On Saturday, June 18th, my brother Mark graduated from Marine Boot Camp in San Diego, California. Although I wasn't able to go see his graduation, I was thinking about him that entire day and thanking God for this great accomplishment! My parents flew down and spent the weekend there, enjoying the wonderful opportunity to have a small vacation while celebrating this momentous occasion.
After floating by with no direction in life for several years, Mark made steps to turn his life around including the decision to join the Marines. It was a difficult process, and it seemed that each time Mark went to see the recruiter he would be given something new to accomplish before they would accept him. But Mark could not be swayed. (Ever hear of a man's one track mind?!!) He went back to school, got his GED, and took a semester of college credits, taking tough classes and earning excellent grades. Then he got the unexpected call that he would be sent to boot camp six months earlier than planned! While we missed him while he was gone, we had no doubt he would succeed. My brother thrives on challenges and risks (which makes his Mama very nervous!). After thirteen weeks of tremendous difficulty, Mark graduated and was given a week leave to come home and visit before moving on to North Carolina to be trained as an military electrician.
We were thrilled to have him home, and many family events were planned. Of course, Mom made him all of his favorite meals (don't ask how the chocolate cookies I made him turned out!), and we repeated our annual Mother's Day softball game and hike that he missed in May.
I'm so proud of my brother for this great achievement, and I'm excited to watch him continue on in his training. One of the best things about having him home for that week was listening to him talk about his goals for the future. He brought out two slips of paper that he had "laminated" himself with packaging tape. He had penciled on these sheets the steps he needs to take to open up a Bed & Breakfast when he gets out of the Marines. You should hear all that he has planned! The ideas kept growing and growing as he spoke! But just to hear his dreams and plans is a miracle considering the place he was a couple years ago. We are all praising God for the work He is doing in my brother's life. Congratulations, Mark! I love you!
|First time Mark met his new niece Selah|