A Letter To My Step-Dad

A Letter To My Step-Dad

You're pretty much Captain America.
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Dear Step-Dad,

I’m not going to lie, I was a little anxious when you married my mother. I had never really thought about my mom actually getting remarried and was a little nervous when our little family of three turned into a family of five, and eventually six. Although I knew you, I felt like there was a lot more I needed to learn before I “approved” of you, and I honestly wasn’t too sure if I wanted to “approve” of you…in the beginning.

Eleven years later, I truly believe you are a superhero. Not only have you served our country, but you have made a significant impact on our family. You have joined four children and helped us adapt to life together. You have taken my brother and me in as your own and raised my little sister to be a beautiful, smart young lady as well as helping her come to terms with some of her circumstances. You are so active in your church and I’m so proud of the work that you do there. You work so hard at everything you do and when you decided to go back to school, I watched you work tirelessly to study and maintain excellent grades. Even then you continued to do yard work, take care of our family, and do anything else that needed to be done in between. You’re funny, smart, and some would even say you favor Captain America.

You work hard and are an excellent family man, but you are also the best thing that has ever happened to my mother. It makes me happy to know that I don’t have to look further than you to see how a man should treat a woman. It makes me happier to know that even though I am away at school, I know that you will be there if my mom needs anything, is having a bad day, or is just tired. Even if you aren’t having the greatest day, you will stop everything to do anything that needs to be done and to put a smile on my mother’s face. And for these things I cannot thank you enough. Please never lose that spark with her; it really is the greatest part of your marriage.

Most of all, the impact you have made on my life is so important to me. You have taught me how to stand on my own and make all of those financial decisions I could never do alone. You continually encourage me to do the best I can in school and to never give up on what I want, not matter how crazy it might sound at the time. You have taught me how to shoot a gun, clean it, and how important it is to have pride in your country no matter what. You have taken a young, broken girl and turned her into a woman that is ready to take on life head-on. You have taught me so much about myself and life that I didn’t know. Most of all, you have always called me daughter.

Thank you for everything, Jim.

Love,
Your Daughter

Cover Image Credit: Jennifer McKinney

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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14 Things You Relate To If You Grew Up WithOUT Any Cousins

*GASP* "What, you really don't have any cousins?"

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It always shocks every person who hears me state that I do not have any cousins. For some reason, this is just hard for people to really believe when it's actually not something impossible. I think we are all just so used to large families that it sounds weird when people say that they have no cousins. Yet, it is definitely a potential reality, and actually impossible if each of your parents is the only child to your grandparents.

Here are 14 things that you can relate to if you grew up without any cousins.

1. Nobody believes you when you say that you don't have any cousins

I'm serious, for the tenth time.

2. Your grandparents spoil you

With no other grandchildren to worry about, it's pretty easy to do.

3. You don't understand when people say that cousins are your first best friends

My best friend was my first best friend.

4. You and your siblings are always the youngest people at family events

This was simultaneosuly a good thing and a bad thing.

5. You get all of the attention at holidays

Since you're the youngest one around, then distant relatives are always doting over you.

6. Everything you do is deemed awesome by your extended family because there is nobody to compete with

It's much easier to be praised when you aren't being compared to someone similar to your age.

7. You don't know how to hold babies

You're never around them so why would you?

8. Family photos are pretty easy to coordinate

The less people, the easier.

9. Other family members spoil you just because 

Afterall, you are the only kid around...

10. The family will make comments regarding the potential for you to have a cousin as a justification for why they aren't doing something for you

When you hear, "I can't buy you too much because someday your aunt is going to have kids and I will have to do the same for them" you cringe and just had to know that all of the attention wouldn't last forever.

11. Birthdays are always a big deal

A perk of not having very many to remember.

12. If your parents' siblings own pets, then you refer to the animal as your cousin

Cat cousins, dog cousins, lizard cousins, and fish cousins can be pretty cool, actually.

13. Sometimes you dream of marrying into a big family

This is to ensure that your kids do grow up with cousins.

14. You appreciate the closeness of your tight-knit fam

Maybe the only thing you would miss if you had a big family is the opportunity to develop such close bonds with the few relatives that you do have.

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