Friday, March 27, 2009

And the winner is...

Okay, so this contest turned out to be one of the hardest decisions ever! Tony and I felt like it was too hard for us to decide who won, so we went to an out-of-town third party person who did not know the people nor their situations. After reading each one and much thought, the winner and runner up were picked unbiasedly by our judge. CONGRATS TO:

The WINNER: Ashely R.
Runner Up: Gina R.

Here are their winning stories!!! CONGRATS and thanks for all the entries. EVERY story
entered was so touching and amazing!

Ashely's story: We have been blessed to live in a country where men are still willing to lay down their life for a stranger. Eleven months ago my younger brother left for Iraq. I saw my family come together and support the decision my brother had made to join the Army. He had always had a desire to serve like his father and grandfather before him. When he signed up, he had no idea the plans that God had for him. Through many situations that he has been thrown into from basic training to going to war, I have seen his faith in God grow. I have seen the values that my parents gave us become the backbone for his deployment.

Before he left (for the war in Iraq) I was five months pregnant and demanded that he be in a family photo shoot! I wanted to put up recent pictures of him, so my daughter would know her uncle and the sacrifice he made for her. It is because of brave men and women that she will grow up in a country where she is free! He will be coming home in August and we will have much to celebrate because August is the month that my daughter will turn one. A free family photo shoot would allow us to capture all of those memories. August will be a good month for us. Thanks! Ashley

Gina's Story: I want to take this opportunity to tell you about my family. My family consists of my 2 1/2 year old son, Malachi, and myself. When I found out that I was pregnant, I felt my world turn upside down. I was on the verge of graduating college and felt the world at my fingertips, until then. I didn't want to be pregnant and I didn't want to be a parent. I prayed and prayed and prayed that God would get me through this situation somehow. Adoption was something I considered for about half of my pregnancy. Then in July, I found out that I was having a little boy. I knew right away what his name would be and that he was going to be mine.

On October 29th, 2006, at 17 minutes after midnight, Malachi Joel came into my world. I asked the three girls that I had in the delivery room to step outside of the room. As I held my little baby for the first time, I told him that it was just the two of us, at least for now. I promised him right then that I would do whatever it took to give him a good life and be the best mom that I could be. Then, for the first time, I prayed with my Malachi. I asked God for strength and direction. I prayed that he would call Malachi to a life of obedience, peace, and honoring him. I have a friend that writes and sings songs. A lyric in one of her songs describes my feelings the moment Malachi was placed in my arms- "I didn't foresee how quickly it would be that I would say, 'what would I have done without you?'"

Today, things are difficult. It is not easy being a single parent in this world. We are getting ready to move back home to my parents' house. But I always tell him that no matter where we are, as long as we are together, we are home.

When I say, "Malachi and Mama," Malachi follows with "What a team!" That's exactly what we are. We need a family photo session to chronical our life as it is right now. I want pictures that show how strong of a team our family really is and the bond shared between us. Thank you for hearing our story!

** All entry participants please check your EMAILS for a nice surprise!!!! **

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