Tag Archive for comfort

Are You a Marriage Consumer?

We live in a world that encourages consumerism. From commercials to billboards, we are encouraged to consume products and services to gain rest, pain-free living, joy, and satisfying relationships. Movies even encourage the idea that intimate relationships “complete me,” satisfy our need for joy, and offer escape from bad situations. In such a world, marriage can become just another product to consume our never-ending search for self-satisfaction. If we fall into this trap, we become marriage consumers.

  • phubbingA marriage consumer uses marriage to satisfy his own needs and desires.
  • A marriage consumer demands his spouse to fill him with joy.
  • A marriage consumer expects his spouse to satisfy his hunger for approval and affection.
  • A marriage consumer consumes sexual intimacy, expecting to receive all he “deserves.”
  • A marriage consumer attaches himself to his spouse to get out of his parents’ house or away from the wrong crowd or into the most convenient lifestyle.
  • Overall, the marriage consumer finds who can provide what he hungers for and consumes it. Unfortunately, he consumes while giving nothing in return. Eventually, he is left with an empty shell of a spouse, a spouse sucked dry with nothing left to give.

There is an alternative to being a marriage consumer. In our consumer-oriented world, this alternative will strike many as risky. It will arouse our fear of becoming a doormat to our spouse. But, I can assure you nothing is further than the truth. This alternative can fill your marriage to overflowing and…The more you give the more you have to give. What is the alternative? To become a marriage investor.

  • A marriage investor considers his spouse as “more important than himself. He does not merely look out for his own personal interests, but also for the interests of” his spouse (Philippians 2:3-4).
  • A marriage investor listens to understand the needs and desires of his spouse (James 1:19).
  • A marriage investor anticipates his spouse’s need for comfort, assurance, or love and strives to meet that need.
  • A marriage investor constantly seeks ways to express his love to his spouse.
  • A marriage investor engages in acts of kindness and support…smiling all the while.
  • A marriage investor energetically builds his spouse up.

You get the idea. A marriage consumer seeks to satisfy his own needs and, in the process, sucks his spouse dry. A marriage investor seeks to satisfy his spouse’s needs and, in the process, fills both his spouse and himself to overflowing with love, joy, and peace. Which do you want to become?

We Have a New Cat…

My family just got a new kitten. My wife loves kittens so we have had a cat (or two) most of our married life. My daughters also love kittens. They laugh, giggle, “ooh,” and “aww” as the cats play or snuggle up. I don’t tell them, but I kind of like cats too. I don’t “ooh” and “aww” or sit around watching them play; but it is relaxing to pet a cat and listen to him purr. Actually, owning a pet of any kind brings great benefit to your family. Let me share a few.

  • catsPet ownership actually has medical benefits for your family. University of Pennsylvania conducted a study showing that owning a pet had benefits similar to health-promoting behaviors like eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking, and having close ties with family and friends for those with heart disease. Other studies have shown that petting a dog or cat lowers blood pressure. One study showed that 5- to 11-year-olds who had a pet in the home took fewer sick days off school. And children who had a pet in the home during their first year of life had fewer allergies and less asthma when they were between 7-13 years old. Pet owners also live longer. (Read more about these benefits in Medical Self-Care: Health Benefits of Pet Ownership)
  • Pet ownership reduces stress. Whether you watch a cat chase a red dot, receive a rambunctious welcome from your puppy, or simply watch fish in an aquarium, pets help us laugh and relax.
  • Pet ownership teaches responsibility. Your children can have the chore of feeding, scooping, cleaning, or bathing. They learn responsibility by taking ownership of such a meaningful chore, a chore that promotes life and relationship. You can also participate in these jobs with them to enhance your own parent-child relationship.
  • Pet ownership promotes learning. It may seem strange, but you have seen it if you have pets-your child sitting with their pet curled up beside them reading a book or doing homework. A pet offers a non-judgmental ear for children’s learning. In one study, children who owned dogs were given the choice of reading with a peer, an adult, or their pet dog. Forty percent chose to read with their dog. They felt most relaxed practicing this skill with their pet. (Learn more about how pets help kids learn at The Benefits of Pets).
  • Pet ownership can provide comfort to family members. One study asked children what they would give less popular children to help them make friends. The number one answer: a pet! Pets teach us how to show empathy. They also provide a great starting point for relationship, a common ground to talk about with many other children. Another study asked a group of five-year-old pet owners what they did when they felt sad, angry, or afraid. Forty percent mentioned their pets. Pets provided them comfort, a non-judgmental ear, and affection when they needed it. I have met several children who note they feel safer at home with a pet to keep them company or a dog to offer extra protection.
  • Pet ownership increases family bonding and fun. Families come together to share in grooming, feeding, walking, and cleaning pets. They play together with their pets. They watch them together, laughing at “pet antics.” In one instance, 70% of families surveyed reported an increase in family happiness and fun after acquiring a pet. In a study of one hundred children 13 years old or younger, 80% of those who owned cats got along better with friends and family. (For more on these and other benefits read The Positive Effects of Pet Ownership for Kids).
  • Pet ownership encourages everyone’s ability to care for others. Caring for a pet can plant the seeds of compassion. In particular, caring for a pet allows boys the opportunity to engage in a caring activity that does not appear “too girly.”

There you have it-7 benefits of pet ownership for your family…and mine. I admit it. I enjoy our cats. Perhaps these two quotes sum up the benefits of pet ownership. I hope you like them.

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to get home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” (John Grogan, Marley and Me)

“Pets devour loneliness. They give us purpose, responsibility, a reason for getting up in the morning, and a reason to look to the future.” (Nick Trout, Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon)

Four Ways to Fill Your Family with Meaning

Feel happiness. Experience less stress, less anxiety, and less depression. Discover more control in your life. Sound good? Research suggests you can experience these things by adding meaning to your life. When we become part of something bigger than ourselves we find meaning…and meaning contributes to greater happiness. Specifically, adding meaning to our lives, becoming part of something bigger than ourselves:

  • GrandCanyonSliderProvides a framework for our goals. Being part of something bigger provides us with deeper values to live by and higher goals to pursue.
  • Serves as a compass in our lives. Meaning gives us direction and consistently guides us through the storms and waves of life.
  • Comforts us. Knowing events in our life, good and bad, ultimately work for good in the hands of Someone larger than us provides us a sense of comfort in times of trouble and stress.
  • Connects us. Becoming a part of something bigger than ourselves informs us that we are not alone. Other people are “in this” with us. Other people share the greater meaning with us. Together, we support one another and help one another carry any burdens that arise.

 

Meaning provides us a framework, a compass, comfort, and connection. This adds up to greater happiness, not just for you but your whole family. That’s right: you can increase happiness in your family by infusing your family life with meaning. Here are four ways to get started.

  1. Practice kindness. Show kindness to your family every day. Model kindness to those in your community. Find ways to practice kindness as a family, like baking cookies for an elderly person or shoveling the driveway of a neighbor. Make kindness a way of life for you and your family.
  2. Choose a volunteer activity to become involved in as a family. You might volunteer to help your church, a local food kitchen, your local school, your community park, or an organization like Habitat for Humanity. The possibilities are limitless. Gather your family and find a way for your family to help others.
  3. Acknowledge the transcendent. Gather your family and enjoy the sunset. Stand in awe before the majesty of nature…together. Talk about the beauty of art and music, the vastness of space, the complexity of the human body…. Share whatever you find mysterious, boundless, or awesome with your family so you can stand in wonderment and realize that you are part of something bigger.
  4. Practice your faith as a family. Pray together. Worship together. Share new insights with one another. Encourage. Support. Acknowledge God’s work in your life and in your family’s life. Rejoice together in the meaning your faith adds to your family.

 

Engage in these four practices with your family and you will find your family becoming part of something bigger. Your family will perceive more meaning in your individual and family lives. Your family will experience greater happiness!

Why I Love This Time of Year!

I love this time of year—the leaves are beautiful, the mornings are brisk, and the holidays are approaching. This time of year also brings another of my favorite past times…eating holiday food! Of course, the holidays are about much more than food. I love the holiday traditions—the family gatherings, the magic of giving, the joys of sharing. In today’s world of constant rush and activity, we have lost sight of many of these traditions and their benefits. Writing about this subject, William Doherty noted that “we reinvented family life in the twentieth century but never wrote a user’s manual.” Family has become disjointed and disconnected. But, this time of year can help us reconnect. In fact, in his family user’s manual, “Intentional Families,” Dr. Doherty explained how rituals and traditions hold our families together. Traditions make a family strong. The traditions we practice provide our family with an identity. They teach our children the family values. They pass on our religious and cultural heritage. The activities involved in our traditions tell the story of our family history. It is through celebrated traditions that we pass on the value of family support, establish an identity as a family that celebrates life, and create a culture of gratitude. We can add to this list…anything from the value of trusting God to the grace of giving to the joyous celebration of family competition in your favorite game. It all grows more secure and remains strong through the generations as we practice our family traditions.

 

Our traditions also provide our children with a sense of security and comfort. Traditions are predictable. They happen on a regular basis and occur in similar ways each time we celebrate. The predictability of traditions informs our children that no matter how the world changes…no matter if our family struggles…no matter the changing stages of life, we still celebrate our traditions together. We remain a family, connected through our intentional celebration of tradition. As these traditions are celebrated over time, generations come together. We celebrate our traditions with parents, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We celebrate across the generations. And, generational involvement is associated with fewer emotional and behavioral problems in children…once again, a benefit for traditions.

 

One of the benefits I associate with traditions involves the creation of lasting memories. If you are like me, some of your favorite memories probably revolve around traditions…whether it be the Monopoly game at Christmas time or the laughter erupting from a joke at Thanksgiving. I love to remember time with my family—laughing, playing, talking, cooking, reading out loud, eating, and so much more! Those joyous, lasting memories contribute to a lifetime of happiness.

 

Yes, I love this time of year as family traditions take center stage and we celebrate our lives together. I hope you take the time to celebrate together, establish strong traditions, and begin a lifetime of happy memories!

A Reminder of What It’s All About

I often have to remind myself about the priorities in my life, the goals I want to accomplish, and the reasons I do what I do. A “time of reminding” has come for me at Honor Grace Celebrate. One of the best ways for me to recall my goals and direction is through writing. So, I want to use this blog to remind myself about what it means to practice honor, grace, and celebration in the family; and, why I write blogs for Honor Grace Celebrate. Hopefully, as I write this reminder we will all be reminded to practice honor, grace, and celebration in our family…after all, I truly believe that when families practice honor, grace, and celebration they find greater family intimacy and joy.  I also believe God designed the family to be a place of honor, grace, and celebration. So what does honor, grace, and celebration have to do with family?

 

Healthy families honor one another. Honor builds a safe haven where family members can find value and esteem; a place where each person is highly valued, like diamonds above coal.  In a family of honor, each family member honors one another with words and actions that communicate value and respect. Family members seek to learn about the ones they value—learning about their interests, vulnerabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. And, each person keeps that knowledge in mind when interacting with one another. Healthy families seek out ways to honor one another by accepting differences, engaging in acts of kindness, and showing politeness at all times. Yes, healthy families honor one another.

 

Healthy families share grace with one another. They become a reliable sanctuary, a secure base, where each person knows grace and feels safe. A person living in a family of grace will receive unconditional acceptance and extravagant generosity…with no strings attached. Family members will share the gift of themselves by generously giving of their time and attention in order to connect intimately with one another. In a gracious family, family members willingly sacrifice their individual wants and desires to enhance the well-being of other family members and to build intimacy and joy in the family. Yes, healthy families share grace.

 

Healthy families celebrate! A family built on honor and grace opens the door to celebrate, laugh, and play. In a family where everyone experiences acceptance and love, each family member can “let their hair down and completely reveal themselves.” In a family of honor and grace, family members can know one another intimately and rejoice in that intimacy. Yes, healthy families celebrate with a gusto known only in communities filled with honor and grace!

 

At its best, family truly is a celebrating community of honor and grace. Our goal at Honor Grace Celebrate is to give families the tools to build that community of honor and grace…to gain the knowledge that can help make their families a celebrating community of honor and grace. For practical ideas on making your family a celebrating community of honor and grace, you might enjoy our book Family By God’s Design. And, if you know someone who might benefit from this type of information, please pass it on so they can follow us on FaceBook or Twitter. Thank you. And may your family become a celebrating community overflowing with honor and grace!

5 Tips to Improve Your Child’s Behavior

I loved working with John (name changed for privacy reasons), a seven-year-old boy who had a seizure disorder and was very active. I learned so much spending time with him and his family. Part of my job was to take John to the neurologist for his check-ups. One day, John and I sat in the patient room waiting for the neurologist to see us. John was bored and started to explore…well, explore may be an understatement. He began to spin around in the chair, climb onto the sink and then the shelves. He climbed onto the bed to see how high he could jump. He climbed into the window sill. He started to touch various medical instruments in the room. I tried to stop him but I was young, inexperienced…and obviously had no idea. I just followed him around asking him to stop, trying to redirect him. He simply moved to the next object and touched, climbed, jumped, threw, pushed buttons, flipped switches, and anything else he could. Then the doctor walked in. He looked around the room and realized I had nothing to offer. He smiled at me and quietly walked to the exam table and pulled out a little wind-up toy. He wound it up and set it down. It banged tiny cymbals and then did a backward flip before starting the process all over again. John immediately stopped running around the room and watched the toy. When it stopped, the doctor showed him how to wind it up. John wound it up and watched it go. The doctor left to continue his work, returning several minutes later to see John. I learned an important lesson that day. If you want to change a child’s behavior, change their environment. Here are some simple ways Thomas Gordon identified to change a child’s environment in order to improve behavior:


·        
Enrich the environment. Provide lots of stimulating and interesting things for your children to do. Children do best when they have interesting, challenging activities to hold their attention. Pick an area in which your children can play safely and fill it with age appropriate activities that will attract their attention.


·        
Impoverish the environment.  When we impoverish an environment, we reduce the stimulating, challenging activities available. I know it seems contradictory, but we can easily enrich some environments for our children and impoverish others. For instance, we may enrich the family room of your house but impoverish the bedroom. Impoverish the bedroom environment so your children have fewer stimuli to attract their attention when it is time to go to sleep. This may mean no TV, no video games, and no phones in the bedroom.


·        
Simplify the environment. Modify the environment so your children can do more things independently. For instance, put clothes where your children can get them and put them away independently. Keep a stool by the sink so they can wash their hands without your help. Put unbreakable cups within easy reach. Make the environment conducive for independent, age-appropriate activities.


·        
Prepare your children for changes in the environment. Children like consistency and predictability. When things happen unexpectedly, or when you have to do something that the children cannot predict, they become upset and act up in their stress. And, as you know, changes happen. Families encounter new or unexpected experiences. When this occurs, do your best to let your children know ahead of time. Discuss with them what will happen. Let them know what is expected from them. Encourage them and acknowledge their cooperation.


·        
Plan the environment for increasing responsibility and independence. As your children mature, they can become more independent. Plan ahead for this growing maturity. For instance, create a space for teen privacy. Purchase an alarm clock so children can start getting themselves up in the morning for school. Knock before entering your children’s room. Create a message center for sharing information when the schedules get busy. Discuss appropriate curfews and make sure family members have house keys.

You can change your children’s behavior by changing their environment in any of the ways mentioned above. Of course this won’t fix everything, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…why wait until the misbehavior occurs when you can change the environment ahead of time and maybe even prevent it?  

A Parent Stands, Stoops, & Stays

I recently read a quote by Eugene Peterson from his book entitled A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. Mr. Peterson was referring to “God’s posture of blessing” when he said, “God stands–

He is foundational and dependable. God stoops–He kneels to our level and meets us where we are. God stays–He sticks with us through hard times and good, sharing His life with us in grace and peace.” This is a beautiful picture of God… and it is a beautiful picture of parents, family shepherds, who strive to emulate our Heavenly Father in our family. Think about it:

 

A parent stands, foundational and dependable in the family. He lays a clear foundation of trust. His children know he will keep his word and do as he says. He establishes a foundational lifestyle of honor and respect, in how he treats others and in the response he elicits from others. A parent also stands firm on the foundation of love, even in the midst of disagreement, discipline, or conflict. This foundation of love proclaims how much he cherishes and values his family.

 

A parent stoops. He kneels to his children’s level and meets them where they are. This is as simple as getting on eye level with your children when talking to them…or walking a little slower so their little legs can keep up. Stooping also means listening carefully to understand their needs, emotions, and desires from their perspective, from the mind of a child.  Parents who stoop realize that their children have not seen what we have seen. They have not experienced what we have experienced. Parents graciously stoop to understand the impact of experiences and situations on the family from the limited life experience and knowledge of their children.

 

A parent stays. He sticks with his children, sharing his life with them through hard times and good times. When times are difficult, a parent who stays will keep his children in his hands, protecting their innocence and emotions as much as possible. He will not only stand with his children through the joys of accomplishments and the pride of achievements but through the sorrow of disappointments and the confusion of transitions as well. A parent who stays will lean into the relationship with his children if they begin to stray. He will graciously stay with his children when they have to endure the consequences of their negative behavior. A parent who stays communicates that no matter what, good or bad, through thick or thin, he will always remain available to his child.

 

Yes, a family shepherd stands, stoops, and stays. In doing so, he lives out the image of the Heavenly Father in the presence of his children. So, parent in the image of our Father. Stand firm. Stoop down. Stay…always stay.

Men, Build 6 Pillars of Trust

Do you want a strong, lasting marriage? A marriage that fills you and your spouse with joy until “death do us part?” Do you want a marriage that will inspire your children to “never settle for less” in their own marriage? A marriage that leaves a legacy of hope and teaches positive boundaries that will promote true marital bliss in your children’s lives and marriage? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you can begin to create that kind of marriage now. It begins with your leadership in the building of trust!

Establishing a high degree of trust in your marriage produces amazing dividends. Communication goes more smoothly as mutual trust removes the need to listen for ulterior motives and defend “myself.” Overall interactions become more open, relaxed, and enjoyable when they occur within the context of trust. Couples find their decisions more mutually satisfying when they trust their spouse to have the best interest of their relationship at heart.

 Take away trust and, in the words of Stephen Covey, you replace those dividends with a tax. With a lack of trust, communication becomes taxed with lengthy, defensive explanations. Interactions pay the tax of constant vigilance against ulterior motives and fear of being used for someone else’s selfish desires. Decisions become bogged down with arguments about “my” needs since I don’t trust my spouse to care about those needs. Mistrust carries heavy duties: fear, defensiveness, constant vigilance, and an emphasis on my needs that ultimately results in isolation. So, what can you do to build marital trust? I’m glad you asked…

      1.    A leader in trust will strive to become a person of trust. A person of trust leads by example. He remains open and transparent about his needs, emotions, and desires. Doing so informs his family that he trusts them with his innermost self. A leader in trust will also remain true to his word. His wife and his family know that his word is “as good as gold” and completely trustworthy!


2.   A leader in trust accepts responsibility for his personal growth. He actively confronts his shortcomings and works to change them for the better. He will make mistakes; but, he admits those mistakes, seeks forgiveness, and works to become more mature in character, speech, and behavior. 


3.   A leader in trust strives to maximize his wife’s emotional comfort and relational 
security. He speaks highly of his wife to others. His words and actions build his wife up, secure her emotional comfort, and strengthen her relational security. He also remains aware of her sensitivities. As a result, he avoids pushing her buttons and approaches sensitive areas with care and respect. When he unintentionally hurts her (and he will), he quickly admits his wrong and makes amends.


4.   A leader in trust will capitalize on everyday interactions to stay “in tune” with his wife. He will prove faithful in his presence and availability. As a result, he and his wife will enjoy times of adventure, play, and rest. To lead in trust demands intense, constant, and careful listening as his wife expresses her needs and concerns. It means listening wisely and patiently to discern whether to step in and meet the need expressed or to simply support his wife through the need. The husband who listens well will have a finger on his wife’s pulse and share a wonderful journey with her.    


5.   A leader in trust will show respect to his wife and others. He will avoid making negative comparisons or left-handed compliments. Rather than erecting subtle performance standards and judgments, he will offer unconditional acceptance. He will clarify realistic expectations while confirming the grace of unconditional acceptance even in the midst of misunderstanding, disagreement, or conflict.


6.   A leader in trust will focus on, and cherish, his partner’s positive qualities on a daily basis. He will open his eyes to those qualities he admires in his wife, acknowledge them openly, and speak of them often. He will also believe in her desire for him, trusting that she has the best interest of him, their relationship and their family in mind.

