About Mattie’s Life & Legacy

Posted on: May 3rd, 2012 by jeni No Comments

Your Messages… 

About Mattie’s Life & Legacy

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July 2016
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I learned from Jeanne Volk (a friend in Miami, FL). She is  a friend who loves and supports Mattie and his sweet service dog whom Jeanne has named her own dogs after. Jeanne works tirelessly in Miami, to save abandoned and escaped dogs. Currently, she is busy saving and caring for, and loving dearly, a beatific dog who was so mistreated and neglected thst his front paw is almost useless. Jeanne wakes early, every week-morning, and takes this dog for all sorts of rehabilitation classes. Jeanne’s heart is so big — she also helped to save my life… Jeanne promotes Mattie’s life and work, also. She is such an amazing woman. I am very glad just to know her…
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I guess the above says it all. I am so happy to join with others in the very valuable work towards peace which Mattie began in his short life, and which continues in his name. I watched as many videos as I could about him, last night, and I cried and praised him and his amazing mother, as well as the sweet family who took him in… I was reminded of what a beautiful world we live in, and I am so happy to support these continuing efforts, as a fellow young poet for life… — Elise Baracos, Florida (Poet)

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June 2015

 

 

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Hi Jeni! After we left Mattie’s Park and your home in Rockville, MD, we traveled to a camp ground in Fairfield, PA. When they showed us to our cabin, it was named Tree of Peace and a Peace Pole was right outside the door. We were sure Mattie put them there!! – Lisa Bachman, Ohio (mother of 2015 WAFF Global Teen Leader Justin Bachman – “Live Loud”).

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Five years ago, we celebrated the world premier of “Heartsongs” – a choral composition combining lyrics by Mattie J.T. Stepanek with music by Joseph Martin. More than 100 children from youth choirs across the United States gave voice to this performance in Carnegie Hall in New York City, under the direction of Stephen Roddy, and hosted by Iris Dierke and Jonathan Giffith of DCINY (Distinguished Concerts International New York).
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A message from composer Joseph Martin on the five year anniversary of this event:

What a night! It was such an amazing journey composing that piece and spending time with Mattie’s inspiring words. Thank you for sharing this and starting my Monday morning off with such a feeling of hopefulness. Big hugs from Texas! — Joseph Martin (Director of Church Music Publications at Hal Leonard Corporation & Director of Publications at Shawnee Press)

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May 2014

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Jeni, I hope you are well and thriving. A dear woman from my prayer family at the SESC (Southeastern Spiritual Conference) sent out a poem to friends a few days ago. So much of the poem reflects Mattie’s impulses toward what is simple, deep, and true. And the poem ends with Mattie’s last word, “Yes.”  I’m sending the poem to you in honor of Mattie’s legacy, coming up soon to ten years in the making. And I’m sending you a hug–as a fellow mother, woman, seeker, artist, peacemaker, story-maker, and buoyant participator in Life.

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Now and then I say a prayer for you, for Mattie, for all your lovely family of peacemakers; more frequently, I hold the image of that beautiful heart–the one Mattie drew over so many pictures–his heart, beating a steady, inexorable beat, sending its radiant light and laughter into all the places it needs to be. Bless you and Mattie. Bless all the precious gang, and no less Micah, in my life. — ((hugs)) — cate (via e-mail)

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Remembering Mattie, and his message of peace
– from your friends at Harley-Davidson
and the MDA Ride for Life.

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February 2014

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“Mattie” — Jeanne Volk’s new rescue dog.

 

“Mattie” — rescued by Jeanne Volk, and named in honor of peacemaker, Mattie J.T. Stepanek.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In honor of my hero, Mattie Stepanek, and his service dog, Micah, my new rescue puppy will be renamed “Mattie.” The name Mattie is of German origin. The meaning of Mattie is “mighty in battle”.  It is also of English origin, where its meaning is “gift of God”. She will be eventually trained as a therapy dog for visiting children’s hospitals. The name came to me this morning in a “coincidence” and I knew right away it was meant for her… Mattie Stepanek was a peace poet and had the most beautiful heart and soul. He wrote the Heartsongs books. He passed away in 2004. There is now a beautiful Peace Park that bears his name in Rockville, Maryland, where Jeni (his mom) still lives. – From Jeanne Volk (via Facebook)

 

 

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October 2013

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You and your son have provided inspiration for many people throughout the world. We continue to listen to the music from “Heartsongs” arranged by  Joseph Martin. He truly caught the spirit of Mattie and his writings. I especially appreciate that his arrangement can be shared with young people so that a new generation can be inspired by Mattie’s ‘heartsongs’.

