A few weeks ago, my sisters and cousins from my Dad’s side of the family met over in the Bend, Oregon area for a little getaway.

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This was our first time to make something like this happen. And let me tell you, special times like this don’t just happen over night, they take planning and effort to try to get everyone together, some coming as far as the Midwest.

But it’s so rewarding.

We sang together, laughed, cried, shared our hearts, and learned from each other. We road bikes, hot-tubbed, shopped, walked, talked for hours, and of course we ate good food.

My sisters and I cooked dinner one night for all the cousins, and we wanted to create a special atmosphere, so we brought along my Dollar Store goblets. (Yes, I brought my goblets :)) They never break. They are so durable.

And along with a tablecloth, pretty paper napkins, candles, and the goblets – our table was set.

In the end we decided that our time together was God-inspired, never to be created again. It was a gift.

I literally left feeling like I had this precious gift that I was bringing home with me, wrapped up in a beautiful box, but what was I to do with it?

What do you do with inspiring memories, where love goes so deep that it almost hurts, the gift of getting to know others in a deeper way, sharing our heritage, going back in time and feeling different moments–painful moments–with one another.

Most of us there had lost our moms, as early as age 15, and as recent as 2 years ago. Death, cancer, hurts and pains. We were there for one another.

More importantly, I’d say that our time together was focused on love, people, God, encouragement, hope.

We ended our time standing in the kitchen and holding hands. Eight grown women, holding hands, tears streaming down our faces, and singing.

Music is what we learned growing up. It was part of what had knit our hearts together over the years. To break out in 3-part harmony, everyone finding their notes, we’d blend together in love.

Yes, love through music was the gift that I brought home with me.

I came home different.

I came home changed.

I came home understanding love in a whole new way.

When’s the last time you made a special getaway happen, possibly with cousins or friends?

So how’d we make the salad? We did a taste test on which dressing was the best and Trader Joe’s Cranberry, Walnut and Gorgonzola dressing won! Delicious.


Recipe: Strawberry Spinach Salad {ReluctantEntertainer.com}


  • Fresh spinach, stems removed
  • Fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • Cranberries or Cherries
  • Your favorite nuts, toasted
  • Feta Cheese (optional)
  • Trader Joe’s Cranberry, Walnut and Gorgonzola Dressing