Happy Birthday Eric

Happy birthday to the man of the house.

Other years birthdays were just another day,
but this year, birthdays mean a little more to me.
Not just that someone is another year older,
but because we are privileged
to have spent another year living life together.

You don’t hear a lot of gushing about this man on here,
because that is just how we are, there’s not a lot of gushing.
We are quite fond of him though, I must say.


He is steady, dependable, reliable.
He is annoyingly calm when I am flapping like a wild woman. always.
He cares, works hard, gives up his own wishes for us.
When he speaks, the kids listen. (well most of them do)

He is trustworthy, sensible, and he listens well.
He even tries to fix my problems, is that not brave of him?

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From the kids:
“He is really patient with us.”
“He blows up my tires on my bike.”
“I like that he checks on us and tells us goodnight.”
“He does stuff with us when he could be doing stuff he would rather do.”
“I like to go to work with him.”
“I wike my daddy.”
“He takes time to talk to us.”
“He’s the best dad I could ever have.”

He teaches them, reads Bible stories, prays with them.
They learn Jesus from him.

Eric (1)

If I have learned nothing else the past 7 months,
it has been to be grateful beyond words I have  him in my life.
He has been a rock in this storm for me.

We have no promise of tomorrow,
so celebrate today, this day.

There will be steak for supper to celebrate him,
and Madison’s pie is in the oven.
Please don’t come over for supper.

Happy Birthday Eric, we love you.

Tys is 30!

We aren’t big “birthday party people” in our family. The kids may get a small deal at home, but getting together, throwing a party, or anything big, usually doesn’t happen and we’re all ok with that.

Tris was not one for birthday parties. I’m not sure what all his reasons were, but he would have been happy without them. That was one of the reasons we threw him a big 30th party 3 years ago. He was completely surprised, but also completely enjoyed himself. I guess that started the wheels rolling in his mind because this fall before he died, he mentioned Tys’ birthday to Lisa. He wanted a party for Tys, just like his own, and at Christmas when Tys least expected it.

Tys was a very important person in Tris’ life, as his only brother, they were very close. They talked on the phone almost every evening, they spent Saturdays together in the shop. They shared common hobbies, tinkering on vehicles, riding dirt bikes, buying things on Craig’s list, visiting pawnshops
and much more.

The idea was already brewing in the back of my mind, but before I voiced it to anyone, Lisa called me one day and told me what Tris had said. And just like that, Tys was having a birthday party because Tris had already planned it. There was no way we were skipping it now.

Tys’ wife pulled off a lot of the work, along with her family. We had a few lines in place to get him where he needed to be the night of the party, but over all, it really wasn’t too hard to surprise the one who claims he can never be surprised.

Before we get to the party, a few things about Tys. His name is Tyson, but I haven’t called him that since oh, I don’t know when, probably the last time I was mad at him. He’s Tys to everyone.

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He’s great for a good laugh. My favorites are when we’re in a crowd and he’ll come up and quietly say something stupid to make you laugh. He also knows exactly how close to the line he can go with Mother. This dirt bike in the house would be one foot over the line.

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He’s the fixer all things. If it needs to be tinkered with, he always has a knife or tool in his pocket to fix it. He will work on something for the longest time and is almost always able to fix it.

He calls to check on me, to see how I’m doing. He listens.

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He will tease mercilessly, endlessly. And for some unknown reason, the kids love it. They fight him, chase, and badger right back.

You need a job done, call him, he will come.
He is reliable and hard-working on a big or small job.

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He has three boys and they love him. For the most part they are a jolly bunch, but I’m not sure what was happening here. He seems to have added the 4th big blue son over Christmas time. These boys love to be with their dad. One or all three have been known to cry  if he leaves without them.

He is the King of taking dumb pictures. If you have a camera he’ll strike a pose, or he’ll use your phone and later you’ll find countless selfies of him. I’ll leave it at that, use your imagination since space does not allow me to post all the photos I have like this.

MIG bikes

He is welder by day and a MIG welder by night. He made these bikes from scrap welder rods and a few drawings on cardboard.
(I may or may not have stolen his photos for this)

3 wheel MIG bike
He was asked to make one for the Haiti Sale in FL and since he was bored with the Schwinn model he was making, he created a 3-wheeler with a Pinecraft license plate. Go to Florida and buy it. It’s one of a kind.

