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Meet Our Village: There's nothing like the love of family and friends...

There is nothing like the support of your family and friends. One of the things I hold close to my heart is the love of family. Family is not just your parents, aunts, uncles or cousins, brothers or sisters; it's the community of people you surround yourself with that consists family,friends, and coworkers that encourage, support and adds value to your life. They are usually the ones encouraging you to do more, to be better and to never give up. They are there for you to rally with support in trouble times and be the arm that helps to pick you up and help dust yourself off to try again.

Both my husband and I have been so blessed to have both sides are our families be so supportive of us and our children. Words cannot describe how much we appreciate each and everyone of them. It is such an amazing feeling to know there are people that love you and our family just as much as to do.

Let me tell you a little bit about my family, I am the youngest child I have a brother that is ten years old than me and my parents have been married over 50 years. They have raised my brother and I to always support and love one another no matter what, to be present in each other's lives, and most importantly to put God first in households. My brother has been married almost thirty years to one of the kindest, caring and the most beautiful person inside and out. They have four of the most handsome, kindest most respectful young men. He has always been the positive role model in my life along with my parents. He ALWAYS puts God first and is forever dedicated to his wife and children. I see the sacrifices he makes daily and it makes me want to better person constantly. He is always the voice of reason when I am upset, his calming spirit always knows the right thing to say when I am blue.

My mother was one of six kids, her mother died when she was six years old and her father was left to raise six kids on his own. Growing up they did not have much but they had each other. Her father raised them to always look after one another, to pull together in tough times and to always put God first. And this is what each of her brothers and sisters has passed down to their children. We are one family, we fuss, we fight but our love for one another surpasses all the negativity. We are one!

In my family my cousins are like siblings they are always front in center in all that I do. They have never missed a graduation, a birthday, a bad break-up; they have always been with me. When we found out about our son Ralph being on the autism spectrum they were right there supporting us. Every last aunt, uncle, and cousin has taken a vested interest in our children, to learn about autism and to understand how they can help us.

Our annual family cookout this year had a theme "Autism Awareness" the entire family wore autism awareness t-shirts in support of Ralph. It was awesome, it was not just the family who showed support it was also the friends and coworkers who came to celebrate with us. We have decided each year our annual cookout will have a theme to support a cause whether it's autism awareness, breast cancer, MS, etc. I am forever grateful for them. It's their compassion and unconditional love which motivates me to write about our journey, to work to be a better person every day and to not be afraid to try new things. To all my family and friends who reads my blog I want to thank you for all that you do. There is not a day goes by I do not thank God for you, I pray for you and love you with every fiber within me. You all give me strength when I think I am weak, you give me courage to fight another day and you give me unconditional love to assure me everything will be fine no matter the circumstance.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7- "4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

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