How can June already be over? It was a blur of busyness and family, celebrating and feasting. I didn’t get many photos on my birthday, but it was a happy day. I forgot how eager the kids are on anyone’s birthday to open presents, so I was barely out of my bedroom to get coffee that morning before a gaggle of little ones with tousled hair were pulling me to the kitchen table to see their gifts. I wanted to wait and maybe do gifts later, but they would have none of it. Brandon had taken them for a walk the night before to a grocery store nearby (while I was out with a girlfriend for coffee) where they picked out small gifts for me and cards. Philippa had picked some natural handmade lavender soap, noah had picked a charcoal infused loofah. Phoebe had been working on a handmade gift for me for a little while, a small wooden bird that she added stitching to. She had named it “Louis,” though it’s supposed to be a girl bird, and she was really quite tempted to keep it herself. She keeps asking me where Louis is and if I’m taking care of
him her. Brandon gifted me a couple of books I had on my wishlist, as well as a set of chiaogoo interchangeable needles. I cast on with them right away for a birthday shawl of sorts for myself with yarn I purchased with some birthday money, and it has been such a treat knitting with them! One of my brothers treated me to a 3-month coffee subscription to Counter Culture coffee and it has been one of my favorite gifts of all time! Later that day we went over to my parents house, as my mom and I share a birthday and we try to get together on it when we can. Mom treated me to a manicure/pedicure and then a dinner out to the only restaurant we can really go to with Phoebe (with a dedicated gluten free kitchen). It was a fun and busy day! I felt so very loved and spoiled and blessed and full.
The next day, family began streaming in. My brother from Canada and his wife were surprising mom for her 60th birthday, and my other siblings and their families were all arriving in the next day or so. Father’s day (Sunday) we gathered to celebrate mom’s 60th together, and it was truly unforgettable. It was the first time ever that we have *all* been together. We celebrated, ate, gave her a couple of special gifts, and ended the evening with singing together. I think we will all look back on these recent days we had together with joy and fondness. So much has happened in our family story, so many stories that aren’t mine to share–but when I look out across the landscape of our family, I see so much redemption that has come out of so much brokenness. We have an enemy who has tried to dismantle, break, ruin, and destroy our family in very painful ways, and we have seen hard years together. But here we are, still standing. Still together, by God’s grace alone. Still going forward in love and forgiveness and hope secure in a God who is able to hold us fast.
Ps. I actually did pretty horribly at taking photos with my camera while everyone was here. I really only brought it to the picnic, and got a random smattering. But here’s a special video clip that I’m thankful I captured.