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S: Love Is Thicker Than Blood

BC: Happy Father's Day 2011 | Book compiled by Cynthia Stumph

FC: Blood is thicker than water, Oh but love-- LOVE is thicker than blood. | Garth Brooks "Thicker Than Blood"

1: To Tracy With Love Thank you for all that you are and for all that you help us to become!

2: Dear Tracy- Where could I start? We have both lived through some crazy stuff in our lives, some similar and some different. We both had a very important figure missing from our lives. He was missing for the same embarrassing reason. I was five years old when my tragedy struck. Not truly knowing why my mother's cries awoke me in the night. But asking her where my father was and seeing her come to tears I knew something was wrong. I kept noticing you and not knowing why. All I knew was that you made me feel so good when my life was hell. I even remember the first thing we did together...we were at my school and you were showing all of your cop things to my class. I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Yet I never truly felt loved until about 8 months ago when my grades were terrible and I just didn't care about life. I tried to run away and something told me to go back home. So I did. I got there and you weren't even mad, you were sad and even a little happy. You told me how much you loved me. I couldn't stop the tears when I heard you say, "If God himself came down here and said someone has to go, I would raise my hand so fast you wouldn't even had known it." At that moment I have never felt so loved. Tracy, you lift me up and you make me feel so great. You don't even understand how much better my life is now that you are in it. It kills me when you are sad. The number one person in my life is sad and I just have to sit there. I feel helpless. I love you and would do anything in the world for you. Thank you for being there for me when I have needed you the most. Love, | Skip

4: Dear Tracy- I can't even put in words the fullest degree of how much you mean to me. You have such a huge impact on my life. If it weren't for you, I don't think I would have the desire and passion for basketball that I have now. You have taught me to love the game and have always done your best to help me improve my skills. You are an excellent coach. Your knowledge about the game and the things you have us do at practice is what makes us such an excellent team. It's hard to think about this being our last year of Flash and us moving on to a new coach and a new program. I will still always want to come back to you if I am struggling in a certain aspect of my game because I think you know my potential and style of game better than anyone else. Even me. But you have affected my life far more than on the court. You're like a second father to me. You have always been there for me, even when there have been things I couldn't talk to my own parents about. You continue to teach me not only on the court but also in everyday life. You are a great example to everyone around you and I do and will always look up to you. You have given me so much guidance in my life and without you I don't know what my life would be like. I don't think I could have achieved everything I have without you here. I am so grateful that God has put you in my life because I certainly need you in it. Love, | Cody

6: Dear Tracy- To tell a story, you have to start at the beginning. I was seven years old. But I guess you already knew that. In fact, you'll probably know a lot of the facts of this story, you just don't know the following perspective. I was seven years old. I still remember my mother screaming, "Somebody hurt my baby!" What she didn't realize, her baby had hurt himself. She actually waited to tell me about my father's suicide until months after the funeral. At this time, fear consumed me, for I had no one to protect me as a father does his children. The fear overwhelmed me. I couldn't go anywhere by myself. I didn't feel safe in my own home, and I lacked a trust in my mother to protect me. Sleepless and restless nights plagued me for years to come. There was however, one exception when you came along. Whenever you were around I felt safe. Nights at your condo gave me a peaceful sanctuary in a world that had turned upside down. You gave me a place to feel safe, a place of consistency. I remember when you, Ryan, and I went camping for the first time. You said, "I would walk through fire for you." I knew I was safe and it was at this moment I started to see you as a father. Since then you have been my harbor, my anchor, the one I turn to when the crap hits the fan. You gave me someone to turn to in times of darkness. You picked me up, breathed new life in me. I owe my life to you. But for the life of me, I don't see why you don't see like I do. But it just dawned on me, you feel like you're losing a son. Let me turn on the lights and brighten me and enlighten you. I don't think you realize what you mean to me, not the slightest clue. It hurts when I see you struggle. You come to me with ideas. You say they're just pieces, so I'm puzzled. Because the crap I hear is crazy, but you're either getting lazy, or you don't believe in you anymore. Seems like your own opinion is not one you can form. Can't make a decision, you keep questioning yourself, second guessing, and it's almost like you're begging for my help. Like, I'm your leader. You're supposed to be my mentor. I can endure no more! I demand you, remember who you are! It was YOU, who believed in me, when everyone was telling you, don't choose me. Everyone discouraged you, let's tell the truth. You risked it all for me, I know it as well as you. Nobody wanted to help this family. Trace, I'm finally crying too. You saved my life, now maybe it's my time to save yours. But I can never repay you, what you did for me is way more. But I'm not giving up faith, and you aren't giving up on me. I know it is oh so selfish, but I know not what to say: Get up Trace! I'm dying, I need you, come back for my sake. Love, | Dylan

