We spent all day yesterday down in the big city of Columbus, Texas, at my Aunt Ilee's house. My mom's entire extended family was there and it was such a wonderful day.
Aunt Ilee hosted the event with her husband Uncle Dan. (My uncle, not hers. : ) Their country home was the ideal setting for such a sepcial day with haylessride included. Their oldest son Danny and his wife Trish made it along with kids Elyssa and Jayden. Their youngest son Ryan came too with wife Ashley and new Baby Faith. Their daughter Jenny her husband Jack and son Casey didn't make it but we were graced with the presence of her two youngest sons, Colton and Chase. SWEETIE PIES!!
My Uncle Mike was there with my Aunt Bobbie. Their kids Crystal and Cody made it along with married daughter Courtney, husband Mike and kiddos Haylee and Chance.
My Mother Pat and step-dad David came. My sister Kara and her husband Chad were there with kiddos Hannah and Jackson. Our little sister Keli came with her kids Daniel, Andrew, Nathan, and petite bebe' Makayla.
Rounding out the group was my 82 year old Poppa and his sweet new wife Bettye.
I can't remember a time in my life that the people in that house yesterday didn't encompass. We've been on trips across the country together. We've celebrated many a Thanksgiving and many more a Christmas together. We've stood side by side at funerals; one a pain so deep we almost couldn't bear. We've sat together and sang together at weddings. We've seen babies born and our families grow.
Personally it feels so unique to me that we still make this get together a priority every single year. It's important to every one of us.
And did I mention we sing together? How many families, if they get together at all, have a common thread deep of enough to enact it year after year? We sing for hours sometimes. We raise our voices in song lifting praises to our Heavenly Father. The core group has married and drawn in more singers (or converted singers ourselves!). Can you imagine what a blessing it is to have this kind of family structure as the corner stone for your life? We have something that other families envy and when they speak of togetherness, they only wish they had a fraction of what we've found.
Yesterday was bittersweet for me. As wonderful a day as it was, I knew in my heart it would be one of the last times my family would be able to be present with everyone since we're moving to Colorado. I tried hard to hold myself together. I didn't want to sadden anyone else. My Poppa's prayer before our meal got me. And then we sang ...
I thank my Heavenly Father for these people He placed in my life. I thank Him for the years of togetherness. I thank Him for almost hayless hayrides. I thank Him for the Christian examples they've set for me. I thank Him for the love that pours out when one of us is in need. I thank Him for blessing me so richly. I thank Him for these STRANGE and unique people. I thank Him that I call them family.
Thank you Cappses, Shumways, Dillards, Barringtons, Flemings, and Dennises. No amount of miles will distance my heart from yours.