SOME OF MY FONDEST memories are the summer days I spent visiting my cousins in Texas.  We only saw each other every two years, but the bonds we formed have lasted a lifetime.  Picnics, amusement parks, miniature golf, swimming, and staying up late playing games are just a few of the fun things we did together.  And now that I am an adult, it doesn’t seem to matter how many years go by before we meet again, we pick up right where we left off.

                This past weekend, my brothers’ families and mine were blessed to celebrate my mom’s 80th birthday at Potato Creek State Park in northern Indiana.  Our families gathered from Washington state in the west, the coast of Florida in the east, Texas and Arizona in the south, and a few other states in between.  When all stood around to sing “Happy Birthday” to Mom, there were 42 family members and some friends.  A time of sharing special memories with Mom followed.  It was a wonderful tribute to her, especially to hear how she had influenced the lives of so many. Her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have been all touched in their own way by my mother’s love.

                What caught my attention, as I mingled with everyone throughout the day, were the generations of cousins.  As the older cousins sat around and visited, reliving memories of their youth, the younger children played making new friends and forming life-long bonds.  I wondered if they would grow up having the same warm feelings I have when I think about my cousins.  Will they remember this day and the connections they made?  Will they look at pictures and know the love that joins them together as family?

                My parents are blessed.  From just three children, their family has reached over 40 members and continues to grow.  Their love, like a fountain, pours out upon us all.  We have learned from their example and reap the blessings of their spiritual nurturing.  May God continue to bless them for many years to come.  And may the cousins remember this special day.  May the next we gather, they pick up where they left off and relish the making of memories.

“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” (Psalm 127:4-5, NIV)

Prayer:  Dear Lord, Thank you for my parents.  Thank you that we were all able to spend this special day honoring my mother and celebrating her 80th birthday.  I pray that each in attendance departed with a special memory.  Thank you that the little ones were able to enjoy their cousins and establish the bond that can only come from  being family.  I pray this in your Son’s holy name, Amen.