8: Dear Tracy- Thank you for helping to keep the memory of my dad alive and strong. The tribute at the Taylorsville Police Department is a wonderful memorial to him. I love my Taylorsville PD Challenge coin and show it to my friends. I love going to lunch and hearing you tell stories of my dad. Thanks for being my friend. It's always fun to have you over at Christmas and my birthday. I always think of you when I play with the basketball you gave me this March. I love you! Love, | Garrett

10: Tracy- A few weeks ago Cynthia asked me if I could write a letter on how much you mean to me in my life, and of course I said yes. I wanted to write to you how much you mean to me and how much I love you as an uncle. You have done a lot of things for me and I appreciate it so much! I know a lot is happening in your life now and I wish there was some way I could help. I hope everything gets better soon because it makes me sad whenever something is going on with one of our family members. I know we're not a very close family and I wish sometimes we could be but everyone has their family problems and it's understandable. I wonder why you sometimes are sad and depressed, and Grandma says it's because of your job and how you wish you could retire already and how it's taking up the energy in your body and making you tired. Or sometimes me and Grandma have talks about Grandpa Earl and how you're still upset over what happened. I personally wish I could have met Grandpa to see what he was like or how all our lives would be if he was still around. Grandma tells me that he had a big heart like you do and knows a lot of people. Haha. But I'm very glad Grandpa Dick is here with us. Even though he's not blood related he's still very important to all of us and makes Grandma happy and is good to us. I remember when I was a little you used to come over to me and my mom's apartment all the time with Chris or Glenn and laugh with my mom and seeing you happy. I miss those times when you and my mom could have a conversation for more than 5 minutes and when we went to your house and just hung out and fun stuff like that. A lot of people look up to you and love you and that's pretty amazing to me that I can have an uncle like that. Me and my mom love you very much even though sometimes we might not show it in a type of way we should. We appreciate all you have done for us and everyone else! I love you very much Tracy! Love- | Hai

12: Dear Tracy- I would like to wish you a happy Father's Day, and thank you for being such a father figure to me. Even though you do not have any children of your own, you are truly a blessing to a lot of kids who do not have a father figure in their own homes, or who have a father figure that does not take upon the responsibility of being a good father. You help to fill the void. Even though I am not the man of the house I have taken on much of the role of being one in my house. Throughout my teen years I have increasingly become the role model for my brothers, and there have been many times when my mom has asked for my opinion in important decisions. With me being the role model, I do not have one at home to look up to. But throughout the years you have been my biggest role model. Even after I stopped playing basketball for you, you have been someone for me to look up to. I know I can come to you for advice and that I can trust it to be good advice. I don't go to my dad for advice very often any more. You have helped me get job opportunities. You have helped me with a lot. You may not have any children of your own but you deserve to celebrate Father's Day! Sincerely, | Jackson

14: Dear Tracy- First, thank you for all the love and support you have shown to not just me, but to my growing family. Chris and I love you so much, and have had many conversations about how grateful we are for your willingness to do anything for us. The past year has been a whirlwind as you well know. When I first found out I was pregnant I was both scared and elated. And then it hit me, my heart sank as I embarked on yet another milestone in my life that my dad would miss out on. For months I couldn't cope with the thought that this child I had never met, but already unconditionally loved, would never know her Grandpa Trent. August of 2010 was one of the hardest times in my life. I mourned the nine year anniversary of my dad's death and I was terrified to have the responsibility of having a child of my own. It has only been in the last few months that I came to a new realization. All this time I was so focused on Avery missing out on my dad being a part of her life, I didn't acknowledge that she has a grandpa. And he loves her so very much. I am so thankful that you walked into our lives and immediately started to pick up the pieces. No one will ever understand the special void that you have filled. I know that Avery will grow up calling you Grandpa and that floods my heart with joy. You have no idea how much you have impacted me, from your strong work ethic to your complete selflessness. I love you Tracy. Thank you for being the dad to me that you didn't have to be. Love, | Jes, Chris, and "Monkey"

16: Dear Tracy- For the second half of my life, you have been the father I have needed day in and day out. Whether it be for leadership or just someone to talk to, you have always been there. You have bailed me out of way more problematic situations than anyone should have been relieved from. I have never met someone with a bigger heart and the willingness to take a bullet for literally anyone. I appreciate everything that you have done for me and my family. You are more of a father than I could have asked for when I met you almost ten years ago. | Ryan

18: Dear Tracy- I would like to thank you for making me part of your team when I was younger. For that I believe I became a better player. You never gave up on me when I struggled. I feel you pushed me harder than any other player which made me an even stronger player. Off the court you have been an inspiration in my life. Because of you I always want to be the best I can be. I feel that I can talk to you about anything. I know in the past it was hard for me to open up to you about my feelings, but as time has gone by I know that you have my best interest at heart. For this I would like to say Thank You! Love, | Sidney

