Monday, December 17, 2012

Mourning the precious lives lost in the Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy

An essay by Joanie Cox-Henry

"The good guys are coming...Show me your smile."  These were the powerful and heroic words of first-grade teacher Kaitlin Roig. 

On Dec. 14, Adam Lanza gathered up his mother's guns, brutally murdered her and then proceeded to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He was once a student there. He shot and killed 20 children and six adult staff members before taking his own life. The stories that are emerging about the selflessness and bravery of how the teachers inside the building acted are miraculous. I have never heard anything more tragic and detestable than what Lanza did to his victims.

The natural reaction is to scream out: How could this happen? And more importantly, why did this happen? Lanza was clearly disturbed. There are now reports surfacing from people who knew him claiming he didn't feel pain. Reports from the paint Lanza as "extremely bright but socially awkward and — until Friday — was not known as someone who was potentially violent."

Other reports have emerged stating Lanza and his mother Nancy would hit the gun range together. When you see something like the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre happen, it really does feel like the Mayans are right and the world is ending Dec. 21. For so many families, the world did end that day. 

As I look at the faces of the victims, my heart aches. Such innocent lives ended for absolutely no reason. It brings about feelings of anger and despair for everyone involved. Perhaps Lanza told his mother what he planned to do at the school that day and when she tried to stop him, he shot her in the head. We will likely never know the true reason of why the gunman did this or what was really going through his head in his final moments. But this nightmare has happened and now we are left to pick up the pieces. I encourage you to find hope in the stories of how people came together inside the school that day. Think about the miracle of 27-year-old teacher Victoria Soto, who reacted to Lanza by locking her children in a closet and telling him they were  on the other side of the school. Her body was found near the children she saved according to a report on

While it's hard to fathom, this horrific tragedy could've been even worse if not for the brave souls who sacrificed themselves to protect their students. Teacher aids Rachel D'Avino and Anne Marie Murphy also lost their lives that day shielding their students from the gunfire with their own bodies. Further reports are now emerging on the internet that  D'Avino's boyfriend planned to propose to her on Christmas Eve.

When you look at the 20 faces of those beautiful first graders who lost their lives, I see 20 angels who were instantly drawn into God's loving arms. They are all in a better place where death and violence do not exist. The only way to fight this tragedy is with prayer. Pray hard for families to fill their children with love instead of bringing an already troubled person to a gun range. Pray for God to come back into homes and hearts where he once dwelled. Pray for mercy. Pray for peace. Pray for stability. Pray for every loved one in each victim's life. Pray for families to stand by each other and be there for each other when times are tough. Pray for people to pick up a phone when they're thinking about picking up a gun and ending it all. And instead of idolizing fictional TV characters or movie stars and looking to Batman to save you, remember all the heroes inside Sandy Hook Elementary that day who have left behind a legacy of kindness and sacrifice we can all respect and learn from. 

Do not lose faith when something so tragic happens. Instead, use it to fuel hope and salvation in those of us left behind. And just as that courageous teacher told her students inside the school that day, find comfort in knowing the good guys are coming. 

Contact Joanie Cox at

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lessons from my grandfather: A poem of remembrance

Life is short, love long.
When you think you're always right, you're already wrong.
When the going gets tough, get tougher.
When the sailing is smooth, don't forget when it was rougher.
When you think no one is listening, don't be afraid to be loud.
Always be yourself; don't follow the crowd.
If you feel like giving up, don't give in to your fear.
When you think you've had enough, always persevere.
If you never take a chance, you'll never be able to grow.
And when you lose someone you love, never let them go.

By Joanie Cox ©; July 30, 2012.

Leonardo Magazzolo In Memoriam...A life well lived is a life well loved

In Loving Memory of Leonardo Magazzolo September 1, 1933-July 30, 2011. It's been a year since you went home to God. Not a day goes by that we don't all think of you. We can still hear your beautiful voice and see your smiling face. Our hearts are broken without you here, but the love you gave us is always near. We pray for the day we will see you again and we'll never stop thinking of you until then.
Published in Sun-Sentinel on July 28, 2012

Here is a video of my grandpa singing:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Where have I been lol?

Life has been super hectic for me lately but all in a good way:) Here is a filmstrip of my life the past year. I'm getting married to the wonderful man pictured (above). I became an aunt to this gorgeous little lady, Audriana. Not a day goes by that I don't think of my loving grandpa, Leonardo Magazzolo, who past away in July 2011. I'm still walking on red carpets and chasing my dreams. In between all the crazy moments, life is somehow happening to me. Every day is truly a miracle. Jesus is my everything and I also started a company with my aunt, JD Danner. It's called Bible Belt Outfitters and it's a line of Christian T-shirts and baby clothes. I'm still writing for and I also recently started a new purse blog! Check it out at Oh, and this year...I finally met Joan Jett! Life is good, God is great, family is everything and all that matters in life is waking up each day and taking a moment to be thankful for all the blessings and the chaos in between. Love the life you're living right at this moment. There are lessons in every moment, around every corner. Be kind to others. It will all come back to you...eventually.

Thanks for keeping up with me,