Now about that surprise party…

Tys party
All the way down there, the sky was dark, overcast. I kept watching one place where the sun was shining  from behind. It was hanging right over the church where we were going. It wasn’t until I took a picture that I saw the heart in the sky.

We waited awhile for him to show up…Tys party (7)
Not quite sure he wanted to come in. I told him he had to, Tris planned this party and there was no way he was getting out of it.

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He obviously has lots of friends!

We made sure he had 30 gifts,
but I know for a fact that there were more then 30.
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Tys party (10)
A selfie stick.
Just what he needs to photograph himself
from the top of a grain leg he is welding.
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He had lots of help opening gifts.
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He asked for this gift! He bashed vests in a very loud and obnoxious manner one night, so we bought him one! He says, “Never mind that your arms are frozen, at least your torso is warm!”
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Max, down on the right, just cracks me up!
For being the son of Tys, he is a lot like Tris.
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He was a little worried about opening some of these bags.
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Now he’s stylin’! Add that vest and he’s ready for the mall!
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It was a good party, even he admits it!
Turning 30 isn’t so bad after all.

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We had a good night but missed Tris very much.
He would have loved it! So many people to talk to and enjoy.

Happy 30th birthday Tys!
We love you and are blessed to have in our lives.


Happy Birthday Tris

Happy heavenly Birthday Tris.

Tris party

I can’t believe Nov 3 is here and you aren’t.
Who would have thought we would celebrate
your 33rd birthday without you?
You never were one for big birthday parties,
but sorry man, we’re having one this year.
We’re going to bake cupcakes, decorate them,
and let the kids spit all over them
while they blow the candles out.
We’ll sing happy birthday to you and laugh at your jokes.
We’ll look around to find you and then remember where you are.
Makes me wonder what kind of celebration
you are having up there.

Tris ice-cream

There will be ice-cream, of that I am sure
because a birthday is not a birthday without ice-cream,
according to you.
Not just any ice-cream though,
homemade ice-cream was the absolute best.
If it wasn’t homemade, it must be soft.
We would get out the container
and everyone would scoop theirs up.
When we were finally ready to put it away,
there you would sit, waiting patiently.
“Aren’t you getting any ice-cream?” we would ask,
even though we already knew you were.
“Yep! Be right there. Just waitin’ on it to get good and soft!”
I think we’ll need to pull out the ice-cream machine
for this birthday of yours.
I don’t think you had a happier weekend
then that one back in June
when we ate ice-cream all weekend from the ice cream machine.
There just isn’t any other way to celebrate
then with what you loved best, so ice-cream it will be.
I wonder if heaven has ice-cream.

Tris porch

We’ll have a good meal for your birthday too.
You were always up for good food,
“That was about the best meal I ever had.” you would say.
You didn’t care for all the fancy things,
just something plain and simple made you happy.
We might celebrate with a big plate
heaping full of beef tips and gravy over mashed potatoes.
Maybe we’ll grill a good steak, just the way you liked it.
We’ll throw in some hot wings for good measure
because we know how much you loved those too.
We’ll skip the veggies, the salad
and the fruit for today, in honor of you.
We’ll all eat up and lean back and say,
“Man, that was good!”
A common comment from you was,
“No one can cook as good as Lisa! My wife makes the best food!”
I wonder what you’re having today!
I wish our imagination was good enough
to see half of your birthday meal up there.

Tris jeepin

Since it’s not so cold out,
we could all go for a long jeep ride tonight.
Back to the cabin, through the woods,
we might even hit a mud hole or two,
just for old times sake.
The kids could bounce along in the back,
having the time of their life.
How does that new gold jeep ride up there?
Pretty smooth compared to that old Willys you had?
Although I’m sure you wouldn’t trade the gold one,
we would love to see you drive that Willys one more time.