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We now have many of Mattie’s books on CD  and listen to  them when were driving.  What a joy and a peace comes over me to simply hear Mattie speak. Such a special Messenger from God!!  His poems will continue to provide inspiration to us and others, something that is so desparately needed in this world.  Through Mattie we can  learn to listen to our Heartsongs, to celebrate and respect our differences, and to live  together in peace–’just peace’.

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Thanks again for being such an incredible mother to Mattie and for being willing to share the gift of Mattie with us and the world.  Blessings and God’s love be with you. — Bob & Rose Ann

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September 2013

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I’m making this TREE OF LIFE, which is basically a tree with all the names of God.. In front of it i’m putting a sign about Mattie and the time I met him in the Hospital… I’m sure his Mom Jeni remembers me. Maybe this can help get Mattie’s message of peace out around the world.. Sincerely, — Pj Coker via e-mail

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(Click on image to enlarge)

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If you have never heard of Mattie Stepanek, I highly suggest listening and learning about this kid, because he knew how to really live life. This is just one part of an amazing interview between Mattie and Larry King. Trust me, it’s worth a watch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmNGR8Yq_kU – Jillian Strong via Facebook

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Hi Mattie’s Mom.  ”Benzz” was inspired by Mattie  Love and hugs, – Weely Wheelchair and friends via Facebook. 

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Thinking of Mattie while watching the MDA telethon…I know you are watching down from heaven. – Michele Borton via Facebook 

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July 2013

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Jeni Stepanek: I’m on Midwest time with about one minute to spare. I thought about you and Mattie Stepanek all day today. I often think about how lucky I was to work on his two books before my transplant. He inspired me so much, and so do you. “Choose to inhale…do not breathe simply to exist.” -Mattie J.T. Stepanek – Rebecca Murray

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Mattie touched/touches me to my core, as I know he’s done to so many others! What an awesome human being. – Wendy Thrasher

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April 2013

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Mattie is such a inspiration After reading his book, I named my company after his last word. “Yes.” — Yes Electric. When people ask me how I came up with that name, they just opened a door for me to tell them about Mattie. – David Murrell via Facebook

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March 2013

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I was thinking about Mattie today. I don’t know why but every now and then he pops into my head… Anyway, this is something I wrote for my Environmental Education class at Northland College and I think that this is how Mattie feels now… Just want to share this with you. I hope your day is amazing! – Cassie Brown via Facebook

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I want to live where I really belong, so let me walk in beauty. Let me be free, waking up every morning in a new place, watching the sun rise across many different horizons. Let me walk the many trails, never sure of where I’m going, knowing only that adventure awaits around every corner. Let the wind swirl around me, let me hear the song of the trees, learn the lessons hidden in each leaf, in each rock, let my soul fly free as it once did… Shhhh! Listen to the wind. You can hear it! You can feel it, smell it, taste it! Out here only you are your greatest enemy. Out here there is outstanding peace and understanding. Out here there is freedom…

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I want to live where I really belong, so let me walk in beauty. Let me run into the sun at the end of the day, my silhouette melting into the horizon. Let me sleep under the stars with the moon keeping watch over me as the northern lights dance away my fears. Let the earth touch my feet, let me hear the song of the river, learn the ways of the wolf, the bear, the eagle, let my soul fly free as it once did… So as life fades away as a fading sunset I think about my adventures, my fears, those small ones that seemed so big, I think about all the vital things I had to reach and yet there is only one great thing… the only thing you need to see… The great day that dawns and the light that fills the world. 

