Courtney S. Barr

Welcome to My Kingdom!
Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Update - Adopting in Alabama

Adoption UPDATE:

We are waiting.

We have sent the necessary documentation to our social worker – it is truly out of our hands for awhile.

We are waiting.

We know that God already knows our birthmother, that she is loved and that we pray for her daily.

We are waiting.

It has now been one year since we began this process.

We know that it can take much longer than it already has.

We are waiting.

We understand that most people think it can just be a snap your fingers, select a child and move forward process – it rarely is.

We are waiting.

We continue to pray daily for guidance, for strength and to trust His timing.

We are waiting. 

We continue to fundraise, save and plan for this child and our family.

We are waiting.

We trust that God’s timing is perfect; this journey is one of His greatest blessings and lessons about who we are.

We are waiting.

We are grateful to every single day that we get to wake up, believing in God’s promises.

We are waiting.

It is a blessing that we have all of you praying, thinking, giving and loving for this child.

We will wait, we will see, we will rejoice.

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

-Habakkuk 2:3

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:3-4

 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Our Desires & Goals are Shaping Up

It’s never easy reaching for something that you desire so desperately, especially when you are just beginning to understand that desire…

No process, no journey is without bumps. Some bumps appear to set you back, to take you further from your goal but I’m learning that there is no ‘further from our goal’. God is not arbitrarily extending the time it takes for us to grow our family. He has perfect timing. He knows our needs and He is already worked them out. We have held two fundraisers, attended a festival as a vendor, had an art gallery showing and have been saving, building and creating towards the child He has picked out for us – all just under 11 months.

Every bit of baby “B” raising/saving goes into the costs of the process. I had someone recently ask where are the monies going, how much have we raised, how does it get separated out, aren't we further along in the process, how it works…at first I was taken aback, not understanding their tone – "Where do you think it goes?" Was the answer I started to reply, but then I remembered…almost one year ago, I had similar questions. We did not know a lot about this process when it all started. We just knew we wanted a baby, a child, a person to add to our hearts – because somehow, some way, God makes us capable of loving in great amounts – He takes what seems to be a little part of us and shows us what a true infinity means, we can love with great intent. So I took a breath, and I answered the question, truthfully, technically and spiritually. 

All of our fundraising monies goes to the fund that will, and already has some amounts paid to our agency (our home study fees, medical fees, profile fees and application fees to start with). The total contract is around $36,000.00 when everything is said and done. There is a variable – court costs can vary, travel costs can vary, possible medical fees for the child/birthmother can vary – but all in all that is our fiscal goal. This goal is important. In this world, money is needed to exchange hands, no matter how you enter this process (government or private) there will be a number you will have to raise/save. We understand that and put emphasis on its importance, yet I’m seeing that the numbers are there to draw us in, to focus us, He uses this so that we have a tangible. He knows that as humans, we look for the tangible, but He desires for us to see the other goal…

Our real goal, the one that will change our lives, change his/her life, maybe even change yours, is something that has no numeric – it is a heart, infinite in its power and beautiful in all aspects. We hope to have a heart like our savior. It is our end goal, this process; this adoption is because He called us to be here today. He laid out the groundwork, He saw the path and He placed the desire in our hearts. We never knew how desperately this desire would feel, but I felt it when I was asked the tangible question – I was defensive, but not of the context of the question – more of my emotions. Then, as I said, I remembered being uneducated in the ways of the process, being curious and skeptical of the way it is all done…then…I answered. It was truthful, full of numbers, dates, and the fact that it all goes towards the contract with the agency – none of it comes back to us, none of it will be sitting there waiting for baby girl/boy when they come home – but we are okay with that.  They tell you to get your friends/family involved – this is, for us especially, our “pregnancy period”. I love that my children will have a village who not only asked the odd question, asked about artwork, asked about buying raffle tickets, buying cooking utensils or just asked for any form of an update purely because they are excited to meet our child, that they are anxious to meet our child – what a beautiful ‘family’ he/she already has & no one has even been introduced yet. We are so grateful for every monetary donation but even more so we are beyond the limits of gratefulness for the support, love and prayers of each & every one of you. That is the intangible and it fills my soul knowing that my answer might have helped someone see the process as daunting but possible – meaning they may one day start their own or share the information with someone too scared to ask…what a gift He has shown me that this process can provide. I am grateful for every day that this desire grows...

