I want everyone to know how much we appreciate your kind words here and on my Facebook page about Brad’s award.  He sort of said it all when he shook hands with the VP sitting at our table and said “I appreciate the opportunity”.  Of course, we believe it wasn’t Mike who ultimately opened the door – it was God – and He has opened a lot of doors for Brad over the last 17 years.


Samuel playing in the dirt

We are both so grateful to Him for giving Brad this career and blessing us so richly.  And I am profoundly grateful to God for sending me to the Middleton’s home for Disciple Now that night so many years ago (February 15, 1990).  I was living in the sorority house (with some of you reading this right now, actually!) and was fed up with dating.  In fact, the day before was Valentine’s Day – a rough day to live in a house full of pretty girls if you weren’t dating anyone.  I remember sitting in the back of the closet I shared with my best friend, Kim, and writing in my journal that if I never met anyone and got married, that was okay with me!  (Funny how dramatic that seemed when I was not quite 20 years old yet.)  The next night, I rang the doorbell at the Middleton’s home and Brad opened the door.  He offered to help me with my bags and then sat down next to me once he realized I didn’t know anyone else that was there.  My friend – the girlfriend who talked me into coming with her – was running very late and that gave Brad and I just enough time to get acquainted.  We never left each other’s side that weekend, except to sleep a few hours each of the two nights, and we were inseparable from then on.  I had never met anyone like Brad before that night – and haven’t since then, either.  He is still the funniest, most good-looking, smartest man I have ever met.  And even though he can do amazing math in his head and is a rocket scientist, he is incredibly humble.  And he married me!!!  Go figure.  I guess I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that.  Today, as always, I’m profoundly grateful for Brad.

Oh, and he makes the BEST babies!!!  Here are some of the other things I’m grateful for:


Boys washing my van

By the way, we do have THREE boys, even if one is suspiciously absent in these pictures.  I think he was embarrassed about being photographed sans shirt.  But he was there somewhere.


Washing the van


New bird feeders

And then there are the blessings that are not big but daily remind me of God’s love, like the flock of birds that now gather in my yard, right where I can see them out the living room windows.

There are flowers blooming in our flowerbed that daily bring a smile to my face and remind me of how much He cares about us.


Samuel posing in front of the house

And then there are our friends – people like you who bless us with your kind words and who probably never realize how much you mean to us.  Maybe I’m a little more aware of how brief our lives really are after losing my aunt.  Maybe I’m a little more nostalgic.  But as my mother and I were talking about just the other day, experiencing a tragedy such as the one our family has experienced brings a lot of things into perspective.  And in my case, it has certainly made me more aware of the ways God makes Himself known every single day of my life.

So.  There you have my random thoughts for today.  I’ll try not to be so serious next time. 🙂