Saturday, October 29, 2011


Ever get in a funk? I've been in and out of one all week. The weather has been rainy, the leaves have fallen off most of the trees, and it just looks sad outside. I've not felt well, and this has translated to me being grouchy and nasty and pretty much miserable.
I was complaining today about just how miserable I was and Wallace reminded me, "You have a choice to make. You can either choose to have a good day or choose to have a bad day. It's up to you." Those words have come out of my mouth many times when talking to Caleb, but I needed to hear them today. I'm still not in the best of moods, but I realize that he is absolutely right. I've got too many blessings to stay in a funk for long.
The devil doesn't want us to realize that. If he can keep us down,m then we can't do good. We can't freely accept the grace that God offers us, and if we can't accept grace, we can't extend it. So today, even in my nastiness, I'm choosing... to be blessed.
I'm blessed because I had a good trip to town with Wallace, and even though I sometimes think he pays me no attention, he does. I'm blessed because he loves me even when I don't love myself.
I'm blessed because I have Caleb, who is too smart for all of our good. He infuriates us both on a daily basis, but there's just something about that smile, that twinkle in his eyes, that makes everything all better.
I'm blessed because I took a 4 hour nap today. Sometimes a little rest is just what we need.
I'm blessed because I have tomorrow as a Sabbath day. I'm fortunate enough to be able to attend church and not go in fear.
I'm blessed... because I'm rich. Not necessarily in earthly things, although God is good and provides me with all I need. But I'm rich in family, in love, in grace and mercy. So tonight, as I get ready to lay my head on the pillow, I'm going to remember these things. I'm giving thanks, knowing that tomorrow will be a better day, because His mercy is new every morning. Thank YOu, Lord, for new mercies.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Breathitt: Bloody, Beautiful

I'm from Breathitt County. It's a large county land mass, with a small population that is becoming even smaller. It's one of the poorest counties in the nation, in the heart of Appalachia, where we're known for our drug dealing and our illiteracy and our government dependence. But tonight, in a gym on the historic campus of Lees College, we Breathitt Countians gathered to celebrate our heritage... a sold out crowd... and it is one to be proud of.

I have always been proud to be from Breathitt County. As a lover of history, I have found our stories fascinating. We were founded as a county in 1839, when wilderness still overran Kentucky. We were a resilient people, men and women who lived off the land and faced hard times but did not give up. Our legacy includes a history full of railroading and lumber. We were at one time the home of the largest sawmill in the world. We were a hub of activity when the railroad first boomed in Eastern Kentucky. And we were notorious for our fueding and fighting. This earned us the nickname of "Bloody Breathitt." This fearless fighting may have led to us being the only county in WWI to require no draftees. We have always had a military history to be proud of.

In the play Breathitt: Bloody, Beautiful, all of these facts were touched on. I was especially partial to the scene where the newspaper boys told of JB Marcum's death... such cute newspaper boys were never seen, I'm sure. But the ending of the play tugged on my heartstrings as well. This scene depicted a young GW Arrowood writing a love letter to his girl during WWII. This young GI was killed in The Battle of the Bulge in Germany. Only 19, he left behind his Mam and his Poppy, several older brother and sisters and nieces and nephews, and a little sister (maybe two) at home. One of those older brothers was fighting in the South Pacific when GW was killed. One of those little sisters was my Mamaw... and she can still tell you how her Mam passed out when she got the telegram and her Poppy ended up sick, I think even in the hospital. But she is proud. This is one of the first stories I can remember my Mamaw telling me about her family. I've visited GW's gravesite, and can only begin to imagine what it was like for his family. What it was like for so many families, whose sons (and later daughters) paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

So yes, Breathitt County's history is bloody. Our present at times is sad and troubling. But I am proud to be a Breathitt Countian. I am even prouder of my son, who finds this past to interesting. It is only by recognizing our past, where we came from, that we can hope to go further. Yes, improvements definitely need to be made, but programs like this are a start in the right direction. If you're young, and your grandparents are around, ask them about where they came from. You might be surprised to find out the strength and resiliency that is your legacy!

Much love to Janie Griffith, OT Watts, Laura Thomas, Grace Warrix, and all of the cast and musicians of Breathitt: Bloody, Beautiful. A special thanks to my favorite newspaper boy, and to Joe Hamblin, whose portrayal of our great-great uncle brought tears to my eyes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ode to My Students

Today, on facebook, a post was circulating. It reads, "I am a nursing student. I study more than I sleep. I am never "done" with my homework because there is always more to do. I cover about 500 pages of info per week and I am expected to retain and recall it all at any given time. I may only go to class or clinical a couple or a few days a week, but don't let that fool you, I am always a nursing student with work to be done. I am giving up my time with family, friends, and myself to learn how to save other people's lives. Please support and encourage that. If you are a nursing student or you know and love one, you know the drill - Re-post"

I am a nursing instructor. I'm up all hours of the night working up lectures so I can assign homework. I have to cover those same 500 pages of info, and try to figure out how to present it so they get it and can retain it and recall it. I am always a nursing instructor... I also give up time with my son and my husband to help teach someone how to save someone else's life.