Tris shop

I guess we could all go hang out in the shop
to celebrate your birthday.
We could invite all the guys you loved to talk with,
guys that stopped in on a Saturday,
guys that would call for advice, with a question or just to chat.
There is a lot of tinkering we could do up there.
Did you ever just sit still when you were in the shop?
There was always a motor to be torn into,
tools to arrange, a floor to sweep,
the dirt bike to fix, a jeep to repair, or a tractor to fix.
There were kids to entertain,
tools to collect that they had drug around,
some junk food for them to snack on,
or Sunny D for them to sip.
We might plug in the stop light that you were so proud of,
and just watch it glow in the dark.
Are there tools in heaven? Anything to tinker on?
A golf cart to fix or someone’s tractor?
I’m sure you’re in the middle of it, if there is.

Tris swing

Maybe instead of jeepin’ or hanging out at the shop,
we’ll just stretch out on the couch
with a toothpick in our mouth after our good meal.
We’ll all pull out our phones
and check Craig’s list for a good deal.
Pretty soon we’ll drop our phones
and take a little snooze in honor of you.
You must have slept lightly because you still seemed to hear
every conversation that was going on around you.
After a bit, you would whip your legs around, sit up and say,
“Well boys, let’s get this show on the road!”
Are there toothpicks in heaven?

Tris table

But most of all for your birthday,
we would just love to sit around the table with you
and listen to you talk and laugh.
Oh, just to hear another story that you so loved to tell.
We would all interrupt and soon you would say,
“As I was saying …” and pull everyone’s attention back to your story.
We would love to sit and watch you stick your toothpick
in the candle and turn it into a mess.
All we would really want for your birthday is
one more hug, one more laugh,
just one more evening with you.
We miss you so
and selfishly we wish you back,
just for one more time.

Tris relaxed

Happy birthday Tris.
I hope it was thee absolute most
grandest birthday celebration you have ever had!

Kennedy’s birthday

{warning: photo overload of the new 2 year old}

Let the birthday continue…
yesterday, today and tomorrow.
One only wants to do this when they’re young,
so we may as well let them and enjoy watching.
I think instead of birthday, it will be birth-week soon.
Once we reach my grand age,
we conveniently try and skip the birthday all together,
so party away, Little One.

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Lisa came over in the afternoon with a gift for Kennedy.
Two of her favorite things, Curious George and books.

One of the stories in the book is about George’s birthday.
She listened while I read and when we got the page
of George blowing out the candles on his cake she say,
“Georgie not have birthday. ME!”

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The bigger kids couldn’t wait until she could open her gifts,
but she wasn’t in any rush.
Or was it, she didn’t know there were gifts to be opened? 🙂

After she unwrapped her puzzle,
Dakota said, “I have a gift for her too!”
I was surprised, I certainly hadn’t helped him buy one.
He ran upstairs to his room and brought a little package down.
He had taken one of his little cars and wrapped it up
in a page that had fallen out of an old book.
It was well taped, as you can imagine, and quite cute!

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The cake sat on a small glass table
in the middle of the kitchen all afternoon.
She never touched it.
Until… I came around the corner to find this happening!!

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She said, “It’s yummy!”

Since she was already started,
the kids decided we should blow out candles and all eat cake.

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It’s really hard for a 2 year old to get those 2 fingers up.
This works better, although she still yells, “One!”

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oh the blowing…
and spitting…

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and so many, many rounds of relighting and blowing again.

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…finally it was time to eat some more cake!

I asked, “Are you ready for a bite of cake?”
She promptly leaned forward and…
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I had no idea that was coming!

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She was quite pleased with herself!

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More bites.

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All she was getting was frosting so I cut a piece for her.
She picked it up and carefully took the layers apart.

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And then stuffed it in!

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I think she had eaten a bit too much frosting because
she shuttered a bit and asked for a drink and was done eating.
No amount of encouraging would change her mind.
She broke the cake apart and laid it out for everyone else to eat.

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Which they happily did!

As you can imagine, the entire episode was filled
with lots and lots of laughing by the siblings.
It’s no wonder the youngest ones behave the way they do
with all the encouragement they get. 🙂

Yesterday and today,
it’s still her birthday if you ask.
The kiddos think we need another round
of cupcakes with candles over the weekend.
We shall see.

Happy day to you all!

Little One is 2

How can it be, my baby is 2 already?
Wasn’t she just born yesterday?
Didn’t I just have her tucked under my chin,
snuggled up in blankets?
Where has time gone?