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December 2012

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I’m deeply touched by Mattie, by you, by the work of the Foundation. I have paused so many times over Mattie’s “Final Thoughts” on pages 205 and 206 of his Reflections book. And his final word, ‘yes,’ is so profound in its acceptance not simply of what was immediately before him, but in a bigger way. We have to say yes to all the indignities of our lives. All this learning, this growing into our truly human shoes, it’s such a difficult business. And this one word, yes, is bowing our heads to that Force, that Life, that is always working inside our beings, working its Spirit through and with us. When we can truly say yes, and I have not yet learned to say yes, then we become Peace. — Cate Viscusi

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My two daughters and I have followed Mattie and have all his books.  His photo stays on my fridge.  We share him and his message every chance we get.  The girls are now 18 and 20. We love his songs too, he lives on in our playlist.  I often think of Mother Jeni a true super heros and role model….<3  Your light has touched mine…..can’t wait til we meet up again. — Bobbi Dugas (Mattie’s Peace Network)

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November 2012

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You have been a very great inspiration to my mother and this family. I want to thank you for all your time and thoughts and feelings. You are brave. And we all will be together in heaven someday. – Catherine Vinson (via Mattie’s Peace Network)

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September 2012

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You are a wonderful, delightful and warm person and I receive your message of love with great delight. I just saw you on Oprah, (I missed the original episode) and I really appreciate your words of wisdom. God bless you!!! – Emma J. Sanders (via Facebook)

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August 2012

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Mattie inspired our Mom and our family as she fought Lou Gehrig’s disease. Heartsong books brought joy to her and all our lives. Thank you Mattie for being our angel and inspiration. — Lisa Carlson Allision (via Facebook)

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Just got done watching TV Guide’s Top 25 Oprah Moments. What a beautiful reminder of what an amazing soul Mattie was. Mattie knew that he was on this Earth for a very special reason and he took full advantage of it. I’m so thankful he was able to spread his message of peace and love with all of us. ♥ – Erica Jenkins (via Facebook)

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July 2012

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If you look at the perfection of a raindrop as it falls into a lake and then watch its ripple effect….. that’s Mattie and the love he left the world. He was a special gift from God. I can only imagine how much you miss him, Jeni. His life reflected the joy of Christmas and the hope of Easter. You stay in my prayers. – Dorie Holloran Kelly (via Facebook)

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This boy changed the way I see myself :) –Shahinda (via Facebook)

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Hardly a day passes by without reflecting the works of Mattie Stepanek and his impact on ordinary human beings today I would like his poems distributed all over the world or composed into song for our future generations. — Mike Waweru Mwangi (via Facebook)

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I pray that one day I get to meet this angel in heaven! — Lori Russell (via Facebook)

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I know and understand how it is really difficult and sometimes dangerous to be in these days a peacemaker — to open new bright ways in life and change bad dark side inside us, give to all people hope with same chance to have power or believe –wings- to really do something…  Especially for boy -child- who have a lot barriers and difficulties in his life… and in same time also don’t forget to think about big amazing noble purpose  and others’ problems. Wow, for me this is a really Big Man!!… I think true real noble and the price of the person – his soul’s honor – isn’t aged or years, culture with belief, faith, distinctions, a nationality, the size of the capital (how much money he have) yet in the what he is making  and does for others, in its thoughts, intentions, acts, actions and his possibility to a choice – freedom of choice. We don’t have a life to make just evil, hurt others, offence and crimes. Sometime we respect and we sing of adult hypocrites, adventurers, speculators, swindlers and we close eyes to daily constant examples of the original advantage and courage of simple children around the world. Also we can not find in themselves courage to admit our share of fault and responsibility for all what happen- occurs- around. So let everyone just ask itself who I am… I was assured that the true real peace can is based only on sincere friendship, mutual understanding with more respect between different people and to make it people don’t need to broking or destroy each other. Oh, I am not great politic, not rich famous person, never be a perfect.  I am just  try don’t forget little simple things, think  what we do in the life, how, for who and why, and to do something. Remember that the life is great gift for all who understand and respect that, and can make great things for others. And our possible to thanks it will be just the best most great gift. If the all people have a dream so my dream to see the our world with life to be a better. Why and how? Oh, humanity try explain that and  find with search for answers many century. How I can do that in one letter and  alone :-) We must work together. God bless you.– Ahmed, Yemen (via e-mail)

