Ever since I was a little girl, Christmas has been a special time in our family.
I grew up loving to celebrate this season of  joy with family and all the traditions that come with it.
When I was 9 years old, my favorite person in the entire world went home to be with Jesus.
I can remember more about this Christmas than any other in my mind, and looking back it feels like it was yesterday.
December 27th marked 15 years since my grandmother has been gone, and I can say I'm not sure time heals everything.
Our family has not quite been the same since this happened but I have cherished the moments we have with our family since then.

I have heard countless stories from my Mom about her childhood memories with her Grandmother, Aunt, and Cousins. 
All such sweet memories and times she has cherished no doubt.
Life is busy, and schedules tend to keep us from spending time with the people we love but this year we got the chance to go visit my Mom's Aunt and cousins.

I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful this trip was.
I can't speak for my parents, but I can say that for a few days, I had a taste of something I have so been missing.

My Mom's Aunt, reminds me so so so much of my grandmother. She has such a big heart and being welcomed into her home is an understatement. I felt like one of her own.
I felt overwhelmed to even hear her voice and I cherished a hug from her more than she will ever know.

She doesn't know it yet, but someday when I have kids of my own, they will be making frequent visits to see her. 
My Mom and her cousins together were so fun to watch, and I loved hearing their stories and the laughs to follow.

I must say I grew up with similar traditions and homemade noodles were loved by everyone just like they are in our house. They were amazing.


 What happens when you get 20 of us together and do a gift exchange? Barry comes up with awesome ideas is what happens, and suddenly picking a gift is timed and the game is intense.
One thing I learned, I know where my mom gets her competitive spirit from.
Everyone in this family is athletic and competitive. 

 No doubt a night full of laughs and memories made. 


 I fell in love with this little guy, Zachary, who is about the coolest 5 year old I've met.
You never really know what He's gonna say and that's the best part.


 It might be a whole year before I forgive Cory for stealing the blanket I've been wanting from me. 
It really was so much fun and just a great time.
Again, I felt like I had been there my whole life and I cherish those memories.
Besides eating some really good food, I can say I've never gone out on the golf course for 18 holes in 34 degree weather, but it happened.
Watching 3 teams of 3 play against each other was sheer entertainment for me, and I'm not sure I could feel my hands or my feet the whole time. Thank God for handwarmers.

I so enjoyed getting to know everyone since it's literally been 'forever' since I've seen them.
I felt blessed to have the chance to share part of my story with some of the family, and to hear where they have been and some of their real life struggles.
Conversations were real and I am thankful for these 'new' relationships and for the encouragement I felt from them even in the short time we spent there.

As far as my cousins are concerned I had so much fun getting to spend time with people my age.
I've followed on facebook, and wondered what it'd be like to meet them in person and spend time with them, and I can honestly say it was such a great time.

Let's see, the last time Cory, Joshua and I would have been together would have been for
Paula  & Derrick's Wedding.
I'd say we've grown up quite a bit since then. 
Just 20 years. 



Caleb, Julie, Cory, Bethany, Joshua

It wasn't like we met for the first time but instead picked up where we left off.
It was great  meeting Caleb's fiance, Julie as well!
Cory should have never told me he was in Med school because I found my new tutor.
I think I drilled them all with questions about their lives, but really I loved hanging out with all of them!


I reconnected with Joshua over the past year and have so enjoyed getting to know him. It was awesome to finally spend time in person and I feel so blessed to have family like this. 

Our last night we went to Downtown Greenville and enjoyed some coffee and dessert .


I'm not really sure how to wrap this all up because I literally could go on and on and on.
This was the best Christmas gift I got this year.

To all of my family that this was written about.
Thank you for such an incredible time. For welcoming us like we've been there every year, and for being genuine and real. More than presents or food, I cherish the relationships made and feel so blessed to call you family.
This is something I feel like I've been missing for so long and the past few days were such a gift. 
I pray that  it won't be long before we see you all again. 






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