Wow this has been a week! Caryl and I headed to Joplin on Tuesday so that I could speak at a foster parent appreciation dinner-and then speak to a group of caseworkers the next morning. It was an amazing trip…we were so blessed to be in a car, just the two of us, (minus any of the 13 kids between us!) and get to visit and pray and just be together. We met some incredible foster parents who challenged us to continue our work and to understand more fully the connection we share, regardless of where we live. I was so encouraged by the dedication of these parents and the intensity with which they purposefully advocate for the children in their care. I was challenged as I spoke to the caseworkers (from a foster parent perspective) and fielded questions that arose during the course of the meeting. Thank you Joplin for your hospitality- and encouragement! :)
Wednesday afternoon Caryl and I headed to Branson for some real ‘girl time’. Shopping! Thursday was Jeff’s 50th birthday and filled with fun and excitement, yesterday marked Serenity’s end of the year field trip and a birthday party, and today was Caleb’s 20th birthday and included shopping, a surprise party for my niece and Caleb’s b-day celebration. Add all of the pre-wedding-rehearsal dinner preparations and well, you get the picture!
In the middle of all of this ‘fluff’, Connor’s friend Sam lost his father, Bernard Allbright. To say he was a man of character would be the classic understatement. Bernard was filled with joy, strength and integrity. He loved the Lord with all of his heart and was totally dedicated to his family. During the funeral today, Sam and his praise band sang the song “I am Free”. It was an amazing testimony and a remarkable tribute to a father from his 15 year old son. Jeff and I were so blessed to know Bernard. There is no question that his legacy will live on….in the future of his wife, his children, grandchildren and the many friends and family he leaves behind.