Wednesday, April 29, 2009

family can be a good thing

i love it when everyone comes “home”. all the kids, all the grandkids. we eat. we talk. we laugh. during one such weekend the scene looked like this: one grandchild spilled soap bubbles in one bedroom. another grandchild had an accident in the other bedroom. some of the boys shot hoops in the driveway. our granddaughter demonstrated her “kung fu ballet” in the living room. the babies tried to play the piano. one child was either chasing or squeezing one of the dogs. someone else took a nap. nothing earth changing. no great pearls of wisdom to share. but lots of mess, and noise, and activity, . . . something happening in every corner of this big ol’ house.

people comment all the time, what a large, loving family we have. and it’s true, we do have a large, loving family. but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of this affectionate tribe. we get irritated at each other. even angry at times. we inconvenience each other. we step on each other’s toes. we can get in each other’s faces. we are a group of leaders with strong opinions about pretty much everything.

gunther and i have been very intentional about cultivating this family together. there has been one guiding truth that has navigated us through the occasional tiffs and struggles – we choose to love each other, and loving each other is more important to us than being right. if we have to agree to disagree on certain issues, then we will do all we can to make our peace, humble ourselves, and forgive. it is our goal not to stay angry – not to hang on to our hurts. it’s not easy - it can mean confrontation and vulnerability. it takes honesty. it means revealing “hey, that hurt me” and “there’s something between us that needs to be made right”. it can be hard work.

when those situations arise, what helps is remembering that we love each other and are for each other. when you know you’re on the same team, it’s a lot easier to work through the muck.

truth is, we’re not all that unique. we have lots of skeletons in our family closet. our collective background is not all that pretty. i mean issues. but rather than allowing our family history to define us, we’ve chosen to establish our own legacy, and by God’s grace, deal with our stuff.

the payoff? a large, loving family. we have vital growing relationships with each other, and we are priviledged to be a part of one another’s lives.

not there yet? take heart and begin with one member of your family - do all you can to make a connection. this cliche can ring true: “let it begin with me”, or “be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.” the saying goes “you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family”, but consider what could happen if you were to invest in your family, and your relatives were to become your friends too.

here are some photos from our easter weekend together; it was family madness.

the kids enjoying the bounce house.

Gamma enjoyed it too!

we decided to include a little family competition - including a ballooon launching contest, and a pie eating contest.

we were thrilled that our daughter-in-law's parents decided to join us for the easter celebration. here is gunther and gail. at the end of the competition, gunther decided to plant his pie in gail's face. in the true spirit of family - she got him right back!

it was a celebration worth remembering!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

the wedding standard

cameron ingalls recently interviewed us for "the wedding standard".

cameron is an amazingly gifted wedding photographer; someone who has raised the bar in his industry. in a world where the competition is stiff, one of the unique things about cameron’s talent is that he is so willing to give away what he has learned. as a result he has encouraged and inspired scores of other’s to pursue their dreams.

although we are continually impressed at what cameron produces from behind the lens, he has so many other skills and characteristics that are even more outstanding. so that you won't think we are biased simply because he is our son-in-law – you need to know the truth - we actually fell in love with him before anna did.

please check out our interview.