Back in early March of this year Phyllis texted me for some addresses of family she had seen at her mother’s funeral. She needed to respond to them. I went to the Nichols Directory and found most of them. But as I studied the pages and pages of names, I saw many with out of date or no address or phone or even email.
Out of that observation came some time of exploring and investigating that took me first to other family members who might have had some of the missing information on some of their immediate family. One morning I thought – facebook. Why not just type in a name and see what happens? I thought of myself as a private investigator! To my amazement, I found most of the unfamiliar family on facebook! Not having corresponded with many of you in years, I boldly began to message some of you and ask your permission to put your information in the directory. And then, I asked if it was okay to add you to the Nichols Family Group and you said yes! It was as if for some of you, you were just waiting for someone in the family to come looking for you and bring you back to the fold! It was a glorious time of serendipity!
In the middle of all this updating the directory, Diann Dotson said she’d like to come visit Gwen and me in late spring. Fine, I responded. Come anytime. Well, no, she said, how about May 30th? There’s nothing of note going on with our grandchildren. Okay. Then, I thought. Dangerous. Thinking, that is! What if I just throw the invitation out there to you, Family, to invite you to join Diann and Ray and come see us Houston folk on that weekend?
Do you know who responded??? Barbara Lawrence from NORTH CAROLINA! Really? After many years, Barbara packed up and flew down here for what turned out to be a grand Houston Family Reunion! So very good to see you, Barbara! Who would have thought!!! And it all started back in early March – looking at the directory and thinking where are these cousins? We had about 35 folks attend. And, as the Lord in His Providence would have it, Jane came. We all hugged on her for what turned out to be the last time, as she passed away this summer.
A few short weeks later, Gwen and I made a trip to Atlanta for cousin Jay’s Memorial Service. We invited ourselves over to stay with Yvonne! We traveled down memory lane with her and all her family photos since the invention of the camera! Sure of it! At the Celebration of Jay’s Life Service, we saw many of you and caught up some.
Gwen and I traveled to the Dallas/Fort Worth area this past September to stay with Beth and Allen and Christi and to meet some of our cousins who were unable to attend the May Reunion, including Taffy Davis Giesel. What a sweet tender time of catching up. After our time with her and her husband Howard, Janice, who had joined us for lunch with Taffy and Howard, took us over to see her Mom, Lillie and we had a wonderful visit. She was thrilled to show us her photo albums she had put together in her early married years. We also enjoyed singing around the piano together. The following day we were able to meet up with more cousins – Keila and three of their four nearly grown kids, Sophia, Gracie and Jesse. Tony was under the weather that day. So, Gwen and I must go back to see him sometime!
What a great trip Frances and daughter Pam had in September as they went on a wild and wonderful tour of the Pacific Northwest and made a special stop to visit Farrel and her family up there in Washington.
The point is, our family is a treasure. There are so many of you with your unique personalities, living all over the country. The thing we have in common is blood. Family. And I believe, a strong willingness to stay connected to one another. To intentionally spend some time together. Even through facebook. But oh so richer in person!
This next year, I plan to see some more of you! Take some trips together. It is my prayer and hope that you all will venture out and see some family you haven’t seen in awhile and say hello and like, Dad (Earl) would do, ask how your own family is doing and how can he pray for you? Well, with your permission may I follow in his footsteps and ask…..how may I pray for you?
May you each have a joyous Christmas season, knowing deep down that the motive for Christmas is……God SO loved! You ! He chose You! Looking forward to seeing more of you this next year! God bless you all!