Abbie’s Family


At the beginning of this journey:Vara Kids

May 2004

Abbie has four very proud big brothers. Chase is 13, Kyle is 11 and her twin brothers RJ and Matthew just turned 7. Her cousin Crystal, who is 16, came to live with us in April of this year. We educate our kids at home, and the time that we have been able to spend together seems especially precious now.

Abigail is the little light of our family, always providing adventure and comedic relief for all the taller people in her house. She was named “Abigail” because it is Hebrew for “Father rejoices”, and we knew if God gave us a girl that we ALL would rejoice. Her middle name is Faith, because, well, after four brothers….but we are now reclaiming that middle name in the spirit of Hebrews 11:1, that faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

We have lived here in Honolulu for two years now, and this is truly home. There is, of course, the natural beauty but what really makes Hawaii special is the people. As we have often said, they are beyond “nice”, they are kind.

As you can probably see from this site, we are believers in and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even through, or perhaps especially through this trial, His goodness and mercies are new every morning, and He is keeping all His promises.

Vara Family

The Vara Family Ray, Tiffany, Chase, Kyle, Mathew, and RJ. Abbie was busy playing.


And now:



Chase, with RJ on Lake Cle Elum, July 2011

Abbie’s eldest brother, Chase, is a junior at Santa Clara University, where he is a finance major and an Army ROTC cadet. The responsibilities he carried and the maturity demanded of him after Abbie’s injury prepared him to excel when faced with challenges  and to never take anything for granted.  We are so proud of him!


Kyle, March 2011

Abbie’s “Bubby”, Kyle, left home a month ago to begin college at Seattle Pacific.  The qualities in him that drew Abbie to always go to him first thing in the morning blossomed in high school when he volunteered every summer at our church’s children’s camp. As one adult volunteer put it, “All the teenagers are good with the kids, but they congregate by themselves at lunch.  Kyle stays with the kids, letting them crawl all over him.”   Although he is a business major, I suspect God may have plans for Kyle and kids in the future.


RJ and Panda, Easter 2011

RJ is the “older” twin (by 15 minutes).  A high school freshman this year, he enjoys being a slotback on the football team, and hanging out with the crew of buddies that are becoming part of our family.  When Chase left for college, RJ was teasing me a bit about being sad, and reminding me this was only the beginning of the goodbyes.  He said, “Yea…but wait until Abbie goes away to college, then you will REALLY be sad, because all your children will be gone.”  I carry those words, motivated by a love that sees beyond a broken shell, in my heart to bring smiles on a rainy day.


Matt, taking a break during a scrimmage, Oct 2011

Matt is the resident comedian in our family…just ask any of his teachers.  He also enjoyed playing football this year (cornerback….he and RJ have been opposites since the day they were born.)  He is fond of reminding me, when Abbie has a big breakthrough or accomplishes something amazing, that HE was the one, on the night we decided to discontinue life support, who stood by her bedside, looked up at the monitor and said, “If her heart is beating 108 times a minute all by itself, I don’t see why she can’t get better!”  He now tells Abbie, “I have always believed in you!”

Ray and I have been blessed in the years since Abbie’s injury.  That may sound  delusional, but I mean it with every shred of my soul.  If God allowed, we would change the events of May 3, 2004 in a heartbeat.  But, more and more we realize how much would be lost in that transaction.  Learning from the perseverance, faith and resilience of one little girl.  Being humbled by the stunning generosity and grace of people, some  of whom we share our lives with,  some we know by name, and some we many never know.  Tracing the hand of God in our lives, feeling His strength carry His broken-hearted children. Realizing this is the anteroom, a chamber of waiting.  Even the hardest of days is divine preparation for the unfathomed joy awaiting.  These deep waters have fused our hearts in ways inconcievable when we had a “normal” family.  We laugh, we dance, we dream together.  We are blessed.