Friday, September 14, 2007

Keith and Sherri Baldridge are ministering to the university students at West Texas A&M at Canyon. These two are very dear to our family. Their little baby girl is due in November. We got to spend a little time with them last week at Colter's Bar-B-Q in Arlington.. There wasn't much of a place to get a picture of that pretty tummy without an audience, so we went back to the bathrooms! So it isn't much of a backdrop, but we just wanted tummy pictures.

When Keith was a little boy he decorated his room with Oklahoma State orange. He finally made it to school there and one day went by the church to talk to Michael to see if he could help out with the youth. This was the beginning of a great friendship. They would go to IHOP every Sunday night and play chess, eat, and study the Word. When he introduced us to Sherri, we knew he had found his soul mate. We love these two like they are our own. If all goes as planned, their little girl will marry Kyle and Jade's little boy and we can "officially" say we are family.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

This little fella is Robby. Back in January '05, we get a call in the middle of the afternoon that they were bringing a little two year old boy to our house. Jade, Hannah, Leah, and Rachel were all at the house and couldn't wait for him to get there. When the worker got him out of the car and started walking to the house, the girls said, "Look at his curls! He's so cute!" He had wide-set green eyes, dimples, and curly reddish-brown hair. He was a cutie. It didn't take us long to fall hard for this little guy. He didn't know who Jesus was, or what it meant to pray, but it didn't take him long to catch on. Every night Michael would sing "Hush little baby, don't you cry" and "Jesus Loves Me", pray for his mama and daddy and all our kids, and he would go to sleep.

We found out in June that we would be moving to Texas and we wouldn't be able to bring him across the state line. We knew there could be a chance we could adopt him so Kyle and Jade went through the classes to take him into their home. They didn't want him to be with someone outside the family. It was a difficult night when Jade drove away with him crying in the back seat. We had already said our tough goodbyes to Kayla and Kyle. Now to see Jade and Robby driving away was almost too much. We crawled up into the Uhaul and pulled out Robby's things he had loaded earlier and left them at the house for Kyle to come back and get later.

He lived with Kyle and Jade until the next summer when his mom completed her requirements for getting him back. We knew his dad wouldn't be back for awhile and honestly, were a little fearful about him going home. He did get to go home and eventually told Jade that he really didn't want them or us in Robby's life anymore because they needed to be a family. I believed his intentions were honorable, but cried out to God that I knew Robby would be better off with us.

He was supposed to be Kayla's ring bearer in her March wedding, but we knew that probably wouldn't happen. The week of the wedding we were in Stillwater and on Thursday Michael called Richard and they talked for about 30 minutes. He said Robby could be in the wedding and Michael invited his family to the rehearsal and dinner. He was so cute in the wedding and was a little gentleman! That Sunday Michael and Richard spent several hours together talking. Come to find out, while Richard was away, a man shared Jesus with him. Richard accepted Jesus and after he got home, the first phone call he answered was from this same man, calling to ask Ruby if she knew when Richard would get home. He told him of a good church to take his family to.

When Richard went away he was an arrogant, messed up kid. He didn't come back that way. Jesus made this kid into a humble man who loves the Lord and desires to be a good dad. This new man crawled up on a church bus every Sunday and Wednesday with his family and all the other little kids because he wanted to do it right. The arrogance was gone. Thank you Jesus. Richard called a few weeks ago and asked if they could come down for a little vacation. It was his birthday and he got a day off. We enjoyed them so much. We saddled up the horses and let them all ride. Before we went to the arena, we were at the house and Robby was upset because he didn't want to leave the house. He was sitting by the back door putting on his shoes and said "I don't want to go." I told him it would be fun. He said "But I don't want to go!" and then in the next breath he said "Thank you for the dinner" and then the next breath "I missed you". I was standing at my kitchen sink, closed my eyes a minute, gathered myself and said "I missed you too Sweetie". I walked over to him and kissed him on the head. He said "that's not what you used to call me". I asked what I used to call him and he said "Sweetie Pie!" He was right. He wasn't with our family very long, but he remembered so many little things. He knew where to put things, where he slept, and not to bang on the piano. Hopefully, he will always remember the words to "Jesus Loves Me".

Thank you Jesus for blessing our family with a rambunctious two year old who surprised us all in how much we would fall in love. Thank you for saving his daddy and mommy and for the relationship we have with them now. Bless their sweet family. Oh, how I hope they fall more in love with you.