I joined "52 Weeks" not too long ago. It's a blog carnival where Moms finally get from behind the camera, where we usually find ourselves, and into the picture. If you'd like to join, visit Carin over here.
When I was a little girl growing up in New Jersey, my mom would talk about her family in Indiana with such fondness. She loved them very much. Her brother was in the service and met a woman from near where I grew up, fell in love, and married her. Through moves in the service, he ended up in Indiana. That's about all of that part of the story that I know.
So as I was growing up, we would here about their children: Ward, David, Becky, Sarah, Jill, Theo, and Marcus. The older of the children would come to New Jersey to see us and visit the big city. They loved sightseeing in New York, visiting the Statue of Liberty, and just getting a taste of the city. I remember them talking about how they loved to visit, but wouldn't want to live there. They were country folk.
So one year when I was about 8 or 9 years old, a couple of cousins came that were 4 or 5 years older than me rather than the ones that were 9 or 10 years older than me. One of them was Jill (pictured next to me). I can remember her long, straight, blondish hair and thinking how pretty she was. She also had this very distinctive fragnance that I loved. It turned out to be "Shower to Shower" powder. And I also remember being intrigued by her wearing contacts. Not sure why, I just was.
She was really loving and caring; a very gentle spirit. She enjoyed spending time with us younger ones, but she spent lots of time with my older siblings that were her age. My younger brother, Jimmy, and older sister, Tracey, would be at home with Mom while they went sightseeing. My mom used to call us the "little ones" and my four older sisters and brother (Denise, April, Cindy, and Bobby) were the "big ones". So it seemed that the big ones had all the fun. We just played with our friends and would enjoy meals when we were all back together again.
Fast forward 15 or 20 years and what was established during those years when my cousins would visit has now become a relationship that is so much more. My relationship with Jill that is.
When I was in college, our families started to have planned "reunions". All of us Jersey folk got on a plane to head to Fort Wayne for our first official family reunion. It was great! God continued to weave our hearts together.
I later went on to graduate school in Davenport, Iowa to study chiropractic. Since Iowa is a tad closer to Indiana, I drove there several times to visit. It was especially memorable to me when Jill had met Tim and I was able to go to their wedding back in 1989 I think it was. I had looked forward to seeing all of my cousins and my Aunt Perina. I also met Tim's family, but could not remember all of them. Tim had a younger brother, also younger than me, whom I don't think I met at the time probably because he was just a young'n. The really interesting thing is that I would later end up marrying that same fellow.
In 1993, Jill saw fit to introduce me to Tim's brother, Shawn, at an Independence Day gathering. All of my cousins were getting together for a barbecue. They had a volleyball net up, too, which is always fun. On a whim, Jill thought it would be fun for us to meet. So it was on that day that I had met the man I would marry. To make a long story short (but not really), we were engaged after four months and married during our 11th month together. We have been married for 15 years now and all the glory goes to God Whom we keep at the center of our lives and family.
The other very important thing that Jill and I have in common is our faith in Christ. God has interwoven the two of us in different ways and this way has to be the most wonderful. We did not share that faith when we were younger, because at the time we didn't have a personal relationship with Jesus. God drew each of us to Him at different times.
Now when we get together, the bonds we share are:
Sisters in Christ.
Does it get any better than that?