But here's the deal. I have support. I have a great group of faculty members to work with, to bounce ideas off of when I'm not sure about something. I have an understanding husband (most of the time), and a family tree full of grandparents, aunts and uncles willing to run with Caleb to make sure he doesn't have to miss anything. Some of my students have noone. They are mommy and daddy; they HAVE to work while they go to school even though they know it's not best because they DON'T HAVE a choice... the bills have to be paid. They have to try to process all of this information while they worry about the kid's homework, the electric being on, whether the internet is going to go out before discussion board is going to go out, and who's going to be there to tuck their babies in at night while they are at clinical until midnight.

I could be cavalier. I went through nursing school. I studied my brains out for two years, spending many nights crying my eyes out because I had checkoffs and I was scared to death. My husband sacrified and worked two full-time jobs, plus the National Guard on the weekend. But I choose not to be cavalier. I instead choose to be empathetic. I know they struggle, and I can't imagine how it is for some of them. I hope they know I'm there for them. If I can't be empathetic, how can I teach them to be a nurse, where empathy is such an important characteristic.

Tonight, on my way home, I was frustrated because class didn't go well. I know they were frustrated, too. I sometimes doubt myself, thinking "Who am I to be doing this?" But I believe God has a purpose for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11). If I can impart just one thing on my students, I hope that it is the realization that everyone is human. Everyone needs help. And caring is the best thing to do when sometimes it's all you can do. So hang in there... keep putting those hours in. Keep sacrificing. Someday, hopefully, you can look back and I can say, "See, I told you so"... but I promise, I'll do it with a smile on my face.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Time flies when you're having fun

Tonight, I walked across the football field at Breathitt High School. I've stood on it before in recent weeks, for spirit lines and to cheer on our boys in blue... but tonight as I walked onto it, I was taken back... to a time where the grass was new and the stadium was newer, when the cheers were coming from me, when all was right with the world because the Bobcats had won again and I had a handsome fella in a bright red Mark III truck to go home with (or at least to go through the McDonalds drive-thru and count out change to share a value meal, then watch Sports Overtime before he drove me home before curfew).

Memories on that field... of running through the sprinklers on a hot July day with my best friends only to have Coach yell at us. Of seeing Coach hold up a state championship trophy and dedicating it to all of Breathitt County. Of pep rallies and hanging signs and fixing cups in the fences... of having the band sing me Happy Birthday on my Sweet 16...But earlier memories, too... of climbing under the bleachers of the old stadium and pretending it was my house, of kicking the metal on the bleachers of the old stadium as my brother ran for a touchdown his Senior year... in the only win of the season, against Knott County... A lifetime of memories... or at least28 years worth (Mom started coaching when I was 4... I seriously don't remember a time before it...)

And a time, 15 years ago, when it was me as a Senior. 15 years is a long time, yet to me it seems like yesterday... except for:
A marriage to that handsome fella mentioned before... we still sometimes count out change at McDonalds, but now it's for chicken nuggets for some little guy we picked up at a hospital.
10 years of nursing under my belt, and 5 years of teaching...
time drawn close to God... seeing three of my four grandparents turn 80, losing countless loved ones, and thanking God each day for the moments He gives me with those I love.
Life... fast paced, always on the run, hectic and crazy but beautiful because it's mine...

So tonight, as I walked out on the field surrounded by those I love, the Great Wallace Bates, Caleb, Mom, Dad, Holly, Grandma Bert, blessed to accompany the girl I'd packed on this field so many times before, I looked up at the stands and remembered... and realized that I wouldn't trade a thing. In the past 15 years, which seem as if it was just yesterday, I've been so blessed. It's true, time does fly when you're having fun... and I'm thanking God for each minute.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Grace= Mercy,clemency, pardon... a manifestation of favor, especially by a Superior. Favor or goodwill. UNMERITED. Freely given... because that is who God is. "The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love."- Psalm 145:8

I've been thinking a lot about grace today. First thing this morning, I attended a Bible Study at my church... I had to do a makeup because I teach on Monday nights when they meet. This Bible study is "To Live is Christ", by Beth Moore, about the life of Paul. The lesson today was about his conversion. He, who was the greatest persecutor, the "chief sinner" (1 Timothy 1:15... Paul's words, not mine) later become arguably one of the best preachers ever, establishing 4 churches and writing much of the New Testament. He was a man who could appreciate grace, because he recognized that he didn't deserve God's love. Completely unmerited... but planned. "But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him 16 to reveal his Son to me[a] so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles."- Galatians 1:15-16. Yes, God's grace is free to us... in a way. But it comes with the ultimate sacrifice... of our life to His. What a tradeoff it is, though! And when we accept Him and strive to live in Him, through His grace, He is revealed to us... so that we can proclaim the good news. Not all of us were called to be preachers, so how do we proclaim the good news? By showing Christ in us. By giving grace.