20: Tracy- In thinking back when I first met you, it was at a time when a lot of changes had taken place in your life. The stability you had known was gone and now a new person was involved in your life. You really enjoyed dirt biking and I made several attempts to go and ride with you. I remember on one occasion that no matter what I tried, the bike and I never got along. After it had dumped me off most of the day, I finally decided that this sport was not for me. It was hard for you to understand why I did not like the sport. Shortly after that we moved back East. Again, this was another adjustment period. I had gone hunting with my dad and I knew that you loved to hunt. I convinced Betty that we needed to get a hunting dog for you and one Saturday you and I went out to a breeder and purchased a great black lab puppy. Shadow was a great dog and he became a really good hunting dog. We would go out and hunt doves and pheasants and take Shadow with us. I remember on one occasion when we were dove hunting that Shadow went into a pasture where there were several cattle. He started to chase the cattle and they turned on him and he could not find his way to the gate. We had to go and rescue him. You have been a really good son and one that I have a lot of love in my heart for. You would do anything for anyone and I am proud to call you my son. | Dick

22: Dear Tracy- This book is compiled of letters from children you have impacted over the years. Although I am not one of those children, I wanted to give my perspective as a mother of the four you claim as your own. Almost ten years ago my life was forever changed when my husband of 13 years chose to take his life. I remember feeling nothing but sheer panic as I thought of the daunting reality of what lied ahead. I had the responsibility of raising four small children alone, without a father, and all I felt was overwhelming fear. The fear was soon replaced by hope when you walked into our lives. I'll never forget our very first conversation. You called to ask if I would be okay with your department doing a Shop with the Cop for my kids. That was the beginning of an amazing journey.... There was an instant connection with the boys and over time your relationship with Jes came full circle. There are many memories--the vacations, family parties (that were sometimes overwhelming for you), dinners, school functions, coaching the boys in sports, and playing "Mr. Mom" when I was out of town, just to name a few. But what stands out the most is your true commitment to this family and how it continues today. You were warned by many that your love may not be reciprocated by these children you were so committed to. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been privileged to watch true unconditional love develop from both sides and it has been nothing but amazing. As a mother that loves her children more than life itself, I thank you! It hasn't been an easy ten years, but it has still been wonderful. You have been a rock to each of them, but just as importantly to me as well. You have been my partner, my best friend and there are no adequate words to express my gratitude for all you've done. You couldn't love my children more than if your blood was running through their veins. I KNOW that and on my tough days, it's what keeps me going. | You were sent to us Tracy, for that I am sure. When you came to my home nearly ten years ago, your intent was to provide assurance that everything would be ok having lost your father in the same manner, NOT to become a mentor or father figure to four small children. I think the connection that developed with the kids was as shocking to you as it was to us. So how do I express what is in my heart? Words fail me--you have been a better father to my children than many biological fathers are to their own. You have provided strength, stability, discipline and above all LOVE! I am forever grateful for the past ten years and look forward to many more as this journey continues. All my love, | Sara

23: Dear Tracy- I too wanted to thank you as a mother for the influence you have had on two of my children. You have impacted their lives in ways that no one can even tell yet. It's a hard thing as a mom to see your children struggle. I love my kids with all my heart and would give and do anything for them, and yet there are places in their hearts that a mother can't fill. What is heartbreaking about their situation is that they have a father who is physically present, but who for much of the last 10 1/2 years has been emotionally absent. They have grown up with the appearance of the whole package deal, but that's NOT what they have had. And because they do have a dad who is here physically, there has not been anyone step in and fill in the gaps and holes that he has left. With one exception...YOU! You have done so much for them. You have taken them on dove and pheasant hunts and trips to East Canyon. You have coached both of them in basketball, taken them to dinner, and let them stay at your house. You have bought shoes, birthday presents, and helped out with Christmas--sometimes through Shop with a Cop or Sub for Santa, and sometimes out of your own pocket. There have been years where the only Christmas they had was the one you provided. | You have been there for them emotionally. They have been able to open up to you when they couldn't open up to anyone else. They have come to you for advice, and I have come to you for advice at times when I just didn't have the answers on how to parent them in certain situations. That advice has always been honest and given with their best interest in mind. You have shown respect when talking to them about their dad, but have also recognized the void that he has left. They look to you as their example of what a man should be, and they know that if ever they are in a bad spot all they have to do is call and you will be there. Not only have you been a loyal and faithful friend to them, you have been one to me as well. You have been a strength, a light, and a listening ear. You have spoken honestly and openly, and you've allowed me to do the same. You have been someone that I can trust, and you have given me the gift of being trusted. You have believed in me when I didn't believe in myself and given me courage when I was afraid. You have understood me when I was sad, been proud of me for things I have accomplished, and shared in moments of happiness. Truly you have been my best friend. I don't think I could have come through these past years without you. You have been a "tender mercy" and a precious gift from God in my life. For all that you have done for my kids and for me, I am forever grateful and thank you with all of my heart! Love, | Cynthia

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Cynthia Stumph
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