Wedding Slideshow

Today we are thankful to our family and friends who poured into our lives before and after our August 22, 2009 wedding day.

And to our great God, who brought us together.
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Texas Heart – Part 30 {Built to Last}

The crickets were chirping as I sat alone on the brick steps of the old plantation home at Pinckney Retreat. It was close to midnight on the eve of our wedding day.

It had been a full and eventful day, beginning with the memorial service for Grant’s dad, and ending in a Texas style rehearsal dinner put on by Grant’s family.

The meal had been what Grant called, “phenomenal” as we were served beef brisket, pork sausage, coleslaw, potato salad, beans and sweet tea. All of Grant’s family had pitched in to make the dinner special, including Grant’s Grammie and Papa, who had smoked all the BBQ for the dinner to ensure it was up to Texas standards.

I don’t think there was a single member of Grant’s family or friends present who weren’t wearing cowboy boots. And even some of the South Carolinians were sporting boots in the wooden lodge where the dinner was held.

I thought about how wonderful the day had been as I sat on the steps waiting for Grant. I was staying the night with my mom at Pinckney Retreat and I had told Grant that I had something that I wanted to give him.

Pinckney Retreat is an old plantation in Beaufort where our wedding reception would be held in less than twenty-four hours.

A canopy of ancient live oak trees draped in Spanish moss covers the long driveway that leads to the plantation home.

The home is fairly small and faces the salt marsh. It was built in 1736 and has amazingly been preserved all these years.

The home survived Sherman’s march through the South because reportedly a Bible had been found hidden under the front porch when Sherman’s troops were preparing to burn it down.

The owner of the home at the time was a minister. He had fled the area with his wife and nine children because of the war.

When one of Sherman’s soldiers came across the Bible, he showed it to the general, who surprisingly, decided not to burn the home.

For years, I had seen the “Pinckney Retreat” sign that hangs at the entrance to the plantation, but I had never been beyond the front gate. It had always been closed to visitors, but had just recently opened up to the public.

Conveniently, the plantation is located just a mile or so from our church.

The first time I saw the inside of the plantation earlier that summer; I fell absolutely in love with it. I had always wanted an outdoor wedding reception, and the natural beauty of the plantation property was everything that I had ever imagined for my wedding.

It perfectly captured the beauty of the Lowcountry that I have grown up loving.

The plantation backs up to the salt marsh, and it looks so much like my parents’ backyard where I grew up.

In fact, my family had originally explored options of having our reception in my parents’ backyard or in a friend’s backyard. We were trying to keep the reception simple to keep costs down, and because we were also going to have a small reception at the church in the fellowship hall immediately following the ceremony.

But when it came down to the logistics of the reception, we realized that a public venue would be more practical.

And when I saw Pinckney Retreat for the first time, I knew it was perfect. I looked at my dad and said, “Please?”

It was the first time I had specifically asked my dad for something in the entire wedding planning process. I was committed to keeping things as simple and budget-conscious as possible.

And while it wasn’t very expensive to rent the retreat, it was more than a free backyard would cost.

I said “please” and my dad said “yes.” I knew he said yes because he knew how much it meant to me. I couldn’t have been happier. It was my dream wedding reception location. I thanked him over and over again.

Of course, my dad didn’t fail to let me know that if I had had sisters, my “dream” Pinckney Retreat wedding reception would not be possible. While I had always wanted a sister, I guess this was one scenario where I was thankful to be an only daughter. My dad only had to pay for one wedding.

As our wedding week approached, there was one thing that this “dream” outdoor location couldn’t accommodate – rain. All week, we had heard reports of predicted rain for Saturday.

We were going to have several white tents on the plantation property, but not enough to cover all our guests if it were to pour.

I prayed and I prayed for sunny weather. Lord, you wouldn’t have provided this perfect outdoors location if it were going to rain, right?

But I couldn’t worry about the weather now, especially the night before my wedding.

I still sat in the glow of the porch light waiting for Grant. I stared out at the salt marsh that was blanketed in darkness except for the few stars glowing above it.