Be truly glad, there is wonderful Joy ahead… 1 Peter 1:6

And so it was…that she, having waited long & endured patiently realized and obtained what God had promised. Hebrews 6:15

 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Trust in Him & Keep moving forward....

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart, don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go, He’s the one who will keep you on track.”

Proverbs 3:5,6 (The Message)

It’s been a few weeks. The world has turned a couple times. Newsfeeds have been full of resolutions, changes, stagnancies, deaths, births and all the events that define the lives we are living. Each day I peruse the various social media outlets that I enjoy. Instagram is my favorite – the pictures, quotes, ideas; behind it is Pinterest – there is nothing like seeing so many neat ideas, cool places to visit and recipes to indulge in; then there is Facebook – photos, articles, pictures, videos ; each one gives me various levels of happy. There are things that I have to scroll past, the articles about children being murdered, abused; animals mistreated and left to die; negative comments that pull me into a cycle of sadness and anything that causes me to be judgmental or harsh. I work hard to keep those things at bay.

I’ve learned and accepted that I am truly an introvert. That being said – if I have struggled with small talk with any of you, please know I do apologize and that it is also something I work on daily. I’m beginning to embrace the emotional parts of being an introvert, the deep connections that I attach to ideas, stories, people, pets and moments. It can be exhausting how emotional I get over things, but I love that stoic is not in my demeanor. Granted the fact that stoic usually associates with no complaining (I do complain – again it falls on the beautiful long list of work in progress personality traits) would be good – but enduring each hardship and pain without showing my feelings is definitely not my way.

All of this is to preface my current state of mind. I’m overwhelmed by the emotional difficulty I’ve had with our profile that we must create for our birthmother. Yes we answered 2000 questions and have written autobiographies. Yes we are doing physicals, bloodwork, house adjustments and mental shifts throughout this process. Yes we are fundraising, praying for financial supernatural blessings from God and doing all we can to financially provide for this process. All of that was and is draining, emotional and self-explorative – but this, this 30 page profile is the largest boulder I’ve encountered. I hit the wall with it a few weeks back. I was easily placing photos of Stable Boy M, Duchess K  and myself. Great photos, candid shots, funny shots, silly shots…I was writing blurbs about our life, our interests, some repeated from the autobiographies, some not then it happened. I printed a copy. I held it in my hands and burst into tears. These pages, these pictures are our “Sell Packet” our “Romance Copy” the information shewill hold in her hands. She  will look at this and see us – this family that is desperately wanting to be a part of her family, to raise the child she  is already so terrified to be carrying. I cannot imagine how she feels, I cannot even begin to think about how I would be, how I would see these families laid before me. I wept for her. I still do when I think about this in detail. I know that God will guide us both: me to complete this and her to love us. I trust in Him with every part of our adoption. I rely on Him with every nuance, every emotional high and low – He is my comforter. I repeat these things often and here I am typing them, because writing is part of His process He gave me to share my life and my emotions. 

I’m writing this to ask you to pray for me as I complete this packet for her. Pray that Stable Boy M and I find the words, find the way to portray who we are, to maybe give her the tiniest smidge of comfort during this time and that she somehow, some way, feels that we love her and that our request to be a family is genuine and full of all the best we have. Thank you all for keeping up with our journey, for loving us so much and for reminding me daily of the support system we have – I pray that somehow your support of us is extended to support her in this time. We will keep moving forward and excitedly work towards the family He is providing...

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

 

Monday, January 5, 2015

The First of the New Year...my Focus is on Him

From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deuteronomy 4:29
***
In this the first full week of this New Year I'm drawn to the humbling realization that 2014 was an amazing year. God blessed us immensely by the gift of His presence - yes we did a good many things, saw amazing sites, enjoyed great travels, and began a process that will lead to our family growing but it is His presence that surrounds every single moment in 2014. This doesn't mean that every single day was simply brilliant and fun and fantastic - no, there were hard times. Moments that ripped me to my core and reminded me of sadness and of loss. He didn't leave me in those moments - He became a brighter light - but its because I asked Him to, I turned to Him, I gave those moments to Him. He is always waiting on the edge, hoping I will look to Him first. I'm learning how to do that completely.

I'm giving Him 2015 -even though it is just starting. I'm laying down the walls, worshiping Him with everything I have and trusting that He will provide in His time, in His manner and knowing that His responses are the best there are. It will take understanding; it will take patience; it will take trust; it will take moments of uncertainty that reveal clarity at the most unexpected times but it will be the journey that will move me forward towards the best of things, the greatest of loves and the most amazing relationships.

