Remembering You.

In honor of Seth, I wanted to share this journal entry again. It wasn’t until after Seth left this earth that we truly understood how unconditional his love was for others. I am thankful for all of those who shared this with us. And this entry, as he writes down the words he hears from God, shares his heart as it emanates the Love of Jesus.

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Jennifer

It's Christmas Eve and soon I will be heading to Uncle Bruce and Aunt Jenn's for our traditional Christmas Eve festivities! There will be delicious food, laughter, eggnog, and of course the exchanging of gifts by the tree.

This year, however, we've started a new tradition. And I'm quite excited about it! Since our family continues to grow, we decided to start a grab bag for gifts for our family 18+. And this year, I was lucky enough to pick my Aunt Jennifer.

 

Aunt Jennifer. She's a beautiful woman, inside and out. I will never forget the day she married my uncle Brucie. Her hair had the most perfect stack of curls! I remember at the age of 11 being in such admiration of her beauty. It was an honor to be a "jr bridesmaid" and get to wear a dress similar to the real bridesmaids. I remember walking down the isle with such a serious face, everyone said to smile! But I was too concentrated on making it down the isle while everyone stared at me. My Uncle Brucie is a special man and I am so glad he found Jennifer!

What I love about Jennifer is that she too has a big heart for family. She may not be a Graci by blood, but she is by love. And it's all just the same. She fits in quite perfectly. She always makes everyone feel welcome. Especially when there is someone new introduced into the family; Aunt Jennifer will go out of her way to make sure they feel comfortable and loved. And, when it comes to family and big family reunions, not only does she open up her home, but she knows who is who in my family better than I do!

Aunt Jennifer always makes sure to ask how you are doing. She is sweet and caring and takes a genuine interest in who you are and what you're doing with your life. She always takes such good care of me when I'm with her. She definitely has that mom quality!

Aunt Jennifer will often be the one to take the lead and get things done in any situation. She is an extremely hard worker. She travels into the city each day by train, working long hours, only to return home and take care of her boys. Not only that but she finds time to take care of herself too. She takes pride in her health, and she's always well dressed. I remember watching the boys when they were little and Aunt Jenn and Uncle Bruce would go out, Aunt Jenn would always ask me how her outfit looked and if she looked like she was trying to hard. You definitely always looked great Aunt Jenn, and you still do! I always love your outfits. I truly admire you for your courage and strength and your approach to life.

I've especially enjoyed the times spent as I got older and being able to go out with my aunts and uncles or enjoy some wine together. Aunt Jennifer is always so much fun. Some of my favorite memories were dancing at the summer BBQs in her backyard; now we can dance together at the club. Haha! I can always count on aunt Jennifer to be on the dance floor with me.

It's no question that she loves her boys with all her heart. Logan and Jake are both sweethearts and have a genuine love for their family the way uncle Bruce and aunt Jenn do.

Aunt Jennifer, I thank you for the love you've shared with me. For always trusting me in your home with your boys and your pups, for your constant encouragement, support and kind words. And for being an awesome role model in so many aspects of life. I love you so much and I am incredibly thankful to have you as my Aunt! 

Bruce & Kathy

"Love is the greatest gift that one generation can leave to another."

 

Family. No two people could have displayed the depths of the importance of this word better than my grandparents. Bruce and Kathy are quite the couple. And I've been lucky enough to have their love in my life since birth.

Being the first grandchild has its perks. Not JUST the first, but the ONLY granddaughter for quite sometime, you might just say I was a little spoiled.

Grandma and grandpa are two of my favorite people. Since I can remember they have always taught me "family first." Grandma and grandpa treasure their children, the word "in-law" is pretty non-existent, they cherish their grandchildren, and their friends they treat as family. It is such an honor and privilege to be loved by them.