I couldn’t believe that I was getting married in the morning. It was surreal. It was my last night being GraceAnna Broggi. It was bittersweet.

GraceAnna!” Grant called to me as he rounded the porch on the old stone walkway.

“Hi!” I said smiling, suddenly nervous.

“What’s that?” He asked as he looked at the thick envelope that I held in my hands.

To be continued….


To read more about the history of Pinckney Retreat, click here.

Texas Heart – Part 29 {A Firm Hand}

“Dad, I just want you to know how much I love you,” I shared as I burst into tears. My dad and I were riding alone together in the car the afternoon before our wedding rehearsal.

I was so excited to be getting married to Grant, but I also had been holding in so much emotion. There had just been so much change in my life that had happened so quickly and there was much more change to come.

In barely over a year, I had moved officially away from home, started dating Grant, moved back home for the summer to plan our wedding, and was now preparing to marry Grant and move to Japan.

It was a lot. And as wonderful as it was, at times it was hard.

I’m not typically a person that embraces change readily. Once the change has occurred and I’m on the other side of it, I’m great. But it’s the transition part that I’ve always struggled with.

And this was by far the hardest transition of my life. I was getting married and moving very far away from home with a guy that I had only spent around twenty days with in person.

I didn’t have any doubts. Grant’s character and love for me had been proven and I knew that God had brought him into my life. God couldn’t have made that any clearer.

But in a way, I felt like I was saying good-bye to a part of my life that I would never get back again.

I would always be my dad’s daughter, but it wouldn’t be quite the same.

Grant was about to become my husband and replace many of the roles that my father had filled in my life.

The funny thing was, I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. For a long time, I wasn’t sure any guy would ever make it through my dad’s screening process. My dad was so firm when it came to guys that had wanted to date me.

I still remember my “utter devastation” when I was fifteen years old and my dad told the young man who wanted to pursue me (but was moving away) that he could only call me once a month.

Call me once a month? How could he be so unloving? I had thought to myself. When my dad set those guidelines for that “relationship,” I knew even in my immature fifteen year-old head that the relationship would never last.

But my dad knew something that I didn’t: I was too young to get entangled in a serious dating relationship.

When I was in college, I had the freedom to go on dates and spend time with different Christian guys. But in the back of my mind I would always think, “What would my dad think of this guy?” or “Could this guy talk theology with my dad? Or politics or finances with my brothers?”

I didn’t want to marry a clone of my dad or brothers, but I wanted to marry a guy who sure was a lot like them.

They had set a standard of character that I needed my future husband to meet.

But while I often thought that the high standard and strict rules that my dad had set for me were frustrating; now that Grant was in my life, I realized how good they really were.

Because that’s what a loving father does – a loving father protects his children. And that’s what our heavenly Father does for us. Sometimes God’s standards from His word seem hard. And following Him isn’t always easy, but it’s always for our good.

As we follow His will for our lives and pursue Him with all of our hearts, we find a deep, satisfying joy that nothing else could ever give us.

One time in high school, when I was upset about a relationship that didn’t work out, my mom told me something that I have never forgotten. She told me that if God “meant it to be,” that I didn’t have to force the circumstances, but that one day God would bring that guy back into my life.

Trusting the simple truth that God is in control and sovereign over the circumstances in our lives, keeps us as Christians from wondering constantly about all the “what ifs?”

What if I had married my high school sweetheart? Or, what if I hadn’t married my high school sweetheart? What if I had gone to college? What if I had only been at the right place at the right time . . .maybe then I wouldn’t be single? Or, if I hadn’t been at the right place at the right time, maybe I wouldn’t have married this person?

I’m so thankful that when we walk with the Lord, we don’t have to live in a world of “what ifs?” Whatever mistakes we may have made in the past, or wrongdoings that were made against us, we can say with Joseph from the Old Testament, “God meant it for good.”

So, as I sat next to my dad that day in the car, I was so thankful. I was thankful that because of his protection, I was now marrying someone truly amazing.

