I remember one time when I was a little girl, I was at a friend’s house and we were out on a lake in a canoe. She told me if you make a wish and let a feather go floating across the water, it will come true. Now, I don’t believe in wishes coming true- but I like to think that day I was sending up a prayer. I’ve never told anyone this story, but that day I wished for a dad.
I came to the Ranch a few days after my 12th birthday. Prior to that, I grew up with a single biological mother and an older brother. My brother and I have different biological fathers. Mine was never in the picture - I have never even heard the man’s voice. My twelve years of life before I moved to the Ranch looked like many days spent living with families other than mine. I remember my biological mother in and out of rehab programs. My brother and I lived with relatives at times and with friends of our family at other times. Looking back, I am so grateful for each person who took us in and loved us. Drug addiction is a vicious cycle. It leaves the ones you love wondering why they are never enough. Some nights I woke up alone having no idea where my mother was. I remember the stove being on to heat our house. Necessities were sold. Messages were written on our front door when money was owed. Being exposed to things a child should never be exposed to.
I longed for a dad but I did not realize until I came to the Ranch that I longed for much more. I did not just need a dad but a mom too. I needed a support system. I needed someone to hold me when I cried. I needed someone to cook me a meal everyday. I needed structure. I needed someone to pray over me. I needed a chance to simply be a kid.
The Ranch gave me those things and so much more - it gave me my parents. My parents were always there for me and still are to this day. On the good days and the bad days, no matter what. The Ranch gave me a huge family — a super loud and sometimes annoying family, but I love every single one of them. As a result of the Ranch, I graduated from high school. I purchased my first car on my own. I made lifelong friendships. I was encouraged to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I was taught how to be a hard worker. I learned how to be humble. I learned how to be thankful always. I was taught how to be honest. I was taught how to be a loving parent, always putting my kids before myself and expressing love as a verb not just a noun. Growing up at the Ranch gave me a chance to rewrite my story.
I have been married to my husband, Max, for 10 years in February 2024. We have four amazing children. Harper (9), Lilah (6), Oliver (3), and Charleigh (1). We have one fur baby Darlin (10) who is my old lady. We live right outside of the Magic City in Gardendale, Alabama. My husband Max is self-employed, and I am an Assistant Branch Manager at a local credit union. Our days are spent raising our kids just doing life with them, going from the softball field to dance and school functions. Our favorite things to do are to hang out at the park, movie nights, and of course, hanging out at the Ranch with family.
Because of the Ranch, my life was changed. I pray that Max and I take the things I learned from living at the Ranch and apply them to our everyday lives while we raise our kids. Without you and what you do for the Ranch, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Thank you for all that you do!
Jessie and Max's children with grandparents, Tony and Rhona Osborne (their Babu and LeighLeigh)