Why I love Halloween

When I was little, I wanted to be a monkey.  Not for Halloween, but all the time.  Olympic gymnast was a long time dream.  Then I hoped to be a marine biologist, then a psychologist, followed by working in sports administration, which after a long round about path through event planning, non-profit management and fundraising, has eventually led to me to work in software.  If you look at my path from what I wanted to do to where I am, it would seem that I’m off track.  But if you truly followed the steps, you’d see that each step led to another in a meaningful way that eventually led me to a something that I never knew I wanted to do but fits so well with my skills and desires.  And it took a lot of people to help me get there.

I think that’s what I love about this week.  We can all go back to the days of dreaming about what we want to be, and for one night a year, we open our doors to strangers who trick or treat and greet each other with smiles, helping the dream feel real.  We’re cautious as we drive, watching for firemen, princesses and superheros in our sights. We pretend to be braver and stronger.

anita_4

We encourage dreaming.  We reward creativity.

As we grow up, we often give up on dreaming.  We forget who we wanted to be.  We forget how to dream big and we stop believing that we can be brave and strong.

What did you dream of when you were little?

Maybe I can’t really become a monkey or reach the Olympics.  Okay, I definitely can’t.  But I can remember the dreams and find elements of myself that maybe I’d lost. I can use the help of those around me, who encourage my dreams and see the possibilities.

What are your dreams now?

Watch this week- the kids who dream of being something different, the parents who encourage the creativity, the friends who open their doors and reward all of those.

Let’s recapture that.  Dream big this week, but don’t throw the dream off at the end of the week.

Losing Cherish- And a Guide to Teaching Our Kids to be Safe

I had the chance to share this very important post on another site today (though it was written weeks ago)- it’s one I feel so strongly about, and hope that you’ll read and share.  It’s originally posted on Time’s Up Blog and I invite you to visit there to read more.  Though more than a month has past since this tragedy, we can’t forget.

________________________________________________________

Losing Cherish- And a Guide to Teaching Our Kids to be Safe

 

by Anita Davis Sullivan

Saturday, June 22nd, I think you could hear our corner of Florida wail. It wasn’t the first time that something tragic has happened, but it was fresh and raw. Many of awoke that Saturday morning to reports of the abduction of 8 year old Cherish Perrywinkle the previous night. Shortly after, we learned that Donald Smith, the prime suspect, had been arrested during a traffic stop, with no sign of Cherish. And a very short time later, we learned that the body of 8 year old Cherish had been found, near the Walmart she was abducted from.

Within moments, there were questions. Why had the mother allowed the child to go with a man they had known for just a few hours? Why had the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office not alerted the public sooner that there was a child abduction? Why did the FDLE not notify the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which would have prompted the phone alerts for the Amber Alert?  Why had Donald Smith seemingly fallen through the cracks and not been treated as a Sexually Violent Predator as recommended by the Department of Children and Families 11 years ago?

I don’t know. No one has the answers yet.

And though I pray they come, and that other children may be saved by what our community learns through this tragic event, my focus quickly turned to how we can help those here now. I heard from parents who sat and talked with their children about ‘Stranger Danger’ or watched them ever closer this weekend. I heard from one mother who had the heartbreaking job of telling her 8 year old daughter that her good friend Cherish was forever gone.

And though we must teach our children, I fear that we teach them the wrong things too often. The real danger is not in strangers- even Cherish was taken and killed by someone who gained her mother’s trust, albeit in a few short hours. But it’s estimated that less than 5% of attacks on children are by a stranger.

We must focus on teaching our children what is appropriate behavior, and how to trust their instincts.

June 26, 2013 marked the six year anniversary of the day that my brother, Michael “Austin” Davis went missing from Jacksonville, Florida. He was an adult, and most likely wasn’t abducted. But from this experience sometimes comes a need to protect my children even more. To make sure that our family doesn’t lose another. So I do teach them, not to be afraid, but to:

  • Know what kind of touching is appropriate and inappropriate, and that it’s okay to say “No!” and get away from anything that makes them uncomfortable.
  • Know who we consider safe grownups are. These are the people in our circle that they should be able to trust. But always reminding them, that it’s okay to say “No!” to even these people if they’re uncomfortable.
  • Know that they never have to protect us. If someone threatens us if they don’t do what the person says, they don’t have to do it.
  • Get permission to go anywhere, and stay in groups.
  • Never help an adult without our permission. It can be a trick.

