Sunday, September 12, 2010


I have been trying to decide if and how to share this story for a while but I feel like it needs to be shared.   I hope I do it justice. 

My family is well known in the little town where I grew up. Well known for being a huge Catholic farming family.   There are so many members my family, that had its start on this beautiful hill, that it is sometimes joked that everyone around the county is a cousin.  

We gather often to celebrate life and family.  Often great laughter is shared during our gatherings. 

I am the 2nd youngest cousin on the Hein side of our family.  This puts me in the middle of multiple generations.  My 1st cousins are around 20 years older than I am so I end up being closer in age to their children.  When I was younger and first started to babysit I was able to babysit for my cousin's Doug.  He and his wife Kathy have two of the cutest little girls ever.  Tiffany was a great first babysitting job because she never stopped talking.  Never a moment to remember you were pretty much alone in the middle of a field in a big ole farm house.  Tiffany and her little sister Natalie were always special little cousins to me.  Well over the years we all grew up.  Its funny how that happens with out anyone noticing. 

As you can see Doug and Kathy have a beautiful family.  The girls are all grown up and they have two sons to add to the mix.  Well, Natalie's Joe was the second of the boys to be added to family.  Natalie, the daughter of a wheat farmer moved to Iowa to become the Queen of a corn farm, well maybe the princess.

This cute couple was married yesterday. 

Several months ago Natalie had asked if Riley would be the ring bearer at her wedding.  How fun that my son would be the ring bearer.  Tiffany and Natalie lit candles at our wedding.  They were Jr high and High school age so I don't think they would have gone for the throwing of the petals job.    I don't know if Natalie ever thought twice about Riley having Down syndrome but it certainly warmed my heart that she would ask him to be in her wedding.  I've worried and worried about Riley making it down the aisle and wondered if he would smile nicely for the pictures.  It wasn't too many years ago that Rex was supposed to be the ring bearer in Tiffany's wedding and that didn't go as planned so I was determined that we wouldn't have a repeat. 

As the wedding date approached Doug's fight with cancer became more and more difficult until finally his pain was taken away and he went home to be with the Lord.    This past week this beautiful family said good bye to their husband and father.  Again, the cousins gathered around to mourn and to celebrate the life of a good man.  I'm not sure how to explain the feeling when the entire family gathers.  To me it makes things feel  like everything is right in the world. I'm not sure if that makes any sense, especially if you don't have a large family.  Its almost as if the power of numbers plays a part. 
Prayers in huge quantity must be heard louder, right?

As the sun peaked down on this beautiful location you could feel Doug
 looking down on this very special day. 

 As the families gathered together to help Natalie and Joe begin their journey together you could feel the love in the air. A very proud Mama walked Natalie down the aisle.   It was a great celebration!


The little flower girl was so cute but a little unsure of the crowd so Riley helped her down the aisle.  Who would have ever dreamed that my little man would be helping this sweet girl down the aisle. Don't ever underestimate the power of M&M's to motivate a three year old boy. 


This little man performed!  He had so much fun dancing and of course swinging and sliding all afternoon!

So as the celebration comes to a close and the cousins disperse back to their homes please keep Kathy, the girls, and our entire family in your prayers. 


  1. This story warmed my heart tonight! What a sweetheart, glad everything went well!

  2. Oh my goodness...what a post. So many emotions! I am so sorry for your family's loss. How brave that Mom could walk her down the aisle. So beautiful. And Riley? He shines. Perfect.

  3. Very emotional post indeed. Beautiful though. And Riley is such a handsome ring bearer.

  4. Very nicely written. I am sorry about your family's loss, and wish the new couple a happy life! Riley looks so adorable, way to go Ri Guy!


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