 

Growing up I was blessed to spend a lot of time with my grandma and grandpa. Many holidays, birthdays, recitals, just days hanging out at their house, dinners (grandmas cooking is the best), vacations (jersey shore vacations were my favorite), numerous celebrations; they've been there for it all. They have supported me through so much. No matter what I was doing, or what any of their 13 grandchildren were doing, they were and are so present in all of our lives. From plays, to sports games, to recitals and graduations. They didn't miss a moment and they always let us know how proud they are of us.

My favorite was when grandma worked at the dance studio and she and I would often go next door for pizza and a Snapple. It was always so wonderful to see her face at the studio. No matter what kind of day I was having, she always made it better. She was always there for me no matter what. I felt I could talk to her about anything.

 

Grandpa has passed down for me his love for wine. Lately I've really enjoyed visiting for dinner and talking to grandpa over wine. He would tell me stories about his life, ask me about mine and never fail to make me laugh.

Grandma and grandpa are two of the realist people I know. They take pride in who they are and in who we are. They never hesitate to tell you how it is. Something that doesn't come easy to me, but I hope to get better at with time.

Over the past few years both grandma and grandpa faced some troubling times with their health. Grandma is a breast cancer survivor, and grandpa very recently suffered from a stroke. During these times they never left each other's sides. Grandpa and grandma take such good care of one another. Some might say they are stubborn, but sometimes you need to be stubborn to push yourself through. They both have an amazing strength and determination. And it is with this strength and determination that they have overcome their battles together. And when grandpa calls grandma to figure out which shows he needs to watch on tv, or grandma takes hold of Cooper to make sure he doesn't get under grandpa's feet as he's walking to the other room, these moments are truly adorable and they show that their love is not only in the big things but also in the details. The love and devotion they have for one another is undeniable. It's inspiring.

Grandma and Grandpa, I am so blessed and lucky to have you as my grandparents. I hope to one day meet someone to share the same kind of love that you share for one another. Thank you for loving me for who I am, for instilling in me strong family values, and for continuing to want to be a part of my life. Not many grandchildren get to experience their grandparents the way I have experienced you guys, and so I cherish every moment spent with you. I love you.

 

Steven

Not many people can say they have the privilege to come from a family of ten, but I can proudly say I do (and I have probably said that more than once). My loving, and lovely, mom and dad are the proud parents of eight beautiful humans; myself, my six brothers, and our little sister. You have read about my mom, Debra, in the previous post, so I thought it would only be appropriate for me to share with you about Steven, my awesome dad.

 

"From my dad I learned to be good to people, to always be honest and straightforward. I learned hard work and perseverance."

I cannot say that I have perfected all of these traits, but I can say that I learned the value of them from my dad. And I can strive to be just like him. Dad has been an excellent example of hard work and perseverance.

My dad puts his all into everything he does. I will always remember when dad worked at a beauty supply store as the manager. I would love to go there and visit him, especially when he was setting up for big events! I would always get to take home some pretty sweet products, and I had every nail polish color imaginable in my collection. My dad would always proudly introduce me to all of his employees and regular customers. You could tell that they loved him. He would always find something for me to do to help him out and I felt so awesome doing it! My dad has always been so creative and I can proudly say I have inherited those traits from him.  Looking back, I can see now how I am now using his example in my own life as a store manager.

Dad always took such good care of me. He would bring me to "Mommy and Me" when I was little; mom taught, so she couldn't be the "mommy" to my "me," so dad stepped in. As I got older dad would take me to dance classes and art classes. We would drive an hour in traffic every week just to make sure I got my art lessons. Dad knew it was something I was passionate about and he made sure I was able to fulfill those passions. And who knows just how many dance recitals my dad has sat through! Countless. My dad helped me enter into the workforce and unknowingly set the example for my success. He was my confidence when I had very little and he always let me know he was proud.

And that is just me, one child. One out of eight! He did this and more for every single one of us, and 31 years later, he is still doing it.

My dad has always been the provider. He has provided our family with unconditional love, financial support, moral support, protection, guidance, prayer, and so much more. My dad always puts himself last. He makes sure everyone else is taken care of, no matter what that means. Dad has faced many trials, but nothing has stopped him from being driven to provide for and love his family.

