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Two years ago, my family spent a week together at the beach – Dad, Mom, Sister, Brother-in-law, Niece, and Brother. As we near the end of another family beach trip, I’ve been considering how different our family is today. For years it was just the five of us, then my sister got married, a few years later had a baby, and now it’s four years later… Suddenly life is considerably different.

During our last visit, my sister and brother-in-law delighted us by sharing their precious two-year old daughter with us. She brought joy to the boring adults we’d become. But I was alone, afraid, jobless, and unsure of my future. Money was nearly out, job applications had been sent with no response, and all I wanted was to find my husband, have a home of my own, and children. My little brother was trying to figure out what he was going to do with his life, having tried several things and not been satisfied with any of them. My parents lived in South Carolina where Mom did real estate and Dad pastored a rural church.

During this visit, my sister and brother-in-law have again delighted us by sharing their newest addition to the family – a happy, healthy, content little 8-month old boy. His four-year old big sister continues to amaze and entertain us as well. Within weeks of that last beach trip, I was employed and dating Rick, who is now my husband. We have a beautiful home of our own and are expecting our first child.

I’ve been focusing on my writing career and feel incredibly thankful for the luxury of doing so. My brother is a serious college student, studying hard to finish up while working. He left us about halfway through the week to go spend time with his serious girlfriend and her family during their family vacation at a nearby beach. We are all so happy that he’s found a girl he cares about and enjoying getting to know her better. My parents are now living in Virginia and my sister’s family is getting ready to move as well.

This year is the last time we’ll be able to rent a smaller condo. If we do this again in two years, the kids will need their own rooms. Adam, who will be nearly 28 years old, probably won’t be content to crash on the couch, and things will change again. We couldn’t have known what changes we could expect two years ago, and I won’t be so presumptuous as to assume I can predict all that might change. But I hope that it will again be good changes, things we can celebrate and savor the time together.

We have some difficult things coming up in the life of our family. The joy comes with pain and difficulties. I guess that’s the way life is. I’m just so thankful that we’ve had this time together. So many families have lost those closest to them, can’t get together for whatever reason, or simply don’t want to be together. We are truly blessed. Thank You, God, for my precious family.

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