Gratitude Day 330

Wed., Sept. 25, 2019

Acts 10:2:

He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.

My heart is very full, following several days full of family opportunities.

On Friday, I picked up two cousins at the airport. Cousins Heather and Renah flew to Wisconsin from Maryland because my niece, Carissa, married Jesse, on Saturday. It was a lovely wedding and celebration with lots of fun.

I hope the official photographer captured a better family photo taken on my camera. Clearly, Hubby Rick must have made me laugh and some other family caught it as well.

On Sunday, my sister Debbie and I traveled with our cousins to central Iowa. We attended a 60th anniversary party for my Mom’s first cousin, Jerry and his wife, Katherine in Ames. They have four daughters. It has been decades since we’ve seen these daughters. When my sisters and I were kids, we visited our grandparents each summer. We often played with these four sisters. It was great to reconnect with them at the anniversary party.

During our summer grandparent visits, we also rode the Story City Carousel, which we did again on this trip. For dinner, we visited another second cousin, Butch, at his farm.

We visited various cemeteries. Debbie and I found our paternal Deaton grandparent’s grave.

My Mom’s maiden name was Sowers. We knew of an old Sowers cemetery just outside of Story City, Iowa. Butch gave us directions, to the cemetery, which included “walk between the two houses like you own them. The cemetery is behind the houses.” He was right. While we felt a little awkward tramping through someone’s yard, the cemetery was just as described.

It has been about 30 years since I had been to this cemetery. It includes the founding Sowers family that settled in the Story City area in the mid-1800’s. One of the homeowners chatted with us. She and her husband take care of the cemetery.

We traveled to a rural cemetery where my Mom’s family is buried. We found Heather and Renah’s dad’s grave, our grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents from the maternal side of my family. We drove by the first farm where my parents farmed, as well as the farm where my maternal grandparents farmed. After lunch at a favorite restaurant of my maternal grandmother’s, we took Heather and Renah to the Des Moines airport. Amazingly, they made it back to Maryland before Debbie and I made it to our respective homes in Wisconsin.

While the weekend was a whirlwind trip with lots of driving, it was wonderful to spend so much time with our adult cousins. We never had cousins who lived near by while growing up. We’ve always lived in different states. It was fun to share stories and learn new trivia about our families because we remember different things.

We don’t get to pick our families. We do get to pick whether or not we develop relationships with family members. After years of little contact with our first cousins, we have re-established relationships with several. Life will always be busy. It’s up to us whether or not we choose to maintain relationships with our cousins who have the same grandparents as we did. It’s a heritage built on farming, faith in God and being hard-working people. We commented about how many of our current genetic and personality traits have passed down from generation to generation.

We often comment how important family is. It’s weekends like this past one where I am reminded how important it is to spend time with family, share stories and connect through God.

For wonderful family time, I am grateful. 

Holy God – thank you for special time with family the past few days. Sometimes, it’s easy to focus on how we view life differently from other family members. I pray we cling to those things which we hold in common together. Amen.

Blessings –


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