I'm thankful to Him for the friendships I've made this year. For the adoption fundraising - it has been supernatural in its success and continues to be so. We have a long way to go but the path is no longer covered in mud and briers - it is clear and ready for us.

I'm honored that He has seen such a path for us. I'm honored that He believes in us just as we have faith in Him.

I'm defined by my choices and I pray that they are worthy of Him.

I'm excited about this new year, about the trials that may come up, about the blessings that will abound.

His perfect love is something I never truly knew until now. I always thought I had to live up to something, to be something more than who I am - this year I saw Him and heard Him. I am His creation - perfectly made by Him. I seek Him so that I may draw closer to Him because closer to Him reveals an eternal perspective that brings me great joy. He loves me. He loves you.

So on this first week of the first month of a new year I am focusing on Him. My praise is for Him and all that He has shown me, all that He has blessed me with - my health (even where I prayed the Why? the Why me? the Why now? the Why not me? - He was never letting go of me. He saw a better plan for me, He saw me as more than what I saw and in that truth my heart almost burst with love.);

my husband (He saw M years before we met. He saw our path. He saw the man who stood beside me when Cancer knocked, when our family path shifted, when I made stupid decisions as a twenty year old with finances, when I stumble and He still led M to love me, to want to work daily on marriage and to make a covenant relationship here on earth that is celebrated in the Heavens.);

my family (we were sent K when we had no idea how to raise a teenager; when we were questioning our abilities, when we thought we'd never have a family, He sent us the most amazing girl that we have been blessed to see become an amazing young woman);

my talents (I never, not once, not ever expected to be able to draw/write and have it bought, purchased, celebrated so that we could raise monies for our future children - we had thought we wouldn't even have children and now, thanks to God and all of you we are closer to a new reality than ever before - my heart aches on this one, the gratefulness I feel is something that makes me speechless....)

So yes, this focus is for Him. I pray for each of you, my Royal loves, that you are able to seek Him, He is there; and that in your quest you find that having Him there makes all the difference. He makes broken things beautiful, He breathes life into a weary soul and when you come alive....there is a freedom unlike any other.

Today this faith laden message is one that I will return to & I hope you do to....

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I Lean Not on My Own understanding...

“I lean not on my understanding…

my life is in the hands of the maker of heaven….”

Proverbs 3:5 

Lyric: Will Reagan & the United Pursuit “Nothing I Hold Onto”

This is a lyric…a bible verse…and my current mantra.

We have accepted that our timing is useless. We are open vessels asking to be filled with the light and love of our savior. He asks us very little, but that we give Him our worries, our burdens, our desires and most importantly our heart.

These past few weeks have been supernaturally touched. 

We cannot explain it nor will we truly try. We only hope that we continue to do what is asked with open eyes and hearts, relying on the knowledge that He will never let us fall completely to the ground, nor will He abandon us, He is always right there – waiting for us to seek Him.

I never expected to find such solace in the crazy moments of life. He never gives us more than we can handle. We often overcomplicate situations and search for the drama because we feel that is what we are supposed to do. His graciousness has been overwhelming of late. In the best way possible, I have cried, and cried and cried and cried. He has brought me to my knees and you all were there…our village is more than I imagined when we started this journey. It was a phrase I clung to because I knew that there would be days where I needed to escape in the knowledge that there were others out there, praying for us, thinking of us and acknowledging our new path – it was a sort of safety net at first. Now it is evolving, you are all actual members of our village. I see it through “likes” on facebook, through emails of encouragement, through networking of my art, through happy thoughts shared on Instagram, through our small group, through the doors that are swinging open for us to move in so many directions and by the way my heart is soaring with every morning.

I would shout to rooftops if we were in a large city – standing atop a skyscraper, arms open wide, praising His goodness. I’ve always had faith, I’ve always known He is my rock, but now He is even more…more than light, more than life, more than happiness, more than joy, more than sorrow, more than understanding – He is good. I now tell my story, my earthly story, with pride. No longer do I think about the scars on my body as ugly or a reminder of how I lack some integral part of being the girl I once was – yes I am different, but I am a masterpiece. I am not perfect to the standards that surround me daily, but for Him I am perfect, unique and so precious.  I was called out this week by a friend “How do you trust Jesus after all that you’ve been through?” In hindsight I was so surprised that I wasn’t caught off guard – I knew my answer “Because, He knows better than I do.” It rolled off so quickly and with a sense of freedom that I never knew I could feel. He loves me. He knew that we would be here, searching, seeking, discovering and relishing His gifts. He knew better.