In six years of missing my brother, we’ve also had to deal with the question of how much to tell our oldest, who celebrated his 4th birthday just two days before his Uncle Austin went missing. No matter if it’s a lost family member or a lost friend, children grieve and need help doing so.

Here are my tips on helping your child through a time of loss:

  • Let them see your emotions.
  • It’s okay for them to know you’re sad, as it let’s them know it’s okay for them to be sad too.
  • Encourage them to share memories of their loved one.
  • Create a scrapbook or box of memories that they can look through and remember their loved one. Allow them to participate in adding to it. For example, my son has a great memory of my brother taking him fishing. I’d forgotten about it, but he hasn’t.
  • Communicate with caregivers.
  • Let teachers or caregivers know that your child may experience out of the norm behaviors as they cope with this. Let your child know they can talk to these adults in their lives about what they’re feeling.
  • Share stories with your kids.
  • Tell stories about the lost loved one as your kids grow, reminding them how much the person loved them, or would have loved seeing them grow. Keep them alive in the heart of the family, giving your kids a feeling of roots and love. My sons have limited family in their lives, but I always want them to know the love of family.
  • Be honest on a level they can understand.
  • When my brother was first missing, we didn’t know what to tell our son. We didn’t want to lie, but we don’t really know the truth. We don’t know where he is. We’ve come to realize that it’s okay to say “we don’t know but we won’t give up until we do” and keep the brutal details from him (like that we believe he killed himself). As he’s gotten older, we’ve added more details but always the truth as he could understand and cope with it.

There are no simple answers on how to keep your kids safe, or how to help them through a loss like this. Just as there are no easy answers on why this tragedy happened.

But on this anniversary of my brother’s disappearance, I do know that I can help educate parents, who truly just want to keep their kids safe.

Rest in peace Cherish. You will not be forgotten.

Cracked Eggs

I have calculated that I need 82 more vacation days to successfully organize my house.  And that would not even count the garage, which I won’t touch if my life depends on it.

This drives me nuts.  As in, certifiably, would prefer to run away, nuts.

So why don’t I work on it piece by piece in the hour or two I have here and there?  Because in the hour or two I have here and there, I prefer to enjoy our life.  And because I require sleep (and oddly enough, massive hours of sleep, and always have).  And because I do, but a house full of people and dogs and birds and hermit crabs (yes, there are technically 8 animals in our home) undoes it.  So my life house stays unorganized and cluttered and not at all like a Pottery Barn catalog, which is exactly how I picture it will be one day- you know, when I somehow have the ability to take 82 days of vacation that I dedicate solely to the house.  That day.

But life is messy, and out of control and will likely never be the storybook picture.  So much of our life is completely out of my control, that it doesn’t take a psychologist to see that I try to grasp it where I can (though some suggest I still need to see one regularly, but I’m sure they’re wrong and nuts themselves!).  And while I do  try to accept the lack of control and give everything up to God about the big things, I keep grasping at the smaller ones. 

Saturday night while we were coloring Easter eggs, I looked down at an egg that had not turned out at all like we planned.  It wasn’t the color we thought (I may have mixed a few three tablets in one bowl), and I didn’t think it particularly pretty.  But the boys thought it was one of the coolest.

I would really prefer them all to be crafted beautifully, you know, Pinterest worthy.  I’d like to show off our creations, and have you jealous.  Have you ask us to show you how we could have possibly made these amazing pieces of art. 

But instead, we had fun.  We laughed.  We cracked them.  We got our fingers stained.

We ended up with eggs just like life- not what you expect, not what you’d design, but beautiful and messy, and what you wouldn’t trade for the world.

I think God sees us like that too.  We are cracked and stained, and not exactly perfect.  But He loves us and accepts us, and even celebrates us. He holds us up to the world and claims us as His own.  I couldn’t be more thankful for that.

 “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)

Guest Post- Anonymous

You know those days when you question everything you do?  It’s been one of those weeks.  But a friend, one I don’t know well, but look forward to learning more about soon, reached out today.  She encouraged me so much with her words about my writing, and for that I’m grateful.  But I’m more grateful that she allowed me to share her heart here, as I think you’ll find a woman with a heart after God, even in the midst of pain.  When I hear people who have it all together (or seem to), I’m sometimes discouraged that I’ll never be them.  But then I remember that most of us are struggling in some ways, and when we share, we can lift each other up. 

She says….

