How do you define family?  Is it comprised of the members of your household?  Can you trace your family tree?  What value do we place on family?  For me, family is my safe harbor.  It is the place where I can be my true self, where I can laugh, cry, get angry, rejoice, love, rest, and savor.  I am currently in my season of motherhood, motherhood revolving around the daily achievments of a preschooler.  It's hard to believe my days now focus on growing language skills, potty times, hugs, crafts, cartoons, and naps.  Or at least naps when my son decides to bless me with them!  Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who has commited to this season with me.  Together we are learning to rejoice in both the sweet and not-so-sweet daily experiences we share as a family. 

Beyond my immediate household, I am blessed beyond all wonder with awesome parents and grandparents.  Being a mother has forced me to reflect upon the idea of spiritual legacies, one of the cornerstones being the legacy developed in families.  What legacy are you developing?  What values, rituals, traditions, beliefs do you hold dear?  What does your heart rejoice in when it comes to family time?  I am learning that family is what you make it, and that the glue holding my family together is the time we invest in one another. 

One way we reinforce family time is through vacation.  I feel for familes who have not created a standard of vacation.  Vacations do not need to be elaborate, they can be weekends spent close to home- camping, at a B & B, visiting an amusement park, or just visiting relatives.  The biggest blessing I have received from vacations is time spent removed from my normal routine, a routine that so often distracts from me from focusing on my loved ones.  I often hear people say that vacations are MORE stressful than real life, and I find my heart saddened by this.  For us, it's all about expectations.  Vacation is not about how much you can cram into a short time period, it's about enjoying new experiences together.  My family is currently planning a Disney trip- the first for our son.  For us though, it's not about doing all things Disney, it's about providing our family with an experience that we can all participate in together.  We have made a pledge to choose a short list of Disney activities we would like to do with our son, and we have also pledged to spend lots of time by the pool, resting and being rejuvinated.  If you haven't made vacation a priority for your family, I challenge you to start small- choose one experience you would like to do as a family.  Make memories that will far outlast the newest video game, or the current TV hits.

To be continued...