Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood

"The D's want us to come to dinner on Monday night," Brian and Lois said after church that Sunday evening in Louisiana.

Maureen; a BYU graduate who was assaulted while working as a prison guard, boyfriend of Sherry, Carter; Sherry - age 14; Gail, the wonderful cook of the evening's food and patient wife listening to stories she must have heard many times; Bella - age 4; Mike - story teller extraordinaire (Oh, how I wish I had taped some of his stories...they are just incredible...like when he was interviewed by Maria Shriver for CNN...he has pictures to prove it!); Karen - age 17; Austen -age 6

How could I have ever guessed that it would be one of the most memorable evenings I would ever spend?

The food was delicious; the family wonderful; the jokes silly; the music entertaining.

But, oh, the stories Mike told.

 I have never laughed so hard in my life about

"I'm a Mormon!" and the Ku Klux Klan.

Their story is gut-wrenching; their lives a challenge.

Their oldest daughter - after graduating from BYU and marrying, but later divorcing a husband who suffered from PTSD - was a guard in a California prison; she was attacked and her head beat against the wall; thus, she is like a child and is unable to care for her two daughters, so she lives in a small home on the property, but her parents care for her teen-age daughters.  Their youngest daughter died at age 34 of Lou Gehrig's disease and so the parents are the primary care-givers for the two young children (Although their father comes home from his truck driving job on Friday to spend two days with them.)  Their youngest son is in jail, but will get out in November.  They have two other sons who are doing well; one is a bishop in California.

Yet, through it all

LOVE and ACCEPTANCE and JOY shine through.

Thank you, D's, for reminding us that - even in the midst of affliction - there can be laughter and that sharing with others increases our happiness!

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