Last week, we had a family reunion. My parents, their three children (and spouses) and a whopping fifteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild all descended on my parent’s property in Franklin, TN. Yes, impressive number of children for only three kids. My oldest brother is an over-achiever (8 of them are his, plus the great-grandchild). This was the first time in four years that the whole family has been together. For all my family, this first little shout-out is for you, capturing just a few of the sweet moments we had!
Big family gatherings can be super, super stressful and full of drama. Thankfully, this was none of that. It was purely magical. We had so much fun, focusing on the love and legacy that my parents have passed on to us and to so many others in their lives, and really just enjoying each other. The kids were instant best friends – ages ranged from almost 1 to 22, and it was incredible to see how genuinely open and loving they all were with each other – even the tweens and teens. Yes, you can have teens who are enjoyable to be around!
We all have our stories, our baggage, and our tension points. Yet we have the opportunity with every interaction to direct our focus. To be the good, and intentionally see the good. We chose to love, chose to play, and genuinely worked together for a fabulous time. We are all different ages, all different viewpoints, even coming in from different cultures and races. Yet we intentionally looked at how we are all connected, not by blood but by our choice to create this as “family.” It was a beautiful time of creating magical memories with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. It was so great, in fact, that we are going to be more intentional about making this happen every other year. The memories these cousins have created are those sweet “core memories” like what are discussed in the movie “Inside Out.”
In honor of our recent family reunion, I want to highlight my mother’s book that came out this year, Creating a Haven of Peace: When You Are Feeling Down, Finances Are Flat, and Tempers Are Rising
My mother asked all of us children to write a piece for the back. This book is not only about creating a haven of peace in your home, but it it lays out my childhood and the home I came from. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but to me, it was home because of the love and support I felt. Below is my excerpt:
IN YOUR RECOLLECTION, WHAT IMPACTED YOU MOST IN CREATING A HAVEN OF PEACE IN OUR HOME? WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT? HOW ARE YOU CREATING YOUR OWN HAVEN OF PEACE WITH YOUR FAMILY?