Renewed Strength and Gratitude

How do you say thank you to the people that touch your life beyond measure?  I’ll try….

Last Friday August 26th, 2011 Bill, Katlin and I joined Emily, Kevin and Luke at their home along with many other wonderful family and friends of theirs to meet Gina and her husband Sergeant Allen Hill.  Gina and Allen are the recipients of the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition home in Ottawa, Kansas.  Oh my!  What remarkable and beautiful people Gina and Allen are!  We also had the privilege of meeting Gina’s wonderful sister Chris.  And I can’t forget Frankie either!  She was busy working alongside Allen.  What a beautiful dog.  She reminds me of our golden retriever Clinker that we so adored.  Clinker was what my mother-in-law called a “gentle giant.”  She was always right at our side.  That is how Frankie is.  I didn’t even notice that she was there next to Allen’s feet until Bill pointed her out to me while Bill was visiting with Allen.  I am so happy to have learned more about the significance of her presence in Allen’s life as well as Gina’s and their boys Mikale and Dreyson.  According to the Puppies Behind Bars website, “Puppies Behind Bars trains inmates to raise puppies to become service dogs for the disabled and explosive detection canines for law enforcement.”  Puppies Behind Bars sure did an outstanding job!  Frankie is amazing to say the least.  What a special family member!

So how do I even begin to sum up an evening like this?  First, I want to say thank you to Emily, Kevin and Luke for such a special time.  As always you are incredible, and we can’t thank you enough!  We are so very proud to know you.  I also have to say thank you to Gina, Allen, Chris and Frankie.  Thank you for allowing us the privilege of meeting you.  I admire your incredible strength, courage and openness.  I have felt very vulnerable lately as I open up more about what my family is going through regarding mental illness.  However, meeting you was beyond refreshing, and I feel renewed strength as our family continues the journey with our loved one.  I find that I want more now than ever to become more of an advocate and voice for those facing the challenges of mental illness.  Thank you Gina for being so inspiring!  Finally, I have to say thank you to everyone we met and visited with!  The King Family is extremely blessed to know all of you!