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Summer Of Ultimate Love (S.O.U.L)
            Well this subject is near and dear to my heart this year. I learned this acronym through my Church as a program where we take our children into the community and perform work projects to help out those in the community who cannot help themselves. This program is dedicated to showing our children that it is Godly and awesome to serve people in the community without hope of reward or recognition. Let me tell you something, it does have a reward that you would not imagine; pride, confidence, since of selfless service, joy, and overall love for your community. I mean for real, on my first experience with my outdoor team, I was able to take my 3 boys in 97 degree weather over to a complete strangers house and tell them we are going to help mow this gentleman’s yard who had been in an accident that laid him up in a wheelchair and unable to upkeep his land. Now my children don’t even want to mow my yard, which is in total under a half acre, without giving me issues. But to my surprise my children were out there moving sticks, raking leaves, and helping where ever they could, and enjoying every minute of it. This program is priceless, I mean come on now, teaching your children to just love the community that they live in through hard work and dedication, PRICELESS.
            Now lets take a look at the other meaning of S.O.U.L that presented itself to me this summer. Every year my wife and I get a chance to have our 3 children who don’t live with us full time to come and visit. This is something that we both look forward to and dread a little each year. The dread side of the house comes from the financial side of the house, which is to be expected when you have 6 kids in the house who eat like small horses. But having them here totally outweighs the financial burden put on the family.
            My summer started actually back in April right after my lap band surgery. I had finally received the call that I could come to work finally, something I had been waiting on for 6 months. It then was followed by the good news that we actually qualified for the first time home buyers tax credit that we had been previously told we hadn’t qualified for. This meant that we could now purchase a quality above ground pool in preparation for the kids arrival in the summer, which in the end meant cheap entertainment for all the children. Then came June. Oh June. So many things happened in this month that was nothing short of a miracle that I can’t even count. First off to start the month, I had another issue with a bowel blockage that led to me being hospitalized for 5 days. The day after I got out of the hospital my wife had me going to an adult bible study group that I was a little apprehensive about attending. Then on the day that all of my children flew into Houston, I accepted Christ as my savior and was saved. This was all in the same week, for me miracle number one.
            So now all my children are here and we are having a great time. We are all going to Church, for my oldest child it was not an option I made him go, and you know what, I am glad that I did. In a little under a month, my son Colby, who did not happen to have the chances to attend and awesome Church like the one that we do here, came home and told me that he had accepted Christ as his savior and had found his salvation. So during the week before he left to go home to California we had him attend the Churches connect class with Shannon and me, and on the Sunday before he went home, both he and I got baptized together with his brothers and sisters watching. Miracle number 2.
           
             The first week of July the kids connect class began on Wednesday nights at our Church. This was an opportunity to get my youngest 2 children into the class and start learning about Christ and their relationships with Him. By the end of the second week of the 4 week class, I was presented with my most precious miracle yet; my 7 year old daughter had accepted Christ as her savior and found her salvation. I mean come on now. If you have never had the opportunity to see a 7 year old accept Christ as their savior you are missing out. I mean Anna came up to me and said “Daddy, the most wonderful thing happened to me today. I prayed to God and asked him to forgive me for my sins and let and to let me be a Christian. And you know what, He said yes.” With a huge smile on her face the whole time. Miracle number 3.
            Now unfortunately for my family this Summer is coming to a close. My oldest flew out 2 weeks ago back to California and today my other 2 step children will be flying home to be with their dad. This will mean that we will have some damage control coming up with our youngest daughter. She has been attached to her older sisters hip since she arrived, and every year when she leaves Anna is torn up for weeks about it. But there is nothing to worry about because she now has someone else she can talk to and look to for comfort. God and Jesus Christ. I fully believe that this will help not only her, but my wife and I through this tough time in her life. The one thing I can definitely say is that after this year, my wife and I are definitely looking forward to OUR Summer of Ultimate Love 2012. Thank you and God Bless.
G.E.D.D

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