One of the reasons I decided to keep doing this blogging thing is that I thought that there would be times that I could encourage others using my own experiences. Today I got some of the greatest hugs ever. I got to see the person that is my closest friend that isn't my wife, my friend Melissa. Usually we go quite a while between visits due to our crazy schedules and the fact that we live over an hour and a half apart. Melissa and I have known each other for 20-some years. We met in the summer of 1990 or 1991 I believe on the campus of what is now Kentucky Christian University. (It was KCC back then.) We haven't seen each other a ton over the 20 plus years but we have stayed in touch and talked about a lot of personal things over the years. She is always the one that tells me I am being a jerk to my wife and I better knock it off. She is one of the nicest, most generous people you will ever meet. (She even took me to lunch today.) Even though I just saw her a couple of weeks ago it is always great to get a hug from her when I see her.
Then this evening, Nicole, the kids, and I went to a birthday party for Shaun-Thomas and Leo, two of our former foster children. These boys have a real special place in our heart. I believe I mentioned them in my blog last night but too bad you are gonna hear about them again. We had the pleasure of having them live with us for somewhere around 15 months I believe. We always treated them like they were our own flesh and blood, just like all of our foster/adopted kids. But it was really tough to have them leave us. Fortunately, they have a great mom and she has allowed us to remain a part of their lives. We love her and her family and their willingness to include us in the lives of the boys. Their birthdays are 1 day apart and so the family throws a big party for them each year and tonight was the night. When we walked in their faces were beaming, not sure if it was us or just the excitement of the party, but I am going to go with us. Regardless, the hugs I got from those boys tonight were special. They are growing up so fast and are doing so well. I can't wait till December 21st when I get to see them again. Their mom is so awesome that she lets us bring the boys to our house for a couple of days for our family Christmas celebrations. The boys love coming and we love having them. So tonight, Stephanie, I don't know if you read my blog's or not but I want you to know how much Nicole and I appreciate you letting us be a part of Shaun's and Leo's lives. We love all of you! Thank you.
Now these were just a couple of incidents of hugs today, I had more, but I could go on all night. Hugs are a gift from God. Hugs can do so many different things, from comforting and supporting, to loving and encouraging and everything in between. I love hugs from my students, my friends, my loved ones, but most of all I love them from my kids. And I don't care what any of you think or say, my kids give the best hugs!