The Many Faces of JoJo

The Girl that will Capture Your Heart

February 2013

Rafael & Johanna Rose Arteaga

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

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"It is easier for a father to have children than children to have a real father."

~ Pope Paul XXIII



"Some say our destiny is as much a part of us as we are of it. Others say fate is woven together like a cloth, so that one's destiny intertwines with many others. It's the one thing we search for, or fight to change. Some never find it. But there are some who are led"

....... Disney movie Brave. (She has made me see it FOUR TIMES ALREADY!)

~ Rafael A Arteaga

August 24, 2012


"Don't Sweat the Small Stuff"


... and it's all small stuff...

Lesson Publix today, just picked up the kids, I was tired and of course the store was busy and not enough help...My daughter, who knows this lesson, and who LOVES TO SHOP, was greeting everyone in the store! HI! She said to everyone she saw!! Thanks to the 99.9% that responded back! At the checkout, my tenacious little girl kept trying to greet a man who kept ignoring her. I finally led my daughter away telling her to leave that man alone. Well he commented that it was about time someone came and "shut this stupid girl up!".....I momentarily forgot I was a Christian and went up to this "gentleman" intending to see "what his problem was"......My daughter grabbed me and said, "SORRY DADDY.... I LOVE YOU" I had to pick her up (no easy task anymore) and just hold wasn’t her fault...she just knew this lesson ...and I just needed to remember that MY KIDS are the BIG STUFF....THE REST?'s all small stuff ...Thanks JOJO for the reminder......still... it would have felt good just to "remind" that person that she still HAS a Dad....

~ Rafael A Arteaga

March 17, 2010



"I am NOT perfect, but I will be there for you!"

February 12, 2000 my daughter, Johanna Rose is born. The first thing the doctor attending my daughter says is, “You know your daughter has Down Syndrome, correct?”   “Downs Syndrome?  What’s that” I ask...  He goes on to say that “it is a form of mental retardation. She will not develop normally, typically won’t walk or talk till she is seven or eight and may have many issues as well.”  I was stunned!  What do I tell my wife, Sherry! Why is this happening?  In addition the doctors were having trouble stabilizing her, her breathing was not right. So the whole rest of the morning (she was born @ 4:15am) I was going between my wife who was in pain in recovery and my daughter in the Pediatric ICU.  In between, I stopped by the chapel and prayed that this was all a mistake.  My sister and father in law also joined me in praying that this was all a mistake.

After 4 or 5 days of self pity I looked at my daughter and saw that I was going to love and enjoy her as long as I could. So she went to developmental preschool, we joined the support groups and I (we) learned to be parents again!  Yes, she was in the hospital a lot. I took her to the majority of them. I held her down while they took blood from her, x-rayed her, put IVs in her, stuck probes down her throat. All the while she would look right at me as if she did something wrong!. We took her to evaluations for therapies, went to countless meetings to have her included in regular classes in school, all the while giving her all the meds she needed to take.

But!  I was able to somehow pay for the meds, the co-pays for all the doctors and specialists we had to see. And yes, she started to progress “in her own time.”  She walks, runs, writes on the walls. All the things kids do.  Yes we have to still give her monthly (now weekly) IV injections so she can stave off infection, but I thank the Lord every day she is with us! So were my prayers answered? YES THEY WERE!  I asked for her to be alright. And she is.

 So now, as on that first day, you knew you would never let harm come her way. Your heart skips a beat every time you look at her as you watch her sleep. You hope & pray to do everything right, although you may make mistakes along the way. You often wonder what she will grow up to be. I’m sure you will be there to always catch her if she fails because Daddy's little Angel she will always be.

~ Rafael A Arteaga

August 1, 2011


3900 Saturdays


3900 Saturdays...... Went to the movies and fixed dinner for my daughter..... I made this one count.....

"You're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It's too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital," he continued; "Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities." And that's when he began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles."

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.

Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I'm getting to the important part.

It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail," he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear.

Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life.

There's nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely daughter out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time."


An excerpt from "Charging the Human Battery"  by Mac Anderson

March 5, 2012