Grant Castleberry was my new standard.

“GraceAnna,” my dad replied with tears in his eyes, “I love you too. You are going to do great.”

I took a deep breath. My dad was telling me the words I needed to hear to have the emotional strength to take this new and unknown step in my life.

My whole life he had protected me until the right guy came along, and now he was about to give me away.

To be continued…

Texas Heart -Part 28 {No Compromise}

It was pretty hot outside as Grant and I stood with our families around Grant’s father’s memorial marker in the Beaufort National Cemetery.


Thankfully, the giant live oaks around us provided some shade from the midday heat.

Both sides of our families were there for the small memorial service Grant had planned in honor of his father on the day before our wedding.

Everyone chatted until Grant’s voice broke the conversations as he welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming.

“I thought since everyone was in town this weekend, it would be a great time to get together and remember my dad and honor his life,” Grant began.

“What I want to spend a few minutes talking about today is the importance of finishing the Christian life well. The great apostle Paul said at the end of his life in 2 Timothy 4:7,  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.’

A lot of people start the Christian life well, but they fail to finish well.

The Christian life is a journey,” Grant continued, “Just like John Bunyan talked about in his classic story, ‘Pilgrim’s Progress.’”

We are constantly faced with challenges and hardships that test our faith.

To help us run the race well, I think it’s important for us to remember other Christians who have lived their lives fully for Christ.

And that’s why I want to remember my dad today. I know he wasn’t a perfect man, as some of you here can attest.” Grant cast a smile over at Kelly’s brother and sister who were present.

“But my dad did live a life of faith until the very end. He left me a godly legacy, and for that, I’m so thankful.”

I could see tears starting to well up in Grant’s eyes as he spoke.

“There have been so many people who have come up to me throughout the years and have told me how much of an impact my dad made in their lives.”

Grant then held up a picture frame that he had been holding by his side, “I’d like to pass this photograph around and just share a quick story about my dad for those of you who didn’t know him.”

Grant handed the picture frame to my dad who was standing next to him, and it slowly started to make its way around the group as Grant began to share his story.

As y’all know, my dad was an F-4 pilot in the Marine Corps. One weekend his squadron had a mandatory function at a beach house in N.C. The pilots were told not to bring their wives because they would be receiving their call signs.

After the weekend was over, when my dad arrived home to my mom, she could tell he was upset. My mom asked him what was wrong. He went on to explain how awful the function was. The function turned wild, and unbeknownst to him, strippers were brought into the party.

My mom asked him what he did. My dad went on to explain that since he couldn’t leave since it was a mandatory function, he sat in one corner of the room all evening with his hand over his eyes.

‘Seriously… that’s what you did?’ My mom had asked; not because she didn’t believe him, but just because it was hard to believe that he was able to do that in a crowded party with so much temptation. But my dad told her that he had.

After my dad died, someone gave my mom this photograph that I have here with me today.”

The picture reached me and I looked at the photograph that I had seen once before. It was a picture of his dad at the party. While you can’t see the strippers, you can see Grant’s dad in the back of the room, with his hand over his eyes.

I looked over at Grant’s family as he shared. I didn’t see a dry eye. Kelly hadn’t just been Grant’s dad; he had been a brother, a son, a husband, a son-in-law, a brother-in-law, and a friend to those who stood there.

“I share this story with you,” Grant continued, “because it’s a classic example of some of the challenges that we as Christians face on a daily basis. But just like my dad, God will give us the grace to respond like Christ.”

Grant’s voice was heavy with emotion, the way it often gets when he talks about his dad, and I could no longer see him clearly through my own blur of tears.

“That’s all I wanted to share today. Thank you so much for coming.”

Grant then asked a childhood friend of Kelly, Cliff, who was in town for the wedding, to share a few stories about his dad.

After Cliff shared, my dad closed in prayer. He thanked God for Kelly’s life and for the godly legacy that he had left Grant and all of us. He prayed that all of us would live our lives fully for Christ until the end.