Steve, my dad, suffers from epilepsy. Or I should say, he DID, because God is healing him, and its awesome. A few years ago, my dad's medication was no longer preventing him from having seizures, and it caused his life to come to a screeching halt, at least that may have been how it seemed to him. He suddenly was not able to drive, he could no longer work, and he had to begin a long process of healing. He had to let others take care of him. Imagine how difficult that is when you're used to being that person for everyone else. Dad underwent numerous tests and surgery, and had to be dependent on medication. This was a really difficult time for us, and it was not easy to see dad this way. Dad was no longer able to be the provider, or so he felt. But somehow, he still managed to do so. He persevered. He got creative. And he made sure we were all still taken care of, if he couldn't do it, he found someone that could. He did not make my mom work a day, despite how many times she may have pleaded with him to allow her, and he did everything he could to make things easier on her and she in turn took care of him. Fast forward a few years, and here we are, dad is doing better than ever,  seizure free, he's started his own business, can drive, and is continuing to provide for and take care of my family.

Being a dad of eight children, the trials never cease. But dad never gives up. He continues to put his strength in God and love unconditionally and go above and beyond our expectations. And he never loses his "dad" sense of humor!

I could not be more grateful for him. My dad has always been and always will be the protector of my heart. As hard as it was being a teenage girl, I am so thankful for all the ways my dad has put forth his best efforts to be my protector. At 31 years old, I still will always be daddy's little girl. My little sister, Emma, is the luckiest little girl in the world and she doesn't even know it yet!

As I am writing this, I am realizing how I could probably go on and on about my awesome dad, but I will end here for now. Thank you dad for being you. I love you.

Debra

"Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come."

It only seems right to begin with my beautiful mom. Of course I have known her my whole life. My mom is one of the most patient, gentle, and strong humans I know. I aspire to be just like her in so many ways. If you want to meet a real life example of what it looks like to be a "Proverbs 31 woman," spend some time with my momma!

My mom is the eldest of three. She might be quiet, but her presence is always known. And she can laugh. I love it when she laughs.

My mom, is the mother of eight children. Yes, eight. But you would never know it. She has raised us with so much patience, and with an amazing unconditional love. Two girls. Six boys. And my dad, she loves him too, with an unreserved love.

At 31, the oldest of my mom's eight children, I can tell you, she continues to amaze me by how she handles herself. Most people will say she doesn't ever yell, "I have never heard your mom yell." And they wouldn't believe me if I said she did. Although there may have been a time when she did in fact raise her voice, it did not take long before she learned how to become slow to anger, and I can now say, that my mom, she does not yell. She doesn't need to. Her gentleness speaks volumes.31 years of being a mother, you learn a lot, you grow a lot, but the work of a mom is never done.

"She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue."

What I admire about my mom is her thirst for knowledge. She is constantly reading and expanding her knowledge on so many levels. If she is struggling with a situation, she will often find just the right book to help her through. And she always seeks God. She never stops praying. Her faith, it could move giant mountains. My mom is filled with wisdom, so much wisdom, and I don't think she knows it. When any of us eight children seek her advice, she always instructs us with love. She is so gentle with her words, and she thinks before she speaks.

"She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle."

Mom doesn't sleep. I mean, she does when she can. But if one of us are going through something, she is going through it too. And with eight children, this can happen often. There is very rarely an idle moment. And the activities, she made sure we all had a chance to be involved in the activities we loved. She encouraged us to pursue our passions, and she supported us each step of the way.

"Her sons rise up and call her blessed."

It's beautiful to see the love and respect my brothers have for my mom. She will be forever blessed by them.

Mom,

"Many women are capable, but you surpass them all!"  

You are my hero. And I am so thankful that God has blessed me with you. You have passed onto me so many good and wonderful things, but most importantly you've given me a glimpse into the heart of God. And for that I will be forever grateful. I hope to someday live with as much grace as you do. You are beautiful inside and out. I am incredibly blessed! I love you.