Our first Christmas together, my husband, Marc, asked if the boys and I would like to go look at Christmas lights. My sons were excited as we traveled through Sherwood Park, a neighborhood known for its hospitable Holiday spirit. Most houses were lit up with mechanical decorations, their sidewalks were lined with luminaries, music played outside, and the residents waved and called, “Merry Christmas” to the long line of cars weaving through their streets to take it all in.
My husband reached for my hand and smiled back at the two little boys, six and four, that I’d brought into our relationship. “Wouldn’t it be nice to live here one day?”
I still can feel the warmth in my heart as I think about his words. As a once confirmed batchelor, I knew Marc never gave much thought to where he would live, but things had changed for him. He had two sons who needed a good school, and where we lived then was not in the best of districts. We were running out of ploys to keep them in the school nearest to Sherwood Park.
Fast forward a couple of months. Marc and I found ourselves looking at house after house to purchase on a limited budget, but we couldn’t find the one we wanted. Finally, the real estate agent pulled up in front of a house on Ayshire Drive in Sherwood Park. From the outside, the house was beautiful, but we were a little doubtful that we could afford it.
When our oldest son jumped out of the car, he noticed friends from school playing in the streets around us. His excitement grew, and I was afraid that we would have to disappoint him.
Then I went through the house. It was open and spacious. The bathrooms were larger than any I’d seen in a house that size. The boys could share a room or each have their own, although, I knew what that decision would be. I fell in love with the place.
The house was a little more than we’d expected, but the real estate agent had some good news for us. The mortgage had a rare, “assumable without qualifying” tag on it, which meant as long as we stayed within our budget, we didn’t have to qualify for a larger loan.
While the boys chattered about the new house in the neighborhood where their friends lived, Marc, in his quiet unassuming way, studied our options. He was getting ready to head out of town, and we hadn’t made a decision—or so I thought.
The day he had to leave, I was late getting home and picking up the boys from daycare. We rushed to our apartment, and I was disappointed. Marc’s car was gone. He’d already left for the airport. Deflated, I gathered our belongings and ushered the kids toward the door where I found a note taped to the door. “Your new home is located on Ayshire Drive. I love you, Marc.” He’s signed the contract to purchase the house as a surprise for us.
I cried as I read this love note to me. You see, it wasn’t about the house. Any home would have done for me. In those few little words, my husband showed not only the depth of his love for his wife, he also showed me how much he loved the sons I brought into the marriage.
We lived on Ayshire Drive for seventeen years, making precious family memories there. And each Christmas our family would decorate our home to the hilt, place the luminaries along the drive, and we’d stand outside waving to all the visitors driving through our neighborhood, and I still never cease counting the man blessings that came when God brought Marc Lamb into my life.
Michael’s fiancée, Issie Putnam, was brutally attacked and Michael was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he’s home to set things right.
Two people stand in his way: Issie’s son, Cole, and a madman.
Can Michael learn to love the child Issie holds so close to her heart and protect him from the man who took everything from Michael so long ago?