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Now she’s feisty and sassy at home,
but quiet and reserved in public.
She puts us all in our place,
telling us what she thinks around here.
When strangers talk to her, or even people she knows,
she won’t say a word or even crack the slightest smile.
No one believes us when we say
she can carry on a conversation in complete sentences.
It’s like a light bulb, on and off.

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I wrote last time about her getting up early.
Monday morning when my alarm went off,
my first thought was, “Wow, she’s still sleeping.”
But no, when I walked down the hall to the living room,
this is what I saw.
If Mom just sleeps,
she’ll find her own source of entertainment.

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Yesterday she was fighting with Mr D
and he straightened her up and said,
“I think it’s time for you to go to bed!”
She kicked her leg out the side at him and snapped,
“NO! Neber!”
I told Eric I laughed to myself
but it also scared me because
we have some work to do with her!

How we love her!

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Her birthday started early.
(what a shock)
When I sang happy birthday to her, she just smiled.
I asked if she wants to blow out candles,
and she got all excited.
So we stuck a candle in the side of
her yogurt bowl and she
happily blew spit until it went out.
By the end of the day she’ll
be out of air because
every sibling that came down
had to see her blow out another candle.

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Her Daddy came in with 2 balloons for her.
Tickled pink!

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In typical 2 year old fashion,
she refuses to look.

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Favorite foods?
Is no food an option?
It could be chips. snacks.
Real food?
Meals are trials, believe me!

This mother of hers,
is not organized when it comes to birthdays.
They always creep up on me
and catch me unprepared.
How do they do that when I know they are coming?

I knew what I wanted to do for a cake,
but do you think I bought the cake mix? No.
So we mixed one from scratch this morning.
(I know, better for us anyway)

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I had a very willing beater licker.
Such a help she is.
Everything you do in the kitchen
requires a stool and a little body pressed against you,
wanting to help, lick, touch, pour or do something.

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This mother of hers
is also not a cake decorator.
Everything that can go wrong, will
when I try to decorate a cake.
I saw this one on pinterest,
(God bless you, who ever invented it)
It was relatively simple
and fit a 2 year perfectly.

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I had a lot of willing sprinklers.

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She was almost as busy eating the sprinkles.

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All ready and waiting for tonight.
We all know what she’ll do.
She’ll take a slice and eat all around the edges,
push the plate away and say, “Done!”

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In her book, frosting should be a food group of it’s own.

A party for a 2 year old?
Well, if you can call cake to go with supper a party,
along with excited siblings, than we’re having a party.
The girls were all worried about the food.
“What will we make for supper?
You always make our favorite food and she doesn’t have any!”
Guess we’ll be eating chips and frosting.

More spit blowing pictures of that occasion to come on the next post.

Happy Birthday Little One

Today, 1 year ago we rejoiced at the birth of a tiny little girl,
today we celebrate her sweet, fun-loving spirit.

KGH (1)

My, how time flies.

She went from the tiny baby who slept all the time,
to a silly laughing girl who rarely sleeps.
And wants to put everything in sight in her mouth.

She went from sweet snugly baby who loved to be held,
to a fighting little toddler who hates to sit.
Why sit when you can run?

She went from squeaky newborn cries
to little girl chatter of “Mama and Dada.”
In the grocery store she yells, “Dada!” at every male she sees.

KGH (2)

She started out drinking 2 oz of milk a feeding.
She still doesn’t really like to eat.
A few bites and she’s done.
Don’t try to force food into her mouth,
she can spit with the best of them.
If the kids sneak her a bite of candy,
now that’s a different story.
She’s all for that.

KGH (3)

She loves to look at books,
to have someone play with her.
She loves to run,
to be chased down the hall.
She loves cleaning out cabinets,
carrying things all over the house.

KGH (4)

She is an early riser,
but she never gets up grumpy,
(unlike her mom!)
She’s always smiling when you get her out of the crib,
loves to play around with you before she is interested in breakfast.
I have probably slept less this year
then any other year of my life,
but I’m still alive. 🙂

KGH (5)

This is her favorite blanket.
She plays with this edge while she falls asleep.
I put my other kids straight into bed and they would fall asleep on their own.
Not her, she wants to be rocked, walked, and held, to go to sleep.
So we cuddle.


