My sister Jean was swinging on the porch swing, watching for wildlife. We were spending a relaxing weekend together with our families at a little cabin in the woods of Pennsylvania.

Two-year-old Allison saw Jean on the swing and went out to sit with her. We watched as Allison's face turned to Jean, mouthing something. Jean turned back to her, patiently, with an answer. We couldn't hear them, but we could see a special bond in the making and we savored the fact that we were able to witness it.

Is there someone in your extended family that you are especially close to? Aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews have more than just blood connecting them. There's history past and a family story yet to be made: Sharing joys and struggles, good memories and bad.

I'm blessed that Allison has Jean. It takes a family to raise a child. It takes a Loving Universe to bring family together.

One Big Happy

Our driveway is a lot for rental cars,
our basement a campsite:
blankets on couches,
air mattresses, sleeping bags.
Upstairs, the cacophony of catching up:
Look how the kids have grown!
How was the vacation?
Gee, I miss Gram.

Thank You for bringing us together.
Thank You for gathering us safely.
Thank You for this loud, unruly crowd:
My family, my heart.
Keep them in Your care,
for together or apart,
they sustain me.
Keep us from quarreling,
from raising old accusations and hurts.
We have so little time to love.
Please, help us make each moment
together a memory.

- Lori Strawn

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