It was a short service, and maybe what some people might think was an odd thing to do on a weekend of joyful wedding festivities. But I knew that what my soon-to-be husband shared that day not only brought honor to his dad, but it brought honor to Christ.

It hadn’t been easy for Grant to open up to everyone and share his thoughts about his dad. But he had felt like God had wanted him to do it, and I loved him even more for that.

I smiled as I thought about the legacy that Kelly had left for Grant. But what made me smile more was that even though Kelly died when Grant was just a toddler, Grant had become so much like him.

Grant’s life could have been so different if his dad hadn’t been a strong Christian. His dad could have died, leaving no legacy at all. Grant could have been just another sad fatherless child statistic.

But God was faithful. And just like the verse says that Grant’s mom had clung to and taught Grant ever since he was little, God is a “father to the fatherless.”

He had provided Grant with another father who raised Grant the way that he thought Kelly would have wanted Grant to be raised.

And now, as I watched Grant stand there as a grown man, I realized that God had brought things full circle.

He had done what He always does, He had worked all things together for good.

Everyone was talking again and sharing stories as people began dispersing from the service.

“Hey, are you okay?” Grant asked me as he walked over to me and noticed my tear streaked face.

“I’m great.” I said, as I grasped his hand.

Grant smiled at me and then said, “I’m going to go get some BBQ with the guys. See you tonight at the rehearsal.”

I took a deep breath. “See you tonight.”


To be continued. . .


Texas Heart – Part 27 {No Empty Words}

I sat in the passenger seat of my car as Grant drove down the long oyster shell road that led to his dad’s memorial marker in the Beaufort National Cemetery.

It was August 21st, the day before our wedding, and Grant had planned a special memorial service in honor of his father. It was the first time all of his family had been back in Beaufort since the first memorial service that was given for his dad the year after his plane crash.
Grant had just flown in from Japan the day before. 
The two months of summer between our trip to Alaska and our wedding had been really busy for me.
It had been a stressful and wonderful summer all at the same time. It was stressful when I thought about all that needed to be done in preparation for our wedding and my new life with Grant, but wonderful as I saw God work out all the details for everything.
I felt overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity that so many people from our church showed my family. There was no way to properly thank everyone who offered to help.
From the flowers, the food, the music, the invitations, the photography, the cake, and even down to the young people who offered to be servers at our reception, the kindness of our friends was more than we could have imagined. And I could go on and on.
I knew that our wedding was going to be wonderful because of all the people who were giving of their time and talents.
And I knew that I didn’t deserve any of it.
But the beauty of all those things could not compare with the excitement I felt over the vows that Grant and I were about to make to one another.
I have always felt that the aesthetic adornments of a wedding find their true beauty when they are not ends in themselves, but when they are reflections of a deeper beauty.
And that deeper beauty was the covenant that Grant and I were about to make before God. It was the answered prayers of our parents. It was our thankfulness to God that He had been preparing our hearts for one another long before we ever knew it. It was a day to acknowledgement His perfect gift of giving us each other, so that we could serve Him together.
I so wanted our friends and family who attended our wedding to sense that deeper beauty. I wanted them to feel God’s presence at our ceremony. And Grant and I both wanted every aspect of our wedding day to point to Christ – the One who had saved us and given us a purpose for living.
Because of that, Grant and I put a lot of thought into planning our ceremony.
One thing that we are extremely thankful for is that both sets of our parents have marriages that reflect Christ and that they have been faithful to the vows that they made on their wedding day (including Grant’s dad, Kelly, and his father now, Preston).
After much thought, Grant and I chose to use the same vows that my mom and dad had written for their ceremony when they got married in 1980.
We also chose two “special music” songs for our ceremony. The first song was one that Grant and I had both grown up loving. It was Keith Green’s “Make My Life a Prayer to You.”  When I was a freshman in college, I had written out the lyrics to this song as a prayer in the front cover of my Bible.
When Grant and I were dating, he told me that he used to listen to that same song over and over again in high school. The song became even more special to us when we realized that God had used it in both of our lives separately.
We also chose a song that was been sung at my parent’s wedding called, “I Could Never Promise You.” The song speaks of how we can never love one another in marriage the way that we should without Christ’s strength.
We were also including something in the ceremony that was important to us in another way.
It was Grant’s father’s wedding band. It was the band that his mom, Susan, put on Kelly’s finger on their wedding day in 1983 when they promised to love and be faithful to one another until death parted them.
When they got married, I know neither of them ever imagined that death would visit their marriage so soon. But it did.
But even in three short years of marriage, Kelly and Susan demonstrated a life of faithfulness to one another and to Christ.
I knew Grant was honored and excited to wear his dad’s wedding band, even now, 23 years after his death.
Grant and I had already engraved our wedding date next to his parents on the inside of the ring.
It was a reminder to both of us that we were to love one another until death separated us.
I looked over at Grant as we were nearing the end of the oyster shell road that led to his father’s memorial marker.
I could see that the cars of most of our family members were already parked under the giant live oaks that grow throughout the cemetery.
Grant parked the car. We sat there for a moment.
“Are you okay?” I asked Grant.
“Yeah, I’m fine. This is just a big day for me.”
Grant was serious and I could tell he was holding back emotion.
“GraceAnna, I know God took my dad to heaven for a reason, but sometimes it’s hard. I just wish he could be here.”
Grant and I both smiled, knowing that we wouldn’t be in the cemetery if his dad were alive, but I knew what he meant. He wished his dad could be there for our wedding.
Of course, Grant doesn’t mean that he would want to change anything about his family life now. He has the best family in the world, but it doesn’t mean that he somehow wishes that his dad could be here.
“Grant, your dad would be so proud of you. I know you are going to honor him today in such a special way. And in doing so, you will honor Christ. I’m praying for you.”
“Thanks, GraceAnna.” Grant took a deep breath and opened the car door.
To be continued . . .

