Today is my 54th birthday. It’s 8:30 AM on the East Coast and I have gotten probably a dozen Happy Birthday wishes from my friends around the country on Facebook. And better yet, I have received birthday wishes from the three most important people in my life – my wife and two little girls. I don’t say this to brag or toot my own horn, I say it because I am a lucky man. Lucky enough that when I came to Maine four and a half years ago, I had planned on staying a week, maybe two. Heather and Isabella shot that plan to hell. And I’m glad they did. At age 49 I found the woman who would become my wife and the daughter I thought I’d never have. It was love at first sight…….with Isabella. (it took me a while to get used to Heather πŸ™‚ ) Isabella was then a little girl without a Daddy and I was a Daddy without a little girl, so it worked out just right. The Lord works in mysterious ways and all that…The Lord continued to bless me when about a month after I got here, I had a premonition. I told Heather that she needed to go get a home pregnancy test. She did and she was. Nine months later, February 1, 2007 to be exact, Bailey Elizabeth came kickin’ and screamin’ into this world. All 8 lbs 10 oz of her. That’s her in the photo above – Daddy’s little girl reaching for life and I was right there to see it all. Don’t tell anyone, but I cried. Tears of joy. Here I was at 50 years old with not only one little girl, but two little girls. Talk about your Lord working in mysterious ways! Why would the Almighty God bless me of all people when I had done so little, if anything for Him? I failed Him in so many ways, yet He loved me enough to give me a such a gift as my new kids and Heather. Fatherly love, I suppose. And I ain’t complainin’. What’s to complain about? Not a damn thing. I also have two adult sons, Trey and Toby, who have grown into young men that any father would be proud of. And nobody is more proud of them than dear old Dad. Now we get to Heather. Heather is 19 years younger than I am and somehow she saw something in me that she allowed me to marry her. I was a single, middle aged man with no intentions of ever getting married again, but Heather changed all that. She took an old, worn out heart and gave it life and purpose.Thank you, Heather. I love you. Dearly. She even let’s me go fishin’ sometimes! πŸ™‚ Many of you who read this blog know my Mom, Sharon. She’s a firecracker, that one. She’s now 72 years old and still kickin’ ass (mostly mine) when needed and she’s always taking names.She has been the most influential person in my life. There for me when my life was, shall we say, a mess? Every.Single.Time. She gave me a soft place to fall when I could have easily crashed on the rocks. At 54 now, I’m still her bouncin’ baby boy. I love you, Mom. Dad, it’s hard to believe that it’s been six years. I wish you were here to see all the new grand kids. There’s a passel of ’em. I love you, Dad. And friends? I have so many friends who’ve stood by me through the tough times, I can’t name them all. A few names , do however, stand out in the crowd. First and always first is Tommy Thompson. Tommy was my brother. Not by blood, but by spirit. Tommy, I miss you , man and I love you. Save me a seat at the Heavenly Bar, will ya? Mark Duggan, you’re the best. I love you , brother. And there’s Doreen Bob. The only Italian-Jew (inside joke, right Miraglia-berg?) I’ve ever known.I love you, Doreen Bob. It has been my good fortune and privilege  to call you friend. I know are many more friends I don’t have listed, but please know that each of you have touched my life in your own unique way and I thank you for it.  I have tears in my eyes as I type this now. Not tears of sadness and despair as I have felt so many times in my life. Tears of gratitude and humility. Thanks to God, Who for whatever reason, has given me so much more in this life than I deserve. I am a blessed and humbled man as I survey all the treasures in my life. God bless you all. You have my undying friendship and love.

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