We met with Social Worker “R” for the last interview that meets State & Federal requirements. We now have only to get our physicals and submit our dogs’ rabies history to be truly complete with the first HUGE step in all this: the Home Study. It is something that blows my mind. We are now in the step of creating our Profile. A book/summary/glimpse into who we are as a family wanting to grow. In it we will place photos, tell about ourselves and basically “sell” how awesome we are. For my dear sweet “M”, this is simple – he is ALWAYS awesome. For me, it is stumbling, I want to be as truthful as possible, that they see us for exactly who we are & in that, you catch yourself overthinking a great deal of the time. God will give me the words and they will be what we need to say – this I know. 

Learning to lean on understanding while not always understanding isn’t as simple as it probably should be. I let the world in and it confuses so much – I must guard my heart. The road ahead is crazy cool and fun and terrifying and so much more than I ever thought possible. We don’t even have this child yet and he/she is already teaching us so much. We pray for the birthmother daily, whispering to an unknown woman/girl who needs to know that she is loved, that she is a gift and that she is so much stronger than she thinks. When you think of us and you pray for us, pray for her & our child as well…they need the love that lifts and moves mountains. Please do this, my sweet and wonderful village. You lift my heart daily…please do hers as well.

Don’t be anxious about anything, but pray in everything with thanksgiving. Then the incomprehensible peace of God will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

For current Art for Adoption items please go to our Adopting in Alabama Facebook page; for custom orders please don't hesitate to contact me directly clsbarr(at)yahoo(dot)com - already you all have done so much and we can barely begin to express our gratitude...this simple thank you feels so small in comparison but know it is from the deepest part of us....

 

 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Adopting In Alabama: Autobiographies, Training, and New Perceptions...


Love them as they are, and forgive them everything.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

The past 7 days have been a whirlwind.
Last weekend we were blessed to have help from our lovely families. They gave us one of the best gifts ever…their time & their support. We had our first Home Visit this week. For those who are curious, you are required to complete a Home Study prior to adopting. This consists of either 4, 5, or 6 meetings. The reason it could be one of the three is because you might choose to combine one or two of the sessions. The sessions/meetings cover a ton of information from visiting the home, individual interviews and planning out your desired child; there is even autobiographies on each prospective parent.

For some time we have had some questions from people who hear bits & pieces about the process. My darling M addressed one question in particular in a manner that is in my opinion – perfect. We have been asked “why are you having to get the house in order and clean and rearrange for Social Worker R to visit? Its like she’s judging how you live?” So in the theme of keeping these posts utterly real, I must admit the questions are not foreign to us. We have internally thought or spoken them aloud between the two of us. But my lovely M in his wonderful perception responded Thursday to a friend “Well, I thought the same. I do still feel like we are being judged but I am beginning to understand it differently. This woman, Social Worker R, is our warrior in the trenches; she is the one sitting in the meetings, talking to birthmothers, speaking up when children will become available and gosh darn it we want her to think of us first. So if remodeling the deck, cleaning baseboards, purging clutter and finally hanging pictures on the wall that we have wanted to for months will trigger some small part of her thought process to suggest us…then we will do it and we will do it well.”

He’s right. She is our warrior.

On Thursday she inspected our little castle and we believe she fell in love with it.  She was supportive in our idiosyncrasies, those lovely personal surprises that we chose not to hide and she asked questions that made me comfortable to have her there. We talked about our story, we talked as a couple who has discovered the meaning of trial, survival, support and love. She spoke to Duchess’; learning about her hopes, dreams, and goals and also marveling at how we three look so much alike. When she left I didn’t want to vomit anymore – it was touch and go for a few days leading up to it, my nerves almost had the best of me. She spent a good 4 hours with us and it was good….we pray that she felt the same.

On Saturday we attended our first day of “training”. Going into this day we felt a little silly and thought it a bit odd to be doing a training day. We were wrong in our assumptions and we found ourselves in the midst of one of the most amazing days so far. In a quite chilly student center room we were honored to openly discuss our perception of the birthmother, the adoption and the process. About 14 couples talked among ourselves, filled out a short questionnaire and listened to social worker “R” for around 40 minutes. Then we were blessed to have in our midst a birthmother. One whose story will touch any soul and reminded us of the faces behind the varying circumstances that bring them to the decisions they make. She spoke of us praying for our birthmother. She reminded us that no matter how the birthmother came into her situation, that she is making the decision of life for her child. For that we are forever grateful. God’s presence in that room of hopeful parents was so strong. He stood there with us as we listened to her story and I know that her testimony of His love and His faith in her was a moment He always knew would happen and how wonderful it was for us to be a part of something so powerful.