Texas Heart Part 26 {The Last Good-bye}

Grant and I stood in the giant airplane hanger on Elmandorf Air Force Base in Alaska. Grant was about to board a C-130 with his marines and fly to Fairbanks to conduct another Marine Corps exercise.
His time in Anchorage was over, and so was our time together. My flight was leaving Anchorage later that evening.
As we stood in the hanger, it was difficult to hear each other over the loud roar of the airplane engines.
I looked at Grant as he stood there in his camouflage and combat boots. I could tell by his serious expression on his face that his mind was already engaged on the work he had ahead of him. That was something that I would understand more fully later – how my Marine husband would say good-bye to me long before he actually left. Whether it was just for a few days or a few months, he would get focused on the work ahead of him and couldn’t relax until it was over.
 I felt a lump form in my throat as we stood there. I hated saying good-bye.
The next time I would see Grant would be at our wedding in two months. After our wedding, I knew my life would be so different. I would no longer be a single woman under my dad’s protection. I would be a Marine Officer’s wife; and in the future, a seminary student’s wife, and eventually a Pastor’s wife. I didn’t know where that would take us, or the challenges that it would bring. I just knew everything was about to change.
Planning and looking ahead to our future was something that we had talked a lot about the past week we had been together in Alaska. 
Our first year of marriage was going to be far from typical. After we got married and went on our honeymoon, Grant would immediately be starting a very intense training school in Yuma, Arizona.
Normally, husbands don’t bring their wives to this school because the hours that they work are so long, and it’s only 2 1/2 months long. But because we would be newly married and establishing ourselves as a married couple, Grant wanted to bring me with him, and I wanted to go.
He had already found a small one-bedroom apartment just a few minutes from base. After our time in Yuma, we would fly straight to Japan. We would be there for a few months before Grant had to leave on a deployment. I would most likely fly back to the states while he was away.
Needless to say, our first year of marriage was going to include a ton of traveling. I knew that living out of a suitcase wasn’t going to be easy. I couldn’t deny that it scared me a little bit to know that there were so many “unknowns” about our future in the Marine Corps.
But one thing I did know was that the man that stood before me loved me with all his heart and was committed to providing for me for the rest of my life.
After all, that’s what he had told me in his third or fourth letter to me after we had started dating. After just a few months, Grant had told me that he wanted to marry me, provide for me, raise a family with me, do ministry with me, and take care of me for as long as God gave me breath on this earth.
And when I read those words in that letter that day, I knew he meant every single one of them.
“GraceAnna, I hate saying good-bye to you.” Grant spoke loudly so that I could hear him over the engine noise. “Listen, don’t be sad because next time I see you, we won’t have to say good-bye anymore because you are going to become my wife!”
Grant leaned close to me and whispered, “Sure wish I could kiss you right now.” We had decided months before to wait until our wedding day to share our first kiss.
So instead Grant squeezed my hands, looked at me, and said, “Babe, I’ve got to go.”
I watched as he slowly backed away, still facing me, then turned and started jogging towards the C-130 where the other Marine were waiting.
Our time in Alaska together had been so good for us. In fact, now the number of days we had spent together was up to over twenty total.
Grant was with the other marines now and I tried to distinguish him amidst the camouflage.
Then I saw him raise his hand to get my attention. He flashed one last smile at me before boarding the plane.
As I got in the car, I watched as the grey C-130 made it’s way down the runway. I prayed that God would bring Grant safely back to South Carolina in August.
I knew I couldn’t bare life without him.
To be continued…

