Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!!!

I want to give honor to those who have and currently serve our country for our freedom!

My grandfather...Bob Smith...August 21,1935-March 22,2009
Served in the Korean War.

My father...Charles
Served in the Army.

AJ's grandfather, Joe Zachery, served as a "Frog-man" (predecessor to the SEALs) in the Navy during World War 2.
My Uncle Harley, served in the ARMY in Vietnam.
To William, Chad, Perry, John ( Cinnamon's husband), Lori, and to all the other brave men and women who have served in this nation's military, thank you.

I would like to acknowledge the wives and families of those who have loved ones that currently serve and have served. I thank you for your sacrifice of time and heartache of being without your loved ones while they serve and fight for our freedom. You are truly heroes to me.

As we celebrate with friends and family today, grilling, watching movies, shopping, I ask all of you to pray for a dear wife and mother in Georgia. She lost her husband in Iraq 2 1/2 weeks ago. Please pray comfort and peace in this difficult time.

Thank You All for your service.

We thank God for the freedoms He has given us, many times at the expense of this countries greatest.

We salute you this Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Booked-18 1/2 years later

The first week I met AJ, before either one of us knew 2 years later we would be married, he told me about a little girl.

She was tiny. Dark hair. He gave her one of her first baths.

She was not very old when he first saw her, and she was not very old when he last saw her.

This little girl's name was Rachel. And she is his daughter.
AJ & Rachel Holding Hands
She was born September 23, 1991.

AJ was overjoyed to see his daughter, yet sad. The biological mother felt it would be in the child's best interest to be placed in a loving home through adoption. AJ fought to keep her, but in God's providence, he lost the battle.

It was an open-close adoption. AJ's parents would occasionally receive pictures of Rachel, now Stephanie Joy. Such a pretty little girl. Always looking so happy. AJ and I would sit there and stare at her picture. She has "your eyebrows" I would tell AJ. "She likes music like you."The sadness in his eyes would give away. Though he would not speak of his hurt.

AJ did not talk much about Stephanie. The pain was so deep of losing her, he buried this pain and turned it into anger. When he did talk, it was always with the undertone of desiring to be with her. He was angry at many.

During these years without Stephanie, God worked in him. It was a slow process and still is, he still has anger, but there is forgiveness in his heart.

AJ confesses that, though he desired to raise his little girl, it was in God's perfect plan for him not to. Though it has grieved him, he rests knowing God ordained this for a reason unknown to him, and all he can do is trust. Trust in a great God who does ALL things for His purpose and glory.

Through the years, we have searched for Stephanie, with no success in finding her.

"If only I knew where she was...if I only knew..." he would say.

I asked him once what he would do if he found her whereabouts.
AJ replied he didn't want to disrupt her life, but would be tempted to go where she lived to "just see her". See her move, maybe catch a glimpse of her smile.

I asked AJ if he ever planned on contacting Stephanie, through the adoption agency, when she turns 18 years old, but fear gripped him with the thought of being rejected by her. Why would she want to know him? She has a good life with a good family. He was "just the guy who did not want me".

I encouraged him never give up hope. He would get to meet her one day. With much doubt, he prayed this would be true.

And day...last July...I got a call...

"Christine...Christine." AJ says breathless, "Stephanie has requested to be my friend on Facebook."

"What!!!????!!! Really?"

"What should I do?" he asked nervously.

"Well, accept it!!!"

He did.

They began corresponding through e-mail, getting to know each other. Favorite foods, colors, movies, animals.

AJ has been like a kid in a candy shop since...excited! Speaking and thinking of her often. Looking forward to the day when they get to meet.

The day they meet...

Today, AJ booked a ticket for Stephanie to fly down here to Texas, June 21st, to reunite with her...18 1/2 years later.

AJ and I are thrilled to meet Stephanie Joy. The children are excited to meet their big sister. We are all anticipating the visit. The kids are already discussing who she will "get" to sleep with. Rest assured, she will have her own room...

So where do I fit into all of this?

From the beginning, God gave me a love for Stephanie. I would spend nights thinking, praying for her. Wish her a "Happy Birthday" wherever she was. Wonder what she was doing......I love her deeply in my heart. Always longing for the day to meet this "special little girl" I first heard about that first week in knowing AJ.

AJ and I are nervous. Full of anticipation and questions... "Will she enjoy her time with us? What will she think of us?..."

But in the midst of the excitement, I can't help but to dream of June 21st......

Stephanie walks down the terminal...AJ sees her...their eyes meet for the first time after 18 1/2 years...and AJ is finally able to take Stephanie in his arms, holding his "little girl" once again...