“This has been the longest year of my life.  I spent much of it in prayer asking for God’s will to overpower my life and dedicated all my time to Him and the word.  Initially I hoped His will was to reunite my marriage into a healthy and loving unity. Withholding many details out of respect for my family, I will only say it was a very unhealthy situation, physically and emotionally and the separation was a must. I had to bear an extreme amount of guilt for demanding such, but made it clear it was only to hold him accountable to his responsibility to make changes that were necessary to maintain a safe home. I had stood by his side for 15 years waiting and praying for the changes he promised to become our reality.

He’s dated pretty much the entire separation but just lied about it.  I still continued to pray for God’s will.  I was willing to give forgiveness and honor our vows of marital commitment to each other and God.  I also knew though the “changes” must be visible and that words I had heard so many times before were not going to enough for me to ensure we “broke the cycle.”  I realized at some point his free will was not going in the same direction as mine and I had no choice but to begin to rebuild myself, my life with my children and focus solely on growing my intimate relationship with the one man who will always love me unconditionally without leaving me side, Jesus Christ.  Yet, I still did not pursue divorce. I am sure there were many reason but one major one was simply avoiding the inevitable.  Without us being able to agree on the conditions of the divorce, my children would be forced to see facts and traits in their father I had protected them from for so long. I still pray they are able to have a positive relationship with him in the future. I only want to keep the burden on their hearts to a minimum and still keep them safe.

Well, he is no longer willing to lie about his life choices.  He did work to rebuild, not much change but rebuild, it just wasn’t in the direction of our family but for himself.   He is ready for his new found joy (relationship w/ other children involved) to be not only in the open but introduced to our children. I can now only pray they know God is with them when I can not be.  I hope they understand I consult God in all my decisions and am truly making every effort to show Grace to what I call my Judas.
I am more than ready to close this miserable chapter of my journey but that forces me to look to the future.  What is in store.  Is my faith strong enough to continue to work to be the person I am looking for is looking for.  Can I keep my hands off the wheel long enough to let God bring someone into my life that will honor Him with me?  If I do feel care for someone, is putting myself out there even a good idea.. While I worry about all these things, scared I could miss an opportunity… I try to remember it is not for me to figure out.

I can not see the big picture God has for for his people, not just me. My role may be minute. What I do know though is God has plans to prosper me and not to harm me and only He knows the plans He has.  I will continue to try to rest in those facts along and not allow negative thoughts nor my desire to influence the outcome to take away the peace he promises.”

I’m thankful that even in the storm of her life, this woman is waiting and relying on Him.  What an encouragement to me today, and a reminder that He is always there.  Pray with me for this friend today, that she feels His love always.   

~Anita

White Out, Erasers and Delete

My favorite key on the keyboard is delete.  It is my friend, the one that keeps the secrets of the dumb things I wrote, my errors and miscalculations.  It let’s me remove what I need, and start fresh.  And if I really didn’t want to delete that (you know, need to delete my delete), there is even the Undo option.  It’s lovely.

Before computers, I loved erasers- the scented ones and fun shaped ones, or when there was a lot to erase, the jumbo pink ones.  But as every kid knows, if you erase a mistake, you can still tell it was there.  Your paper turns a bit gray in that spot, and you may even end up with a tear. 

White Out was always a favorite through high school, when I was still typing a lot of papers on a typewriter, or handwriting them, and could cover mistakes without the messy eraser.  It was still obvious that there was a perfectly white smear on not exactly white paper, but at least it was clean. 

I’ve often thought that it would be nice to have a delete key in my life.  For when I’ve opened my mouth and out spilled words I’d like to delete, or days that didn’t go as planned and I’d like to do over.

Thankfully there are apologies, and forgiveness, and tomorrows. But they’re less like a delete key and more like an eraser.

The mistake is gone, but erasing it made even a bigger mess.  Sometimes that’s what happens with our own lives, where we cover mistakes with lies, or add excuses to apologies, or try to forget painful things that have happened. We may have covered up the mistake, but sometimes we make it even more messy than before. 

But sometimes God gives us White Out- He’s forgiven us, or He’s brought us through the storm, sometimes both.  He doesn’t want to leave us messy, but He also doesn’t want to take us back to where we began.  He covers us, leaving a reminder of what we faced, but yet leaving us even whiter and stronger than before.  When others look at us, they can see we’ve faced times that we’d like to delete, but they also see what we’ve become.  

Whatever it is you’d like a delete key for today, instead seek the White Out that means we’re loved and forgiven, and stronger than before.  And then take that new white spot, and start writing a fresh story. 