We broke for lunch then continued, only now we saw 4 new couples up on the small stage. Each one has been where we are, each one has their own story of how they came to answer God’s call to be parents. Their stories have comical moments, have heart wrenching moments of loss, have terrifying moments of waiting but none of it outshines the love they share for their children and the honor they feel to experience such a blessing. We listened to their stories of open and closed adoptions. We were able to ask hard questions, to tear up when the words were too much and to smile when the feeling of love enveloped the room. We both thought we knew how we would handle the open part of our adoption – God quickly showed us yesterday that yet again, we were making assumptions and decisions without thinking of Him first.  
We now know that we want to know the birthmother if she will let us; no matter what we want her to know that we love her, that we are praying for her, that we want her to know that her child is loved even before we know him/her, that the love we have expands to her and that God loves her so very much. We don’t know what she will look like, now even more, we understand that trying to hypothesize that is useless; but we do know that she is sharing God’s greatest gift with us. We also understand that God has chosen us. That we have been entrusted to do what He loves most, that we are being moved to love a child just as Joseph was moved to love God’s only son – adoption is dear to His heart and it is His heart that we want to live within and share with those around us.

So now, we have answered a couple hundred questions on each of us – our autobiographies. On September 11 we will see Social Worker “R” again and she will take time with us individually – we will talk about those questions; because she wants to be able to share our story with the woman who is entrusting us with the child that we will all love and cherish. Once that meeting is done we will again have pages upon pages of questions to answer – these questions will pertain to the child God has for us, leading our hearts to the first of our growing family. Then we meet again in October…yes again. This next meeting will actually conclude our Home Study process. After it we will be compiling our Profile – this Profile is very important. It is literally what she will see, what our birthmother will see that will give her the smallest amount of peace that we will be who God has led to love her child. I cannot imagine that moment for her – I pray she sees us as who we are and that she loves us in all the ways she is lead to.
I’m honored to be entrusted with this task. I’m blessed to have the best partner ever in this life. I’m humbled by the grace of God and His plan for us. We are excited for the plans He has. We are terrified of the years to come but we push it away, we pull Him forward and must remember that He has shown us that trials and tribulations are gifts – are moments of education and growth that we will soon share with the most amazing child(ren) ever. Our ‘Village’ (all of you) is such a blessing – we pray for you just as we know you pray for us. Thank you; for reading a writer’s blog, a wife’s hope and a soon to be mother’s dreams…you show me hope & for that my Kingdom is brighter every day.

When you are grateful, when you can see what you have – you unlock blessings to flow in your life.

-Suze Orman

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Simple Name and I'm in Tears....

“It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll. This is how God does things.”

-Donald Miller

***

We saw so many wonderful people this past week who are excited for us, anxious for us and supporting us. To each of them we want to thank you. For asking, for caring and for listening when we simply stated “We are now waiting to be assigned a social worker…” You each smiled and said you would keep us in your prayers, for that we are forever grateful and now…

A name.

This past week all we have been doing was waiting for a name.

I have not spoken to her yet, I have no idea if she is from the area, if she is southern, if she is older, younger, blonde, brunette, African American, Caucasian, Irish, chatty, quiet…but she is one of the most important keys to the journey in front of us.

Today in my inbox was the name of our Social Worker. This woman will work closely with us throughout the adoption journey. She will be the ‘mediator’ between the birthmothers and us. For lack of a better term, she will sell us to the mother of our child just as she will sell the options of birthmothers to us. She will guide us through more paperwork, through more red tape and will be there when we get tired, when we begin to doubt or worry or fall to anxious thoughts.

This woman has a task before her. If you know me, then you understand; I want to know her. I want to be able to email, text, chat, ask, listen, learn and to make her an extended arm of our new family.

Today I cried. Sitting at my desk, glancing at the small 4 inch screen of my phone I read the words “_R_ is your Social Worker.  She will call you at the beginning of next week.” (She’s out of town this whole week so another 6 days will pass, but the lump that had grown in my stomach as we waited for the announcement of our Social Worker is now gone, replaced by another new acknowledgement.)