Texas Heart Part 25 {Who Says You Can’t Go Home?}

“Grant!” I whispered loudly through the tent flap.

We were camping in Seward, Alaska with friends of family and it was sometime in the middle of the night.  I had to use the bathroom and the bathroom buildings were about a quarter of a mile down the road. I was afraid to walk there alone.

Grant, I need to go to the bathroom!” I whispered again. Please, oh please wake up! I thought to myself.

I heard him stir and mumble something.

I waited in the semi-darkness a few more moments and then realized Grant wasn’t waking up. Since we weren’t married, I didn’t feel comfortable going into his tent and waking him up in the middle of the night.

I sighed and looked down the gravel road where the bathroom was located. I knew I couldn’t wait until morning. I had to go.

I worked up my courage and started walking. Thankfully, since it was summer in Alaska, it was still pretty light.

I saw a few campfires glowing in the distance as I approached the bathrooms. I went as quickly as possible and half-ran back towards our tents, looking around for any sign of bears.

I did it! I did it! I chanted to myself.

As I rounded the last corner before our tents, I saw the dog. He was standing in the middle of the road – the road that I needed to walk down to get back to our campsite.

I froze in fear.

Ever since I was a little girl I have been afraid of dogs. I like friendly dogs once I get to know them, but whenever I see a dog I don’t know, I always jump with a twinge of fear.

When I was around seven or eight years old, my brothers and I used to spend a lot of time on a plantation near our home that some friends of ours live on.

There were lots of dogs on the plantation. Whenever they would come near and bark, I would get so scared that our babysitter, Sarah, would let me ride on her back.

It probably didn’t help that around that same time I watched a Little House on the Prairie episode where a pack of wild dogs ran rampant all over the small prairie town, hurting people and killing animals.

So, that night in Alaska, I flinched and stood still and stared at the dog that most certainly was wild and was preparing to attack.

Then my fears came true. He growled at me.

Oh no! Lord, please save me! I prayed.

I could already see the headlines: South Carolina girl mauled to death by a wild dog at Alaskan campground. 

It would be the type of thing where people would read it and say, “What was that girl doing out there anyway? She should know better than to be alone in the Alaskan wilderness.”

Then suddenly, the dog stopped growling and started wagging his tail at something around the bend that I couldn’t see.

Then I heard a voice say, “Hey boy” to the wild dog.

I let out a sigh as I waited for the dog’s owner to round the bend. I guess he’s not wild after all.

Then I saw the cowboy boots.

Grant smiled a sleepy smile at me as he rounded the corner.

The dog quietly trotted away.

He must have realized that he no longer had easy prey.

