Holy blog hits people! I've been overwhelmed with this outpouring of well wishes and celebrations over the news of the hope I have been given to hang onto through this next phase of my cancer journey. I have many hurdles to get over still, but I'll swing from that thread of hope and keep praying it's enough to see me through. I wonder so often who all of you are? My blog seems to be going out to all corners of the US and beyond, and my boys and I love to see the places that pop up. We have no clue who most of you are, but we are so honored to have you follow our little story.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and if any of you who are new to us want to drop us a line- we'd be thrilled!
“Nobody will understand the craziness of your family better than your cousins”
The photo says January, 1972. I imagine it could have been my brother's birthday. These are just a few of my cousins- back row, Pam, Rob, and his brother David. Front row are me, and then my cousin Jennifer (sister to Pam) who was born just 11 days after me in July of 1967.
All together, we were a crew of 19. Can you imagine our family gatherings? It often included a large portion of us. I don't recall having a birthday party with friends until I was much older- my cousins were always my party guests.
Flash forward to 2013. I'm not even sure what year we started gathering again at Christmas, for a "cousin's party." Rick and I had moved to Idaho and would make sure that we were back in Minnesota in time for the gathering.
Over the years our group just continues to expand. These are my 2 of mom's (3) sisters, on either side of her, Carol, then Marlene.
Marlene is about to go from being a "super" Grandma, to a "Great" grandma in March- by not just one of her grandchildren, but two of them.
What we enjoy so much now, is that while the "big kids" get to be finally be upstairs, its our own kids who go downstairs and hang out, much like we used to. They are second cousins, but really? My kids just think they are "cousins." Truly, does it matter when you are family?
“A cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.”
I took just a few photos at our cousin's party last weekend. I was soaking it all in. Here I am with Kaelyn, my cousin's daughter. We were quite taken with the fact we matched our outfits perfectly!
Lauren and her cousin Lindsey.
Stephanie, Amanda, and Kaelyn.
Jennifer- my cousin from above, with her daughter Lauren. I noticed while Jennifer's hand was in Lauren's hair, Lauren's hand was on Jennifer's coat tag.
I didn't move from my perch on the couch most of the night. I wouldn't have missed the gathering for anything, but I was clearly fatigued and content to sit.
“Cousins by chance, friends by choice.” ~ Proverb
I did manage one quick trip downstairs where all the action was taking place. Colton, playing with his cousin Keenen. These two see each other at school every day and both play hockey.
A couple of years ago I blogged this and still stands true today:
I think by the end of the evening I had a fairly firm grasp on just what it means to be part of this family. Here is what I came up with. Its a sort of a "You might be a Brainerd if ..."
My cousins and their families along with my aunts and uncles, have blessed us over and over again. They've provided numerous meals. Giftcards for whatever we may need. Brownies and cookies and treats. We had help with new floors for the kitchen and living room. We got help with our computers. Whatever needs we've had, they've been met.
We're feeling so blessed by so many.
Here is another small sample of gifts and thoughtfulness that have streamed through my door:
Thank you Konvalin family for the courage bracelet with the breast cancer ribbon on it. I love how dainty it is and I am happy to wear courage as a reminder of who I want to be.
How sweet is this angel? Thank you Stavenger family for all you do to continue to bless me!
I was up before the sunrise the other day, with Rick out of town I was in charge of all the morning duties. These beautiful flowers arrived the afternoon before- but I awoke to the sun starting to stream in through the window and I got to seem them in all their glory. Thank you to the Moilanen family for their continued thoughtfulness!!
I have had some pretty amazing emails and phone calls as of late with more things to come in the following weeks and months…
God's blessings to you all as we prepare to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus!