November and December have been crazy busy, yes crazy busy, in a good way. I LOVE this season of thanksgiving and the Savior’s birthday and wish that we could somehow keep these feelings of love, tolerance, and gratitude with us all year long. But I digress. There are many moments I’d like to share (along with the little lessons I picked up), and I’m going to start with the Fall Family Fiesta that we hosted for my nephew Greg and his fiancée (now his wife) on November 30th.

Largely because of my sister-in-law Lisa’s superb planning and her lovely autumn decorations, it was a fun and successful event. Wanting to try a little something different, we opted for huge crock pots of chili (Paula Deen’s recipe), cornbread, cheese and sausage dip, sub sandwiches, chips and salsa, and a couple of desserts. The couple being honored opened some cool gifts, and then we played a Jeopardy game created by my sister Ann. She’s the creative one (smart one too…wonder if she’ll read this?).

The lesson I was reminded of in this case is that families are important. They’re a source of support, encouragement, and love (or should be). As everyone drove out of the driveway and back to their own lives, I couldn’t help but think of how I hoped each of them went away a bit better for having been here, a bit more buoyed up knowing that they are each a part of a loving network. In rough or sad days ahead, I hope everyone will be able to call forth a kind word, a hug, or a funny story to help them get through the trial. I reflect on times past with parents and grandparents, now deceased, and KNOW that those connections and shared times continue to help me today.

I couldn’t post all of the pictures we made that day, so I decided to include my immediate family. Aren’t those grandchildren adorable?