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86 and 13. So much life lived and so much to live.

A few years ago (2006 to be exact) we were all able to go back to Atlanta for Christmas. Even Morgan was able to come down from DC. What a blessing that was!

One of my family’s traditions is for the extended family on my Mom’s side to gather for the holidays – and when I was growing up it was ALL the holidays! I must admit, I do miss that deep sense of my roots and the connectedness that existed from all our infamous gatherings.

While not everyone was able to make it to my Mom’s for the celebration that Christmas, there was a good turnout. Not only did we celebrate Christmas, we also celebrated two birthdays – my Uncle Britt (my Mom’s brother) and my son, JonMarc (my next to the youngest). 86 and 13. There was a lot of history in between those years, and a lot of change. The life experience of my son will be nothing like that of my uncle.

If I have any regrets for my years in Lynden, it is that my kids were not able to really get to know their extended family. Pranks and practical jokes abounded in my family. My uncles were notorious for their shenanigans. And the cousins weren’t far behind. Get-togethers were the highlights of my childhood memories.

My Granny was engaged when she met my Granddad. I don’t think breaking engagements and marrying someone else was particularly common in the early 1900’s. But she said she knew it was she had to do as soon as she met my Granddad. She was widowed shortly after her youngest grandchild (my “little” brother) was born, and never remarried, even though she lived to be 98.

During World War II, my Uncle Britt was shot down over Germany and was imprisoned in Stalag 13 – of Hogan’s Heroes fame. Only he assured us that it was certainly not the fun and frolic as depicted on the TV show. When he returned home, he went right to work for Ford, and retired from there many decades later.

While I have many wonderful memories and stories about growing up in my family, I wish I had more. I wish I had more of their stories. I wish that I had been one to sit and ask them about their lives and their memories, and to be able to remember the details. I wish I had more to pass down to my kids and eventually to my grandkids.

But I am grateful for one source of stories that have changed the destiny of mankind – and that is my Bible. We are currently studying the book of Ruth in my Ladies Bible Study at church. How grateful I am for the stories that tell of God’s pursuit of all people. That even though the children of Israel are His chosen people, their being chosen was certainly not exclusive. And God was not just interested in the men in the line of His beloved Son, Jesus. He was very interested in the women and recorded the stories of the women who were grafted in to that line.

In God’s eyes, being a woman was never less than being a man. We are equal in His sight – equally loved and equally honored. Co-heirs with Christ.

Family memories. Family stories. Family inheritance. Do you know yours – both earthly and heavenly? Stories have the power to  change lives. Oh, how I want to become a better story collector!