July is always a time of celebration around here.
Within 30 days we celebrate FIVE birthdays and a wedding anniversary. Abby Schreck (June 30), John Schreck, Zachariah Schreck, Noni and finally Grayson Smith. The anniversary celebration is for Meagan and Nathan. (Three of the five birthday people are in this picture.)
If you look to our extended family, you find two more birthdays and three more anniversaries. Now you know the real reason behind all those fireworks at the beginning of the month.
Here is the group we gathered with for fireworks on the 4th of July. Cody (parks director for Auburndale) directs a huge display over one of the lakes in our area. John's parents were down from NY and we had a great time. (Included here are also the Butler, Scanlan and Rees families.)
By the time we throw in a couple of camps, conferences and maybe even a few vacation days in July we have a full schedule.
The biggest celebration this year is the 10th Wedding Anniversary of our very own Meagan and Nathan Smith! Here they are ten years ago on the day of their wedding. So much joy, victory and anticipation for their future . . .
Here we find the happy couple 10 years later. Who could ever have predicted such abundance would be entrusted to those two young kids? Looking at the second picture, I know the words: Joy, Victory and Anticipation are richer in their story but still just as applicable for Meagan and Nathan.
They have indeed experienced great joy on their journey. Noah, Madison, Grayson and Andrew top the Grateful List for them. Professional growth, two home purchases, learning to reach out with encouragement for others and so much more.
Together, Nathan and Meagan have stood strong through many difficult seasons. They've chosen to allow God to guide them through the valleys of disappointment and have given Him praise on each mountaintop of victory. Those aren't just "church-ey" phrases. They are attitude choices I've watched them make and how proud we are of the family they are crafting.
Anticipation is the remaining word. As we listen to them talk about their hopes and dreams for their future, we feel confident that the next decade will be one beyond what we could think or even imagine. (Sounds just like a scripture promise, doesn't it?)
As I look back over the post for today, I see only smiling faces. Please remember, every family has its own struggles. For every smile there could easily be ten pictures with tears, sadness and harsh words that led to repentance and forgiveness. That's just the story of all our lives, right?
(I mean think about it friends. Ten years of diapers for all those kids?!!)
What I want to say is this, life is going to happen to us all and many days, the sorrow will seem to heavily outweigh the joy. But the choice of focus is left completely to us. What will I rehearse more, the joy or the sorrow?
Allow me to leave you with a thought from my precious mama who lived a boat load of both experiences. She would often say to me, "Sheri, in this life you're either going to laugh or cry. I choose to laugh, as often as possible!"
May that be your choice as well, my friend. Find the joy and Celebrate BIG!
How about you? Does your family have a particularly busy birthday month? How have you celebrated summer? We'd love to hear about your experience in the comment section.
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