The Roller Coaster Ride

It’s not unusual for a year to go by with nothing new to report on in our search for Austin.  That’s true of most of us with a cold case missing person, and it may be one of the hardest parts to accept.  But we’ve had some activity in the past few weeks, and I wanted to share some of what it’s like to go through the roller coaster of ‘what if’ and ‘maybe’.

One of the most respected women in search and rescue, Monica Caison had been encouraging my mom to search one specific area we never had, the property around the house where Austin and I grew up.  Mom was hesitant for her own reasons, and I pushed every now and then to please make it happen.  The plan was for a small group to go, just a few people from her own search team, as it’s quite a small area.  Monica helped scout on a Friday, and on that Saturday, four searchers including my mom, began to work.  While they worked, I wrote some thoughts, always praying that when I shared this, I’d be sharing about the day we brought Austin home.  Here’s what I wrote as I waited:

“From where I stand… Birds calling, crickets chirping, occasional dog barking, leaves falling, trees towering, sun shining warm,  quiet, peaceful….
As I write, a small search for Austin is underway.  We’ve had quite a few, so I have a somewhat nonchalant attitude towards them usually. In the beginning, I would always think “today is the day” and be nervous.  As time has gone on, most searches have been repeats of the same areas or areas we didn’t feel that strong about.  So I lost that feeling for the most part.  Pulling up to a team of searchers always gave me a moment of belief that today might be the day, and leaving with no results always gave me a bit of a letdown, but less and less over time.

Today is different.  Today it’s just 4 people and 3 dogs.  Today my mom is searching instead of organizing.  Today we’re home, meaning we’re where Austin and I grew up, where I have the most feeling of home and where he did too.  Though we don’t own the house or property and haven’t for years, we still visit out here because of close family friends who are still here.  When I turn down the road, it still feels like going home.  It’s where we made most of our childhood memories, its where we made lifelong friends, its where we were a family.  About halfway through college for me, and halfway through high school for Austin, our parents split and things changed a lot.  Austin still lived there for a few years, and I spent one more summer there, before Dad made the decision to sell.  I don’t know if Austin’s last few years here tarnished the good memories so much that he didn’t still feel the strong connection to it that I do.  I was gone, living an hour away through the worst of that, so I don’t have the same viewpoint.

I wasn’t convinced that the pull here would be strong enough that he’d come back here for his final moments.  But we’ve searched everywhere else that seems to make sense.”

My kids and husband came and we played baseball and soccer for a few hours while they searched, reminding me how abnormal it is for my kids to think it perfectly normal to play yards away from a search, a search for their own uncle.  My youngest doesn’t know, but my oldest is well aware.  A few hours later, the team packed up and left without any find.  It turns out that the area really is too grown up and too dense for that small a team, and some heavy equipment is needed.  I left sad, with that feeling that this wasn’t really the place, and knowing it would likely be months before the next search happened, meaning more time of just waiting.  That’s the road for a family member though, always having sparks of hope that you have to allow and have to feel, while wanting to instead protect yourself from the letdown that comes after you allow yourself to hope.

Fast forward a week and a half or so….

I was getting ready to walk out the door to work when I realized my husband and mom were talking and there were words like ‘serial number’ and ‘police’ floating to me.  I stopped and listened.

My mom had been awakened about 3:30am by a phone call from someone who scavenged for metal, and had found bones in carpet, almost buried in dirt the night before.  He’d called the police and they’d sent uniformed officers, but they hadn’t taken him seriously it seemed, and he couldn’t sleep.  So he was searching online for information about missing people in that area, and came across Austin’s info.  On that was the Finder’s Hope logo, and from there he found my mom’s phone number- not realizing she was also Austin’s mom.  He’d read about the shotgun we were also looking for, and was startled by the fact that he’d found the barrel of a shotgun (same brand) months ago, broken down and half buried, in another nearby spot that we had searched very near to.  The bones were several blocks away, but also between the Pawn Shop (where Austin purchased the gun and was last seen) and where he’d found the gun.  He still had the gun, including the serial number and would be glad to hand it to police.

We couldn’t piece together how both could be related to Austin, but one or the other very possibly could, and if not him, it could be someone else’s missing loved one.  I let work know I’d be only partially available as we figured out what to do, and my mom started calling the missing persons unit, leaving messages and calling back until she was able to speak to someone who listened.  Thankfully, the detective said he was jumping in his car to go check it out right then.  He asked us to wait till we heard back.