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Whenever I am feeling down… I think of you and your son Mattie… Strength and courage is the definition of Stepanek. – Nancy Maynard (via Facebook)

May 2012 

Love you, Mattie. I know you are spreading your wisdom in Heaven. –Laura F. (via Facebook)

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I saw this little guy on a news special years ago. I will remember him always. He defines an “old soul”. He forever changed the way in which i view the world. He had such empathy, grace and love. God could not have made a more perfect child in him image. He is surely an angel who was sent here to save people from themselves. And he did. I know his words will echo thru my mind even after i’ve gone grey.– Brandy W. (via Facebook)

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My name is Melanie, I am 22 years old and was born just a few months before Mattie. I wanted to let you know that today Mattie gave me hope. For the past few years now I have struggled with intense knee pain which has kept me from University…. I have had Cerebral Palsy all my life… I spend long hours alone while my family is off at school or work and Mattie’s story helps to inspire me when I need it…. I bought your book in my local book store the other day. In less then a day I have nearly finished it. I had always wondered what Mattie’s life was like beyond that of his poems and was thrilled to get the oppertunity to read about someone I consider to be a role model for my own life. I think of Mattie and you often and wish you the best in all things. I hope one day that our paths will cross. Peace, Melanie. – Melanie M. (via Facebook)

My life is not the same since I learned about Mattie. Mattie inspired me to be better, to find my own Heartsong. Because of him I want to live the life in a way that represent the higher me. Every time I watch him speak in a video clips, I can’t stop crying. Not because I am sad, but because i am over whelmed from the pure hearted boy. My body can’t contain my emotions and the tears are just running. Thank you Jeni for bringing to this world such an angel. Thank you Jeni for carrying his message. I never met you, but i feel such deep love for you both.Mattie will be in my heart as long as I live. THANK YOU. – Shira, Israel (via Matttie’s Peace Network)

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April 2012

From the very first time I heard Mattie speak, he would leave me in awe. His words were as if they were being spoken by and Angel specifically sent here by God. Then it dawned on me. He truely was a Heaven sent Angel. His beautiful outlook on life and the value there of was amazing. Suddenly all the things I seemed to be complaining about in my life seemed so petty and unimportant. Even today when I feel overwhelmed with the way this world is, I pick up one of Mattie’s books or watch video clips and I instantly feel so much better. Even though Mattie is no longer of this world, I have introduced him into the lives of my children. He is the perfect example of how every human being should exist. Even though I have never met him in person, knowing that he is with our Heavenly Father, I truely do miss him. I know he has a special place in Heaven and I pray that I can be as good of a human being as he was. Thank you so much for continueing to expose this world to Mattie because it truely needs more of him.–  Jessica Padilla, Corpus Christi, TX (via e-mail)

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My 49 y.o. brother-in-law Joe was just diagnosed with a rare form of non-hodgekins lymphoma. It is not curable and we are waiting for a treatment plan. I am praying to Mattie for his intercession. I will copy Mattie’s picture an give it to my brother-in-law. If there is a prayer to Mattie that has been written, please let me know. Perhaps one of these days we can meet up at Mattie’s memorial. I live in Potomac, MD. Please remember Joe in your prayers. Blessings, James. – James B. (via Facebook)

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December Spotlight

In-Kind Support

Celebrating our "in kind" sponsors and advocates -- who support Mattie's Foundation with services and materials. Thank you ezStorage, Montgomery Printing, Parcel Plus, and Potomac Valley Brick! Read more...

Nourishment Support

Celebrating our "nourishment" sponsors and advocates -- who support Mattie's Foundation with food and services. Thank you Botanero Restaurant, Fontina Grille, Safeway, Coffee Republic, and Red Hot & Blue! Read more...

Community Support

Celebrating our "community" sponsors and advocates -- who support Mattie's Foundation with commitment and participation. Thank you City of Rockville, King Farm Citizen's Assembly, Kick's Karate & Mix 107.3! Read more...

Champion Support

Celebrating our "Foundation Champions" -- sponsors and volunteers of all ages who support Mattie's Foundation through donations, brick sponsorships, participation in our activities and events. Thank you!!! Read more...

- Mattie J.T. Stepanek