Life's journey is not always a straight, predictable path. Most all of us deal with an unexpected turn or two over the years.
Some of those are easy to handle, but there are those turns that change our lives so drastically it seems unbearable. For one Bullard family the turn in their journey required they walk every day by faith.
As a teacher at Bullard Intermediate Stacey Russell is quite good at taking care of the needs of others. Her teaching always includes a life lesson or two.
"I tell my 5th graders all the time it's choices. Everything is a choice."
Life has taken a different turn for Stacey and her husband Kirk. An afternoon walk that used to be routine is now a new milestone. Five months ago, Kirk was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
"Family has always been huge to Kirk. For many years he worked. He had a regular job and he also owned a small cleaning company on the side and the meant he was working all the time. But that was how he was, that was important to him. He was a provider. He took care of his family."
Kirk and Stacey's marriage of almost 16 years brought together a blended family.Two of Kirk's children are now on their own... One just gave birth to a new grand child. Stacey's son is a senior this year And then there are the two little girls. Stacey said it's when they adopted Cassey and Dana about 5 years ago that they really experienced God working in their lives.
"He and I have been… not always been on a spiritual journey. That didn't happen for both us until late… I mean he's ten years older. I was in my late 30's and his late 40's but that was about the time we took on Casey and Dana. And it was almost like God gave us purpose. And it was very clear to us what our purpose was and completely changed the way we raised our kids. The way we looked a life in general."
"And He was most definitely preparing our hearts, preparing our minds for what he had ahead of us because I would have never in a million years dreamed that this was going to be the journey for us."
Stacey said this was a good day.Sitting around the living room we enjoyed a few laughs with Kirk, but these kind of days are rare. With each passing day Stacey relies on her faith to get through the day.
"Every day a little bit more of him goes away. We don't see it again"
"I could not imagine not having God to cling to in this situation. I don't know what people do that don't have faith. I mean that's my fuel. That's my gas on the days I have nothing left. It's my faith."
Stacey admits there are days she gets angry. Times when she questions why God allowed them to adopt two girls only to take their new father a few years later, But time and time again she says it is her faith that she believes sustains her and Kirk.
"What I pray and what I want are different. What I want is for him to be Kirk again. But I know that's not what is ahead of us. I pray for peace. I may not understand, I may never understand but just peace for my kids."
"I just wouldn't trade it for anything. The journey we are on now. As ugly as it is sometimes and as much as I hate the disease he has I know him and I know he wouldn't change it either."