Life just got very real.

I thought the last adoption entry was where it all began, but I believe I need to just resign myself to accepting that things will begin and begin and begin and begin, over and over and over. Each day of this journey is new for us. Each layer of the process is something that we have never encountered – we are constantly learning, listening, wondering and praying.

So today, on our sweet dog Snickers’ first birthday we will celebrate the rescue puppy that expanded our hearts and as we love on him tonight our minds will wander to the sweet face that will one day celebrate alongside of us, laughing as we play outside, tossing toys and treats and enjoying the memories, because today we just got another step closer to our child.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

What a blessing my Heavenly Father has given me in my earthly father....

  • "My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."
    -- Clarence Budington Kelland, U.S. Writer

He continues to do so and I'm blessed to see so much of Heavenly Father in him.


Now more than ever before I look back on parenting, my own parents, my friends parents and my how my siblings parent. In each group I treasure the moments I've been allowed to share with them. As we continue this process to expand our family, to become parents of our children I find that every day brings emotion to my life...worries, excitement, anticipation and delight because of the examples I was given. I pray that God continues to bless our family, that we continue to seek His guidance and that we will always walk in the footsteps he has laid out for us as we begin this new journey. It is days like today that bring me even closer to God...


Today is a day that reminds me of so many moments in my life...days where I curled up next to his side, pressed against him letting my eyes close and my heart rest as he protected me from whatever nightmare slipped in; Christmas mornings curled up on his lap as he helped me break through every plastic barrier, crazy twist tie and annoying cardboard box that was in place around She-RA, Barbie, My Little Pony or the newest Cabbage Patch doll - he would pull out a tool, one filled with mechanisms and simplify the process- amazing me with this single ability to always have the right thing to help me. As I got older the lap seemed to grow smaller so I resigned myself to laying against his side, head on his chest and arm over his belly. His beard has always been scratchy on my cheek and his laughter has always made me grin. 


I always felt he was mine and mine alone, even with 3 siblings, I am the baby so of course he's mine...but then we would travel...to Omaha to see family, stopping in Kansas or Oklahoma - a random convenience store for a "mom break" (bathroom of course) and almost every time, all around the country from Any town in Bama to Orlando to Omaha to St. Louis to Okoboji to Denver we would run into someone who knew him...yes knew my father. It would baffle all of us and in time be a trait that taught me so much. These people were glad to see him, they would run over, slap him on the back and reminisce about whatever "last time" together they shared. He always met them with a smile, a handshake and a simple how is your family? He always remembered their name, their loved ones and some detail about their life that automatically took a chance meeting of a acquaintance into the realm of finding an old friend. To this day I'll never forget the kindness he's taught me, the ability to smile even when aggravated about something else, the hospitality he always shows...thanksgivings at our house were full: hunters, state troopers, local cops, game wardens, random travelers...I learned about welcoming your home to those less fortunate, those who may have more than you and to open your heart to all walks of life from puppies, to kittens and beyond. His heart always has room to give and love. He taught me to love how things work, to be curious about mechanical issues, to never let my mind quit wondering "how", "why" and "what can I do to help". He made my sweet Marcus always feel like family, from the first non date dinner to the first real date dinner at home, where a boy sat across from a man and grinned as he was invited to "chew on the bone of a T-bone steak" forever cementing a bond that still brings a smile to my husbands face. I am never afraid when I'm with him, I know he is strong in body, mind and heart. God have me earthly parents who are beyond words, beyond description and beyond measure. I am my best because of them and the love I hold in my heart is strongest because they love me. 


I am grateful for my family, I'm humbled by their love and today I cherish moments beside a mountaintop, hours walking through the woods, weekends along creek beds, rambling on four wheelers, a bearded man sitting cross legged having a tea party with a girl and her dolls, afternoons talking sports, days on end of squishy belly pillows and scratchy chin kisses. He is where my broad shoulders come from - strong enough to carry my future children, where my stubbornness joins the same gift from mom making me ambitious and annoying at times, He is where I get my love of animals, my desire to help and my compassionate heart. He is my first hero, the one who taught me to hug with all my might and the man I looked for in the man I married - I treasure the phrase "sometimes you marry someone just like your father" and the man my own husband continues to treasure as another father in this great life. I thank you Heavenly Father for supplying me with an example of your love in all the earthly ways possible, He is exactly who I need and who I know my own children will love for all the same reasons and then some...I love you daddy...

Happy Fathers Day!