Tonight we had a little party.
More for the other kids then her,
but she enjoyed the attention! 🙂

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Dakota declared that pink frosting will not be good.
Strangely, he had no problem eating his later!

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She was so thrilled with her candle.
She can’t blow yet so they did the honors for her.
Licking. Tasting. Mmmmm this is good.

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“HEY, this is  really GOOD!
And I can make a mess!!!”

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Face plant. {mmmm}
“And everyone is watching me and laughing!!
I love it!”

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“Oh man, I want to have a birthday every day!”

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After a bath, she unwrapped her gift with lots of help.
She was not all that interested in it,
just wanted to rip paper and put the doll’s nippy in her mouth!
Now after many meltdowns, she needs her bed.

Happy Birthday Little One.
We love you so!

A Gathering of Family

 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places;
yea, I have a goodly heritage. Psalms 16:6

Party  (1)

The past weekend we were to Indiana to celebrate my Mom’s birthday.
She turned 60 in Dec. and it wasn’t a good time for a party
with Dad’s broken leg and building the house.
So we decided to wait until Jan. when things slowed down and they had moved.
I invited all of her brothers and sisters and their spouses to come for a weekend
of being catered to and they came, for which we were thankful.

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Mom was born and raised in Holmes Co Ohio and moved to IN when she married.
All of her brothers and sisters still live there so it took time and effort on their part
to take a weekend and drive out to celebrate with her.
We tried to make it a weekend well worth their time,
I wanted it to be a time for them to enjoy each other and not have to work.
I hope we accomplished that.

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It was a weekend full of a lot of things.
Reconnecting. Telling stories. Remembering.
Laughing till they cried.
Giving gifts.
Sharing their hearts. Quiet talks.
A meaningful church service.
Tears. And smiles.
I saw lots of smiles.
Smiles and laughter.
The kind that comes only from knowing someone well.
The kind that comes from being with family.

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{Dave & Emma}

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{Nick is 5 months younger then Kennedy and they are the same size}
{Ruby reads genealogy)

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We spent a lot of time cooking.
They spent a lot of time around the table.
It seemed the conversation flowed the best
when they were sitting with their coffee cups full.

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They brought 60 gifts for Mom.
Mom loves to give gifts,
so it was nice to see her get so many.

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{Sam, Ruby & Dontae}

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Lots of time spent talking.
And some listened.

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Saturday afternoon we took our children to different places
and came back to cook a Mexican meal.
We thought it would be quieter without all the littles running around
but the place was fairly rocking with noise all night long.

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{Maynard & Ruby}

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Her new coffee cup says,
“I don’t think I look 60 either!”

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I enjoyed sitting back and watching them,
seeing them interact with each other.
Listening to them tell stories of when they were young.
Remembering their 2 brothers that died young.
Recalling memories of their parents.
We laughed when they accused each other of things from growing up years,
digging deep for old stories.

They never made it to comfortable seats that night.
The stories and memories started and one just led to the other
and they stayed sitting at the table the entire evening.

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They looked at old pictures.
That brought up more old memories
and the good times rolled on.

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It was so good to see them having fun together.

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Sunday morning coffee and chatting.

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The Yoder siblings (not in order of age, they say) 🙂
Irene, Mark, Ruby, Sam, Marie, David, Sara

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With their spouses

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The sisters

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Sunday morning was a special time together.
We sang praises, shared, and learned from each other
and from Jesus.

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One more meal and then goodbyes.
But not before they started planning the next get-together. 🙂

When I talked to Mom later I mentioned that she looked forward to it for so long
and now it was over so quickly.
She said, “But it was such a good weekend that it’s ok.”
I was glad to hear that she enjoyed herself.

As I stood back and watched this family together, the verse at the top came to my mind
and I was reminded again of how much I have to be thankful for.
A goodly heritage is not to be taken lightly these days.
So many people have no idea what that is and I am blessed beyond measure with it.

I thought about my grandparents,
and how the choices they made years and years ago now effect me and my children.
It made me consider my choices and decisions
and think about how it will effect my future generations.
It made me thankful for a heritage rich in wisdom and right choices.
It encouraged me to keep going, keep trying and to not give up.
I feel blessed.

The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places;
yea, I have a goodly heritage. Psalms 16:6