The other night my sister called to tell me that Grayson was chosen from a large group of kids to participate in a Visual Arts Workshop. He is very artistic and he was chosen because of his talent.This is a pretty cool deal.  You know what? I was as happy about that as if he were my kid.. and I had to tell Sharlee right away..  Good Job Grayson!!!

This little event and the fact that I am giving a lesson Sunday on Extended Family has given me a chance to reflect on what a gift it is to have the extra love and friendship from extended family. My parents were real big on the “never too many people to love” type of thinking. Growing up I spent sooo much time with my cousins. We thought we belonged together. My grandparents lived right next door to me and were included in all of our stuff. I would get a new dress for Easter and have to run over and show it to my Grandma ( who really appreciated nice clothes by the way ) . I hung out with Dad’s Great Aunts and Uncles. My Uncle Babe came through town and we always went to dinner.

When I got older my in- laws became a big part of my family as well. I am as different from them as you probably can get. They are very quiet reserved family and I of course am not. They still loved me and I in turn loved them back. They are just like my own. My parents both got along really well with them and we have had many family gatherings with all of them. My mother-in-law rocked my nephews to sleep when they came through Utah and stopped to see her. This in itself is a gift.. Cara and Levi stopped to see MY in laws.!

We have had many gatherings in my parent’s home with such a diverse group of people. Our own family has gained such a blessing from this. Early on my kids learned about all kinds of people and we have a richness that some will never know. They learned to love the quirkiness of even the weird relatives and to love them in spite of this, the type of childhood my mom had in N.C., things my dad did that my grandma didn’t know and the list goes on and on.

 Levi’s parents come to our family holidays now and his dad will talk to dad and Todd about guns and airplanes and Marie makes jokes with me in the kitchen. We love them. 

 I have gained extended family through my good friends and both of my kids. We have Carma and Mike… and I LOVE Misty!! I love Misty’s family. I Love Zach and his family. It was really fun to have his sister here for Thanksgiving with our family last year. I Love Kylie and her family. They included Shar and me in their wedding dress shopping! Which I thought was incredible. They are good to us – they have always been good to Shane too. This means more than anything to me. I LOVE absolutely LOVE Shane’s friends and those boys are really good to me.. We have incredible memories and even better PLANS for the friends and family.

Having them has given me the memory of two little tiny boys running in and yelling “Awnt Elise” , Gatlin playing hide and seek with me and whispering to me behind the couch, an “ I yuv you Aunt Eyeese” , a “your mom is so funny” from Misty… (after I gave her a what I perceived to be a religious gift for Christmas), 5 dances at my son’s wedding with his friends and  Ken or a pat on my arm from Emma when we were reading stories a few weeks ago.

 You can “NEVER HAVE Too many people to Love “!!!