Family Moments

My mind went back and forth as I debated about the finishing touches in my guest room.  Should I line the dresser or night stand with framed photos of romantic memories of the two of them like I’ve always done or should I leave the space empty with more room to settle in after unpacking?  After polishing the desk, I placed a mini album on it, off to one side.  At will, he could pick it up and breeze through countless photos of family, mostly of my sister posing with her kids, family members, and friends.

My brother-in-law, Eduardo, spent a week in our home earlier this month marking just shy of a year since my sister passed away.  He still lives in their Chicago home and tries hard to cover up his emptiness but his blue eyes portray a river of sadness.  He misses her like crazy.  I worried that being here with me might cause more grief.  She was my sister, in fact, and we bear similarities.  Oh how he easily speaks of them too!  To my surprise, it turned out to be more positive than negative.  I worried for nothing.

The Kids Stepped Up

His visit turned into a family reunion that week.  My girls and their families came through, once again, to honor their uncle and our family ties.  We assembled in our home and we all gained close to ten pounds cooking together as well as going out to eat!  

Eduardo, born in Bari, Italy, came to the USA in his teen years.  He loves to cook.  I took full advantage of his creative art skills in my kitchen.  We lapped up trays of his Bruschetta appetizer as soon as it came out of the oven.  

I always ask him to prepare Pasta Fagioli when he visits.  This time I bought Italian tomatoes and everyone applauded.  One night my daughter planned a dinner party for her co-workers which Ed catered with enough of the chicken and pasta main entrée left over for us the next day.  I treasured him by my side at my island chopping, stirring and presenting food with so much love!

It took an Italian marrying into our family to free us up to hug and kiss each other more often.  Affectionate little Amy puckered up in no time for her grand uncle and he got the biggest kick out of that!  To be like a child, what a goal! 

We achieved balance of eating with a hike in Sedona for exercise.

The Painted Desert and the City of Page

I have lived in central Arizona for over 25 years and never traveled to Lake Powell, the popular recreational canyon lake where many hike, fish, swim and kayak.  We took a day trip north to the famous attraction that borders on the state of Utah.   We chose a boat tour on the Colorado River and explored beautiful rock formations.   We inhaled monumental beauty of the Painted Desert, glorious beaches, a marina and a sunset that took our breath away.

What a week to love and enjoy family and soak in beauty all around us!  My heart is full. 

Family is not an important thing
It’s everything!
Michael J. Fox


  1. What a special time! I'm sure it was healing for him to spend that time with all of you.
    He sounds like a marvelous cook!

  2. Italians are very creative, and a great human addition to any family!
    It looks like you know how to make the best of life, enjoying family reunions, good food, nature explorations.
    Wonderful pictures!

  3. I'm going to have to get up to that area; it looks beautiful! I'm glad you all were able to spend such special time with your brother-in-law; I bet everyone benefited from his visit in more ways than one!


  4. Oh, what sweet memories you made! I can only imagine how sad it was for you to see Ed without your sister. While you were worrying about how it would make him feel to see you and notice the similarities, etc., I imagine your heart was breaking thinking of him coming to visit alone. It is wonderful that you all were able to spend such happy times together. May God be near to comfort you in each moment of grief and missing your sister. Sending hugs your way, my friend!

  5. That bruschetta is making my mouth water! I'm so glad your BIL was able to join hearts with you all; perhaps this reunion will turn out to be an annual event? Lil' Amy gets cuter with every post!

  6. That was a lovely reunion with your BIL sister Mary. I think we're all on the same boat that sometimes, we let "worries" take over with anything planned. But we all know better, it has no purpose but to ruin God's plans. But in that situation, I see you as a very thoughtful SIL who just wanted the best for your BIL's stay. All the pics and your stories proved how awesome it was! Who can resist Italian food??? All I could think off was that I'm happy that you were able to get stronger knees and be able to do all those things with your loving family. In God's perfect time! I also wanna thank you for praying always for me and my family, especially for my son who my husband and I are truly blessed with, with his love and faith for the Lord. I can't ask for anything more. Praying also for you sister. I know it's vital for our journeys and so glad we're walking on this difficult trek together...God bless you all and protect you guys!!! Love to you always.

  7. What a sweet time the Lord blessed you with. How hard that must have been, but yet what a precious way to remember the life of your sister, by sharing family time together. And, your activity level is such an encouragement to me as my husband is persevering through his knee replacement rehab now!

  8. Awe, I love the pictures of your wonderful family. How precious that your BIL loves you all so much and he you all as well. I cannot imagine his sadness nor do I hope I ever have too. Only God can carry us through such sadness I know. I am quite sure you all enjoyed his cooking skills. I know I would have. Hugs and blessings to you dear Mary.

  9. Thank you so much for your post with wonderful photos. Love it. What an amazing family and area and tasty Bruschetta.I love to read about it. How nice to see YOU on th epics surrounded by your love ones. xxx

  10. I went to this place with local friends and we had a blast at party venue here. The long happy hour definitely ensures a full upstairs, but I'd recommend the quieter downstairs to enjoy your stuffed burger and fries!

  11. This just pretty amazing! love that you spent your week well wth familia and that beautiful rock formations! O Lord, Your creations!

  12. Such a beautiful family reunion!! And wonderful places you go together!! Yes, the beauty of God`s creation and His Love shines through it all!!♡

  13. How cool that you guys got to spend time with precious family. Love that you got to make a family reunion out of Eduardo's visit.

    That's what this life is meant for. Glad you take time to make memories and moments count.

    I'm watching and learning.

    Except for the eating Italian... I got that down in spades!


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