of childhood cancer on a caring bridge web page that drew thousands of hits an hour during the entire course of Cole’s battle. This journal has now been fleshed out into a book that will change hearts and lives for all eternity.

I chose the audio-book of Cole’s story, and I have to say it was the most powerful testimony to God’s amazing grace I’ve ever heard! Cole’s father read this story himself…and to hear the pain in his voice…to realize the depth of suffering his family faced, journeyed through and now live with…it was both heartbreaking and amazing! I cried many times throughout this story. No, I sobbed many times throughout this story. Sometimes it was in sadness, but most often it was because of the powerful, humble, thankful testimony of this precious, precious family. If you read/listen to this story there is no way in the world that you will ever doubt the amazing grace, strength and forgiveness that God pours out on His children ever again! Even in the most dire, painful and broken circumstances, God is THERE! In this instance, He showed himself mighty through the faith and angelic smile of a three-year-old boy as he faced life’s final battle. Cole Ruotsala’s testimony has changed thousands of lives already, and will continue to do so for years to come!

Cole’s journey left an eternal impact on the Ruotsala family, and they have created the C.O.L.E. foundation in honor of their son and as a way to pour out God’s blessings on other families facing similar trials. During the time of Cole’s illness, it was the encouragement, prayers and loving testimony of others – many of them strangers – that buoyed them up during these very dark days. The C.O.L.E. foundation – Caring Openly, Loving Eternally – seeks to return this blessing to others by pairing up families with prayer warriors as the sit by their child’s bedside. In addition to prayer, the foundation even reaches out with meals and other gifts that encourage and strengthen families during this very trying and heartbreaking trial. Lives are being changed, and God is being shown in a mighty way through this nationwide network, and now we all have a chance to participate in something with eternal impact…because Cole Ruotsala made a way in the hearts and lives of his parents.

Oh reader! If you don’t read anything else this year, please, go today and pick up a copy of Cole…I Love You to the Moon and Back. When you finish this amazing book, visit the COLE foundation’s website at http://www.colesfoundation.com/ and learn how you can become a prayer warrior and encourager to another family facing the battle against childhood cancer. Be prepared for you heart to ache a lot along the way, but then be prepared to rejoice in the mighty love, grace and strength of your Heavenly Father! He is making a way for you to be hands and feet to a family fighting a grave battle, and there is much to look forward to!

I can’t wait to meet Cole Ruotsala in heaven one day! I hope to meet his entire family and thank them for sharing such a powerful and beautiful story about their courageous and precious little boy! My prayer is that I will now go forward and Hug a little tighter. Love a little longer….every single day of my life!

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A FREE COPY OF THIS AUDIOBOOK, LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST TO BE ENTERED IN A GIVE-AWAY! I will choose a winner on Tuesday, March 9th! Thank you to Debbie at Sidedoor communications for this give-away!

*The printed book is only available on-line (Amazon, B&N ect...) or via the Cole's Foundation website. The audiobook is more widely available.

An Interview with Aaron Ruotsala:
Aaron, in September of 2008, your three-year-old son, Cole, passed away. Share with us about Cole.

Cole was a beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little boy who always loved to be by our side. He was the kid that would “Be There” when you cleaned the garage, mowed the lawn, sat on the steps, or when you would need someone to hug. Never in your wildest dreams would you expect a child to get cancer, especially your child. Then it happened, July 24th 2008, Cole was diagnosed. We watched him go through endless rounds of chemotherapy, surgery after surgery, and container after container of pain medications. He was battling a monster called Adreno-Cortical Carcinoma, a cancer which proved to develop a tumor the size of a gallon ice cream jug and which quickly spread to his liver, lungs, spleen, and inferior vena cava. However despite his battle his heart proved to display a greater amount of “Love” than I think I could ever give.

You received a groundswell amount of support during those eight weeks when Cole was sick, many stories of which you include in your book. What happened when word of his diagnosis spread?

The word of an innocent child battling for his life quickly spread from Cole’s family, to his community, and ultimately around the nation and world. The messages began pouring in…messages of hope, encouragement and prayers. Cole’s life and story began to be a living testament of the true values of life. Displaying what truly is important…with everyone realizing that through this child we are all able to search our hearts and lives and determine what truly is important. To understand that no one is guaranteed another day, as in Cole’s life he was only 3.

Cole, sadly, lost his fight against cancer. How has his death changed you and your family’s life?

Death- The word in itself is scary. The word with understanding is something that removes fear.

Through the death of Cole I can no longer fear death. In fact I look forward to it, because of this… Our pastor mentioned at Cole’s funeral, ”you can’t loose someone or something if you know where that someone or something is.” Because of Jesus Christ and God’s love for me, I now am able to rest knowing that this life is not our home! One day we will be together again! We didn’t lose Cole in September of 2008.

After Cole died, you and your wife, Moireen, started a foundation in memory of Cole that now provides support to other families facing similar crises. Can you tell us a bit about COLE’s Foundation?

The mission of the COLE Foundation is simple: To provide outreach and support to the families of children facing cancer and create a public awareness of the needs and challenges faced by those families. The foundation focuses on developing programs of support services to provide families facing medical challenges. These programs include our Adopt- A- Family program which currently sponsors over 1200 children across the United States and abroad. It also includes individual programs like Send-A-Smile that focuses on bring a smile to a child through gifts and care packages.

You work with thousands of families who are battling life-threatening illnesses with their children, primarily cancer. What are some practical ways that people can support a family who is going through something of this magnitude?

The Internet provides a perfect and marvelous vehicle for individuals to send hope and encouragement through messages. It is absolutely amazing how much support a typed message can leave for families. Simply log on to Cole’s Foundation (www.colesfoundation.com) and visit the children’s Web sites who are facing unbelievable circumstances. On their Web sites, you are able to leave messages and prayers for families.

Through your ministry, you probably see a lot of death. How can we reach out to a family who might have recently lost a child or another loved one?

One of the programs we focus on is called Healing Hearts. It is specifically designed to minister to families who have lost children. Volunteers are always needed and your monetary support is welcomed in order to continue to send them baskets of love.

You and your wife know the Lord, and found your faith to be a great source of support when Cole was sick. What hope can you offer others going through a crisis, whether it’s a health crisis, a financial crisis or a devastating death?

Trust in the promises of God! He tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us! That’s a promise He has given to everyone of us. We can completely trust in that and know that regardless of what circumstance we are in He will always be there for us. We just need to do our part! If we seek Him we will find Him, if we knock the door will be opened unto us! Trust in Him and keep your eyes focused on the Lord!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Without the hope that is given to us in Jesus Christ this would have been almost too much to bear. I’m not saying it was easy but what I am saying is that with the knowledge of Jesus Christ we are able to live day to day!


Mocha with Linda said...

I LOVED this book! My review is posted today as well. I always enjoy reading yours!

jmartcougar said...

Hello what a wonderful premise and blog Support Christian Books! God Bless

Jackie S. said...

I would love to have this audio! Please enter me. Thanks!!!

Anne-Marie T said...

Please enter me in the giveaway.
I can not image what this family went through.


Carmen said...

It would be a privilege to hear your story about Cole. Please enter me.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Kim said...


Please be watching for my email!!

Anne-Marie T said...

Thank you. I have sent you my address.