That lasted about 10 minutes, until Michael and I drove by the entrance to the site where the bones were found, and then by the house where the guy lived.  Once we realized the detective was indeed there, we went on, waiting anxiously for any word.  We lasted a little bit longer, before my mom left and sat at the entrance where there were now two empty unmarked cars, leading us to believe they were looking for the site.  I tried to be somewhat productive, with a few work phone calls and emails, as I had something fairly large and difficult going on there to deal with too.  I knew that it was unlikely to be the day we had answers, but as my husband reminded me, “it has to be one day.”

My mom and I returned to the site, with both of my boys in the car and my husband off to class, because even in the midst of days like that, we have to continue on with life, though I knew he was keeping his phone close and would rush back if needed.  By this time, another search team member and friend of my mom’s was on her way with her dog, in case help was needed.  And I’m sure though she didn’t say it, in case the gun was his or the bones confirmed human, to be there with us.

As we pulled up, I told my oldest, “we’re going stopping by a search to talk to some police, I need you to stay in the car” and almost laughed as we saw once again how normal these things were to him.  We approached the officers, six in total, and introduced ourselves.  They shared that the bones had been located, and that their dog was on the ground to determine if they were human, as it was a small amount of bones.  They were large enough to be human potentially.

Four of the six plainclothes officers immediately separated themselves away once we introduced ourselves, not even acknowledging us.  We didn’t know the remaining two but were told that the detective we’d talked with, along with the K-9 and his handler were a bit beyond view.  We were probably some of the most composed family members they’d seen, as we tried to chat with them about search and rescue, laughed about my fear of snakes that kept me from being a searcher, and discussed the fact that we were out there for us, but also for any family who might be about to find answers.

It was probably no more than 5 minutes later when the detective, the K-9 and handler walked in to the clearing and started towards us.  My mom kept chatting, while I realized that we were either about to have hope dashed, or have the start to the longest few weeks of our lives while we waited to learn who it was.

They were dashed.  The remains weren’t human.  The gun’s serial number didn’t match.  We thanked the detective and walked back to our car where I cheerfully told my son that the search had found some bones, but just an animal and we were going home.

I returned home for an afternoon of conference calls and work, and mom picked up to do whatever she had planned for the day.  The searcher friend was turned around, and our lives went back to normal.

But our normal is not that normal and I’m always aware of that.

Last night I heard an inspirational message from a singer who had lost his voice and had it restored through a risky surgery that threatened his career and his passion.  When his voice did return, it was better than before, and he learned a lot about trusting God when all seems bleak.  I’ve heard so many other stories with similar messages, and I sometimes feel the weight of wondering when our turn to have a completion to this ‘story’ is.  When I’ll be able to tell about our struggles, but with a conclusion to our years of searching instead of this open ended story.  But I heard so clearly last night, that the longer we search, the more powerful our story of keeping hope no matter the situation becomes, and the more people to know of Austin, and be able to celebrate with us when there is an end to the search one day.  I’d still like it to be today.  The roller coaster is no fun.

But I share because that is the only action I can take, I share that someone may see the HOPE we still have, and will always have.  And I share that when we do find Austin, even more will know the struggle to get there and be able to see how God worked.

Thank you for those who ride the roller coaster with us, and for those whom we know we can call when we need you, even if you never knew any of this was going on.  We did keep all of this fairly quiet for a variety of reasons, and often have to.  But do know, that when the day comes that there is a different end to this story, we’ll be so thankful you’re there.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

One Shoelace at a Time

My little guy (the one more like me than I usually admit) went to his first day of 3rd grade with different colored shoe laces in each shoe, and no one walking him to class.  “Mom, I’m not five” is exactly what he said.  I hadn’t made a comment about the laces, because what do I know about cool?  But not walking my son in and taking a photo of him in front of his desk?  Come on!  You can’t really expect a mom to be okay with that.

 
Watching him walk away

But we must.

We must let them grow, giving them independence in safe and healthy ways.  We must let them be their own person, not a miniature version of us (though its scary just how much like us they are).  Even when they make decisions that cause them pain.  We guide, we love, we teach through it all, but we must let them find their way.

I know more and more about how my parents felt as they raised us, but especially as they still loved and guided Austin towards the end of his time with us.  Like what I did with him as a sister, wanting the best for him, but knowing he had to choose his own way, no matter how much pain it brought him or us. 

I think that God must feel something like this.  Giving us the tools, love and support we need and knowing that he could choose our way.  But He lets us.  He loves us enough to want us to come to Him out of our own will, not because he forces it. 

