Posts Tagged ‘aunt’

See the little serious flower girl? Somehow the last 28 years have passed in a blink on an eye because she’s getting married tomorrow. 

My niece Kim – a flower girl at my wedding and sweetest cousin to my boys – heads down the aisle to marry her Prince Charming Travis. She is lovely and smart, cute and sparkly, brave and loyal.

Five years ago she was in Japan during the horrible earthquake & tsunami, only a few short miles from the horrific devastation. For many hours we didn’t know if she was safe or even where she was. Completing her year as a kindergarten teacher in a Japanese school, she stayed after the earthquake to help restore some normalcy in the lives of her kids. She even went back a year later to once again aid in rebuilding a country she had fallen in love with. She’s one of my heroes. 

The middle child sometimes becomes overlooked by the antics of older & younger siblings, but Kim was always the picture of grace. I’m sure she had her moments but I lived 250 miles away so I never saw it.  She spent a week each summer with her childless Aunt Kris & Uncle Don, but I’m sure she enjoyed it more when I had babies to play with. 

Don is so honored to be included in her ceremony. He used to take her to the donut shop when he lived close and before he married me. In fact, she wasn’t so sure about her “Unca Don” picking a different “best girl” when I showed up. Took me the better part of my first weekend to win her over…pretty pathetic to see a grown woman jealous of a 3-year-old.  
Tonight I’m writing this blog as they rehearse tomorrow’s ceremony. The maneuvering of the bridal party, the squirming little ring & sign-bearers, the music, and giggles, and nervousness…all in preparation for the beginning of her new life as Mrs. Travis Barnhart. I love her and I’m so excited to see my flower girl become the bride – a little girl all grown up. 

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Don and I do not live close to either side of our family. Except for our own children, the closest family member is two hours away. In years past, for a variety of reasons, I did not spend much time with any of my family. I can make excuses. I was busy raising my kids, busy in ministry, busy with schooling and work and activities. But in the last two years, I’ve come to realize that anyone will make time for what is important…what consumes your time, consumes your heart.

So I determined that for 2016, my word is family.

Now that we are almost one-quarter of the way through the year (yikes!), I want to evaluate my progress in meeting my goal of more family time. In January we travelled to Dubuque to see my nephew’s basketball game. In February Don and I went to Ames to take our son to breakfast and to meet some members of my soon-to-be daughter-in-law’s family. Today I just returned from a quick visit to see my sister, brother-in-law, aunt, brother, nephew and niece.

I love my amazing family…those I can visit often and those much further away. No matter how far apart my visits, I’m always welcomed with open arms. My sister and I can talk constantly, laugh uncontrollably, and reminisce tearfully…all night long.


I’m determined to be more than an aunt in name only to my brother’s kids. I want to watch my nephew play baseball and my niece perform gymnastic feats. I want to be a presence in the lives of my aunts and uncles. I enjoy listening to stories from my 8-year-old niece and my 88-year-old aunt. Both are delightful. In two weeks, I’ll watch another beloved niece get married. I’ll enjoy the antics of my little great-nephews, and hug my lovely mother-in-law. Two months from now, at my own son’s wedding, we’ll have the privilege of hosting many McGarvey and McCullough family members. What an opportunity for joyful expressions of love and acceptance!

I’m still very busy ~ I’m still involved in ministry, parenting, and work, but my determination, my priority is now to make intentional time for family. Time passes so quickly ~ let’s live so we have wonderful memories, not regrets.

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