My hero! I almost exclaimed aloud.

“GraceAnna, what are you doing out here? You shouldn’t have come out here alone!”

“Oh, I know that now.” I said as I ran up to him and grabbed his hand.

Grant smiled again. “It took me a few minutes to realize that I wasn’t dreaming when you tried to wake me up.”


“I’m just so glad you woke up and saved me from that awful dog!” 


“That old mutt?” Grant asked smiling.


“Grant!”


Grant smiled as he squeezed my hand and we approached the campsite.


“GraceAnna, get some rest. It’s still a few hours until morning.”


 “And hey,” Grant added as I started to climb back into the tent.

 I turned and looked back at him.

You’re doing pretty good out here. You’ve almost made it through the night.” He said with a wink.

I zipped up my sleeping bag and closed my eyes. I hoped that I wouldn’t have to use the bathroom again before morning.

 I also hoped that I was just imagining that I felt sick.

————————————-

I sat in the truck half-crying. It was the next morning and it was rainy and cold.

“GraceAnna, I’m taking you back to Anchorage and that’s that.” Grant said matter-of-factly.

But Grant it will ruin the trip and everyone will think I’m leaving because I’m a big baby”

“It doesn’t matter what people think, GraceAnna. You are running a fever and you don’t need to stay another night outside.”

I knew Grant was right,  but I felt like I was chickening out of the camping trip.

I had so wanted to be brave and adventurous and stay out there the whole weekend like everyone else.

I had wanted to do something I’d never done before.

But I had woken up that morning feeling worse and running a fever.

I couldn’t deny it, I was miserable. And now it was raining and everything was wet.

“I’m going to talk to everyone and let them know I have to take you back, okay? They will understand.”

Grant got out of the truck and explained the situation to the families we were camping with.

They were so gracious. And no one said anything about me being a baby. At least that I could hear.

As we were heading to the truck to leave, Grant said, “Wait!” 

“What?” I asked.

“Let’s go back into your tent. I want to take a picture of something.”

I crawled back in the tent.

“Now sit right in front of your pallet. Yes, right there.” Grant said as I stooped over where I had slept the night before.

Grant snapped a picture. “Yep, just wanted to take this shot for proof that you slept outside.”

“Thanks, Grant. That will be a wonderful photo.” I said with a hint of sarcasm.

A few minutes later we were heading back to Anchorage in the warm truck.

I was already starting to feel better.

Now GraceAnna, we are going to get you well.” Grant said matter-of-factly. “I’m going to feed you a good meal, you are going to get some good sleep, and we are going to kill this fever!”

 I stared out the window as long as I could at the beautiful Alaskan mountains, but before I knew it, the thought of a warm bed that night, plus the effects of the tylenol lulled me to sleep.

“GraceAnna, wake up!” Grant’s voice awakened me.

I sat up. We were in an IHOP parking lot.

“Time for a good meal.” Grant explained.

Once inside, I stared at the menu. “I don’t really know what to get.” I said. “I never eat here.”

“You never eat here? You are really missing out! I’ll order for you.” Grant placed the order with the waitress and before I knew it there were pancakes, bacon, eggs, and hash-browns in front of me.

“Eat it all.” Grant told me.

I did.

When we left, I was already feeling so much better.

See, GraceAnna, I know you. You were just run-down from your trip out here, the time-change, and the lack of sleep. Now let’s get you to bed and you’ll be as good as gold.

Grant dropped me off at the family’s house that I was staying at.

“Get some sleep,” he said as he let me go inside.

The house was empty and we were alone.

But Grant said good-night.

I climbed in bed and and drifted off to sleep thinking about how thankful I was that I had a man who took care of me. He was already protecting and providing for me.

He got me out of the Alaskan wilderness, fed me his version of a good meal, and now I was in a warm bed instead of camping in the wet and cold.

And even though he could have taken advantage of the opportunity to be alone with me, he didn’t.

Lord, thank you for Grant Castleberry, was the last thing I thought before falling asleep.

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to be continued…