So I let go, just one shoelace and walk at a time, so that one day Drew is able to make his own wise choices.  But I think like today, I’ll always be watching closely with my heart in my throat.

**I have to add in here that I have some wonderful friends that demonstrate this all the time and just a few days ago discussed this very topic.  It helped me today as I watched him go, so thank you dear friends!

Letter to Myself

A few days ago I saw an old photo of a group of my friends from high school. We were young and more beautiful than we knew, so full of potential and ready to take on the world. I commented that we were really something, and was reminded that we’re really something now too. Years later, these are now women that I respect and admire. Both for things they’ve accomplished and the way they live their lives.

I looked at myself and wondered what I’d have said if I knew what the next 15 years or so would hold. I probably would have been scared and excited all at once, and in some disbelief of it all. But here are some things I would say to that girl.

Be courageous, you have nothing to fear.

College will teach you so much more than you’ll learn in class. Get out there and experience it. A little more studying wouldn’t hurt you either.

You’re not fat.

You’ll meet many guys, and you’ll learn from them what you want and don’t want in a spouse. Heartbreak will help you find the right one.

Fight for what’s right as soon as you know its right. But don’t worry, you’ll soon get pushed into it and you’ll be fine.

Enjoy that time before kids a bit more, quiet doesn’t come again for many years.

You’ll learn a lot about medicine and advocating for good care by being thrown into the fire. Toughen up- it’s hard but worth it.

Ask more questions, invade personal space a bit more, and open up yourself. Fear of rejection is no way to live. The phone won’t kill you.

Stop. Breathe. Enjoy.

Go home at 5 sometimes.

Hug your Dad more. You don’t have to agree on anything but loving each other. That’s enough.

Push Austin. It might not have helped, but don’t give up. You’ll have less regret and guilt, and you already have enough.

Enjoy that last movie with Austin, and don’t drive straight home. Find a way to spend a few more minutes.

Just keep trusting God, He won’t let you fall.

Look around at your friends. Some will be gone, some will become close again one day, some will come later and become family, while some will seemingly disappear once Austin does. You’ll learn from them all.

You’re stronger than you think. You’ll survive more than you think you can handle, and you’ll do more than just survive.

….. Now that I think about it, I should probably remind grown me of these same things…..funny how our younger self and our older self are so much the same, maybe just a stronger version. At least I hope so.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The Fun One

Not too long ago I wrote about Austin being ‘The Bad One’ But I’ve also come to the conclusion that he was also ‘The Fun One’ of us. I say this laughing, because I have fun. I truly enjoy life, relish adventures, and laugh a lot. Just like Austin did.

But…. he wouldn’t have gone to bed at 11pm, while others were just starting their night (like I did last night). He would have stories to tell this morning, other than how comfortable the hotel bed was (but it really was). He wouldn’t have considered sitting in the hotel lobby for four hours because the Skyway system might be too easy to get lost in (which it was). He would have just jumped in, though in his own relaxed way.

I’m thankful for my friends who I feel safe enough with to always have fun, and for my mom who always pushed me to live a little (though still doesn’t like me traveling alone), and a husband and kids that never let me forget that being with them is the best fun.

Over the years I’ve figured out how to not let so much get in the way of doing things I find fun. But mostly the change is being okay with my ideas of fun, and being okay with doing my own thing. But still…. Austin really was the fun one, so I guess fun and bad are sometimes the same.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tribute for a Mom

This Mother’s Day I’ll be eating breakfast my guys cook and wearing a fancy hat to church. This Mother’s Day my mom will eat in a camper and test her search skills.This Mother’s Day I’ll have sweet hugs from my sons. This Mother’s Day my mom won’t have her son here to hug, so she’ll work towards a certification for leading searches. This Mother’s Day I’d like a jewelry box. This Mother’s Day, my mom wants the gift of being able to help bring someone’s child home.

Since Austin isn’t here to say ‘I love you’ or ‘thanks’ I’d like to say it for him. Thank you for being willing to sacrifice so much for him, for me and for others. Thank you for loving us always, teaching us about life, pushing us when needed, supporting us no matter, teaching us the value of hard work and to never give up.

Austin talked to you when no one else, knowing you would comfort but always help also. He respected you and loved you. If here, he would say thanks in a simple and quick way, but would mean it deeply.

Though I have my own methods, I hope and pray that my boys grow to know what Austin and I always knew- that they are loved by us and by God, and can never stray so far to be out of our love. Thank you.



Mom with Monica Caison, being presented with a CUE Keeper of the Flame Award, 2011

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone