This past weekend we drove 2 hours to Franklin, Georgia to Auntie Susan's new home. She married George Watkins on Valentine's Day this year and now they live on 500 acres of beautiful Georgian land. We arrived late which is why we aren't in the big group shot but we had such a beautiful time. My great uncle Johnny and Aunt Lynn came from Australia and they have the kindest spirit about them. Perhaps it is partly their charming accents but it is just soothing to be around them.
We also had Glenn and Jackie Sheppard there from Missouri. My great great grandfather Joushua Calvin Sheppard is Glenn's great grandfather. (I hope I am getting this right!). They had two out of three of their children there, Trent and Krista. Krista and her husband Mark live in Kansas City with their 3 children Arianna, Hudson, and Hunter. Trent lives in Boston with his wife and 3 children. We felt so happy to be around them. Even through we may be distant cousins it instantly felt natural and genuine to be around them.
I am so grateful for family ties and for keeping them and nurturing them. I loved the common love we all shared for our Savior around the campfire last night. John brought the guitar and we sang How Great Thou Art, Come Thou Fount, O My Father (requested by Aunt Lynn), and so much more. John and I sang Murder in the City more beautiful than we ever have before. I love taking our talents wherever we go and sharing them together. I felt so proud to have my love by my side.
The children ran and played in piles of leaves, wrestled with the dogs, looked at the roosters, ran up and down hills and through the fields. We had s'mores around the fire accompanied by John's guitar and a big white ring around the moon above us.
Later that night Susan, Cristy, Nanny, and Candy and I (some in the hot tub and some not) chatted on in to the night. I didn't bring a bathing suit so I just hopped in in my pajamas.
Everyone brought their family history and we filled a room of pictures, documents, and family trees.
I have grown to love family history this year more than any other time in my life. I am so thankful for where and who I've come from. It is an honor to be alive.