February 1, 2011

Family Matters

Isn't she cute? :-)

I'm enjoying some family memories tonight.

Like this:

..and these:

It seems that one of the joys of life that I'm most prone to overlook and take for granted is the joy of family.
But when I stop and think about it, I can't help but see how blessed I am. Goodness, these people have seen me with greasy hair, and oily face for almost 22 years; they've had to put up with my attitude, grumpy days, and dumb ideas; they've been more than gracious with my stubborn, independent spirit. But they still love me. And that, friends, is not something to be taken lightly!

The other day, as I was flat on my back shaking with fever chills, my mom tended me like a servant waits on a queen. Hydrotherapy; hot water to soothe my throat; an ice-water cloth for my splitting, pounding head; an extra blanket, and then another...and another. She asked if I would eat garlic if she brought it to me?? But then she laughed because she already knew the answer was no, and she graciously offered to make me garlic bread with avocado mashed to perfection. And I love how she didn't get offended by the fact that I left it to sit for an hour because I didn't have the energy to eat it. Even though she had a million things pressing for her time, she came and sat in the darkness of my room and strained her eyes to read my required homework to me. She's amazing.

Sure, they do little things that annoy me. They're not perfect. If they were, how would I ever learn that highest form of love is unconditional forgiveness?

They're muh family! And I love 'em tuh pieces.

My first summer of leading. One parent drove to Georgia to get me, the other drove to Virginia to pick up Janalin and we spent the weekend at a little motel on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. This was at the Botanical Gardens right before we parted ways and they drove all those hours alone to take us back.

Behold the world's coolest-ever rotten picnic-table top! :-D

Did I mention I miss this place?

So we hiked to the top of this mountain...
...to take this picture. Problem was, nobody thought about bringing a flashlight for the way back down the mountain. Ahahaha. Lets just say its a very good thing none of us are scared of the dark!

We made it to the bottom! :-) I think we spent more time thrashing through the brush than we did on the trail, but hey, the picture was worth it, right?? (Dad's holding the remote flash for the camera, if you were wondering, lol)

Family. It's so easy to get caught up focusing on their negative traits (considering that we all have the same ones, and we recognize them with eagle-eye accuracy) but so much is lost when we do...

I'm convicted, can you tell?

My first trip back to Washington without my family, I couldn't wait  to see the mountains. I ached to breathe the fresh Northwest air and eat fresh huckleberries off the bush until I couldn't stand them anymore. Always before when I flew home after being gone, I would step outside the airport, take a deep breath and savor the taste of home. It tastes like fresh, fresh, fresh clean air with a hint of douglas fir sap and fragrant lilacs. It feels like belonging, and it makes you want to hug all the random strangers you meet "Hey guys, I'm home!!

I stepped outside the airport, rolled my carry-on out to the car, savored the familiar comfort of fog in Seattle. Feasted my eyes on Mt. Rainier, Snoqualmie Pass, the distant peaks in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. I drank in the rolling farmland with the wheel lines stretching for miles and miles. I smiled at the familiar names, George, Moses Lake, Ritzville, Sprague. I remembered the memories--like begging mom to stop in Ritzville to get Jo-Jo potatoes EVERY time we went to Grandma's cause that's the only time she ever got us Jo-Jo's... But something was missing. I couldn't put my finger on it. Yeah, I was in my favorite place on earth. I had the mountains, I could bury my face in a lilac bush, close my eyes, and breathe deep (until the little black bugs start swarming out of everywhere...if you've ever done it you know what I'm talking about), I had the faithful Columbia River, and the crisp non-humid air...but it wasn't home. 
It wasn't home cause those three very special people weren't there to enjoy it with.
That's when I learned that home is where your family is. (Even if it's Arkansas...)

Striving to learn how to cherish them...


  1. Aaahhhh. That just hit home. And put a warm feeling in my heart. :) Family...

  2. Was thinking about some of the same things today. There really is nothing like family, evening when they do things to push our buttons. :-)

  3. Three cheers for family moments, family memories, and miles and miles of lessons learned! :) Around here, we call it "familyness."

    Love the line in the new banner too...