31 Days of Gratitude - In an attempt to publicly express my gratitude for the people that have impacted me in some way in 2015, I'm setting out to write one post a day sharing what I appreciate about them or what moment that marked me. Some of these people I know well, some I've only met, and some I'm just getting to know. There is no ranking to these posts and they aren't meant to put anyone on a pedestal. They, like you and I, are imperfect people with their own flaws, some you may have experienced. Despite those flaws, I believe we all need to have our positive characteristics called into light and celebrated. This is that attempt.
I've been fortunate to marry into a wonderful family. The Brate's are some of the kindest, warmest, and loving people I know and I'm grateful for that. I couldn't have asked for a better family to be forever connected to that wasn't my own, and eight married years in, they are my own.
Dave & Connie - You've done such a wonderful job raising your daughters and creating an environment where they could grow up and learn what it means to love others well. I'm grateful for all the ways you continue to care for them and incorporate Austin and I into your families as your sons. You're grace, generosity, welcoming spirits, and genuine interest in our daily lives is welcomed and appreciated. I'm grateful for all the character traits I've seen you both demonstrate over the years that have impacted me and marked me as ones I need to emulate as a husband, father, and a neighbor trying to love others well. I truly hope that Michelle and I can do with our kids half as well as you've done with your own. I'm looking forward to the many years ahead and the life we'll get to do together.
Austin & Linda - Thank you for welcoming me into the family all those years ago and making an effort to get to know me as a person and not just a guy dating your sister. Your kindness and genuine interest welcomed me to the family and continue to make me feel like I'm a part of it. I'm grateful for sibling in-laws that are also friends. Whether I show it well when we're together or not, I do appreciate all the times we get to spend together and to see our kids grow up closely as cousins.
As I reflect on the past year, the times we've spent together, and the fact that our family is loved deeply by you all, I can't help but be grateful.