Men, you are called to lead your spouse in establishing these 6 pillars of trust in your marriage. You become the first to practice them. You lead the way…your wife and family will follow. I know, it sounds like a big job…and it is; but, the dividends are priceless!

 

Traditions…Let’s Celebrate

Christmas traditions…watching Christmas specials on TV, setting up a Christmas tree, listening to Christmas songs, singing Christmas carols, setting up a manger scene, spending money to buy gifts, sharing cookies, sending cards, opening gifts, attending Christmas eve services, etc., etc. I’m sure we all have numerous Christmas traditions that we enjoy. I know a family that sets up their manger scene minus the wise men and minus the baby Jesus. The wise men are found resting in another room in the house as they “travel” toward the manger. Jesus is nowhere to be found. As Christmas day approaches, the wise men “travel” closer to the manger while Jesus remains conspicuously absent. Every day, the children search for the wise men and ask about the baby Jesus. Christmas morning, the baby Jesus finally arrives in the stable and the family celebrates by exchanging gifts. The next day, the wise men arrive at the stable and everyone celebrates Jesus by bringing Him their gifts. 
 
Why do we invest so much energy in traditions? What makes them worthwhile? Here are just a few reasons why experts believe that traditions, not just at Christmas time, are so important to family life.
 
Traditions allow families put their beliefs into practice. They impart family values to the next generation and establish a family identity. For instance, buying gifts communicates generosity and puts that generosity into practice. Setting up a nativity helps establish a family identity as one that believes in the birth of Christ. These same traditions, and any other traditions you enjoy, celebrate family, intimacy, and life. 
 
Traditions also reinforce the comfort and security of family members by establishing predictable plans and activities. They give family members something to look forward to, an enjoyable time to anticipate. Because traditions are repeated, family members anticipate their next occurrence and plan their schedules accordingly. The anticipation of a fun tradition encourages family members to make an intentional effort to spend time together. Children, especially, seem to benefit from the predictability of tradition. If the adults attempt to set a tradition aside, the children often remember it and ask that it be continued. It helps increase their sense of comfort and security in the family.
 
Family traditions involve the whole family…and, they take time. In order for a tradition to be successful, we have to carve out enough time to slow down and enjoy it. That time allows families to build stronger relationships, share love, and enjoy greater intimacy. Whether filled with laughter and fun or intimacy and thought, the time invested in family traditions always add wonderful memories of love, joy, and family to our lives. 
 
So, go ahead…enjoy a Christmas tradition or two…or three…or more. Make them part of your family life and allow them to help your family grow. To help us all enjoy more family time, perhaps you could share any unique traditions your family enjoys? How do you celebrate your family life during this Christmas season? If you would, please take the time to share the Christmas traditions you and your family enjoy. Go to our Facebook page and tell us about your tradition. Or, make a comment here to tell us about your traditions. We’d love to hear from you.

Going Home

My aunt completed her journey on earth and crossed the finish line to heaven this week.  She had been a missionary for near thirty years.  She left for the mission field when I was in my late teens. Two memories stand out when I think of my aunt. The first “stand-out memory” occurred when my family and I moved from PA to TX. I was in high school and upset about the move. On our way to TX, we stopped at my aunt’s house. I remember her coming into my room, sitting on the bed next to me, and talking. She attempted to comfort me, understand me, and help me see beyond my sorrow. I don’t remember what she said; but, I remember she loved me enough to take the time to talk with me and comfort me. She was available to me. Isn’t that what family is all about–loving one another enough to remain available, even during the times of sorrow? To comfort one another as the need arises? Sometimes it is not so much what we say as it is our mere presence that signifies love in family. My uncle kept us updated about my aunt on his blog.  As I read his blogs, I realized that my aunt’s love extended well beyond her biological family. She loved everyone enough to take the time to be with them. She extended her family beyond mere biology to include friends everywhere she went. Her church family grew large and loving in response to her gracious love and availability.

Second, I remember the excitement in my aunt’s voice when she shared her passion–ministry in Papua New Guinea. She spoke with excitement and intensity about the people she loved in New Guinea. They became like family.  No, not like family…in Christ, they are family. I am sure that my aunt is in heaven sharing her passion with angels right now. I look forward to the day when we all get to heaven and I can watch as my aunt is surrounded by her biological family and the extended family she created through her gracious love and availability.