You'd think that starting my day off with that realization would make it go smooth, right? Hardly! I went to teach a CPR class, couldn't find a parking spot, had to drive around town 5 times, then walked up a hill lugging my equipment to find that my room wasn't set up and I really had no idea where I was supposed to be. A ticking bomb going off in my head... the thought of grace nowhere to be found... Thank You Lord that even when I don't show grace, You nudge me that I should...

Grace for Caleb when he whines about homework and doesn't put his shoes on when I've asked him 569 times. Grace for Wallace when he just wants to go deer hunting instead of doing what I think he needs to do. Grace for the person who cuts me off in the parking lot. Grace for the person who drives 30 miles an hour when I really need to get home. Grace for the person whose opinion I don't agree with. Grace when all my plans go amuck and I'm left trying to figure out what I'm doing... Grace. Because I've been given grace, I'm supposed to give it out. One last meaning of the word grace? Elegance or beauty of form... pleasing or attractive quality. I may not be the most elegant person, but when I show grace, I am beautiful... inside and out. Beauty from ashes... because of His grace. =)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Counting my Blessings

I am exhausted tonight, and really have no idea why, yet I feel like I should compose something short. So tonight, as I sit in my bed typing away, I am thankful for:
Caleb Bates and his laughter, his hugs and kisses, his facebook posts and his tweets saying he loves me, arguing over homework because at least it is time together, and him choosing to go to church over a ballgame. Being able to sit next to my Dad at said church service.
Wallace playing with my hair as we get ready to go to sleep.
My Kindle, full of books that I never have time to read, tempting me away from work and duty... after all, I have to do something to wind down, right? A job that I enjoy, even as I procrastinate grading care plans, and one that I feel I can make a difference. Patient students and co-workers who are more like family than friends.
Peanut butter milkshakes from Spencer's Dairy Bar and Brown Butter Cookies from Yoder's.
Hot bubble baths with Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice bubble bath from Bath and Body Works.
Football on Friday nights.
I could go on and on... but won't because I'm really wanting to finish one of those books. I guess the most important thing I'm thankful for is that even in my bad times, I'm loved. Loved by family. Loved by friends. I think I'm loved by some of my students... but above all, I'm loved by God. No matter what. As I sat in church tonight, one verse really struck me. It's found in Mark, Chapter 10, when Jesus is addressing the rich young ruler. The rich young ruler has asked what he can do to get to heaven, and Jesus rattles off the commandments to him, which he affirmatively agrees he has followed. Then, verse 21, ESV: "And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing..." Jesus looked at him. IN his imperfection. Knowing he wasn't willing to give up all that he possessed. But He loved him anyway. I'd like to think that He looks on me, and loves me. Lord, help me make You smile, and show You that love in return through my actions. Thank You for my many blessings. <3

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Permission to Rest

I've always been one of those go-get 'em girls. The more activites, the better. It started in high school, when my goal was to have the line behind my name in yearbook be one of the longest ones. Extracurricular activites? Sign me up for whatever. The more I have written in my calendar, the more important I must be, right? This mindset continued throughout college, throughout work... volunteer work, committees, running here and there to make the days go by faster. At the end of the day, my head hits my pillow... and I am out like a light. Physically, mentally, emotionally drained.

Yes, I enjoy being involved. And there are a lot of causes near and dear to my heart that I could never give up. Church. Relay For Life. Zumba (even though I never get to go anymore). Watching high school football, volleyball, basketball. Running with Caleb. Work (maybe I could give it up, but I think I like to buy things too much. Too many books. Too many e-books for my Kindle... so I'd better make sure that's something I don't leave out).

But today I learned that it's okay to sit still. To allow myself to enjoy the sunshine and wind blowing, the feel of a little boy's hand in yours as you traipse along, just enjoying walking for the sake of walking. Of allowing yourself to read without feeling guilty. Of taking a warm bubble bath without thinking of the million things that need to be done when you get out.

Yes, my to do list is still there, and it is growing as I look at the second half of the semester. Lots to do finishing up, and a new curriculum for next semester has to be worked up. Plus a promotion notebook that takes hours to assemble. Tonight, though, even as I worked on stuff, I've allowed myself time to think. Time to laugh. Time to just... BE.

God created the Sabbath day as a day for rest. Tomorrow, I'll be going to church and watching Caleb play two flag football games. I've got care plans to grade, lecture notes to tape, and emails to send. Even as I work, though, I've discovered that keeping a restful attitude... approaching one thing at a time... and remembering who is ultimately in control will see me through. One day at a time, minute by minute, hour by hour. And in the end, knowing that it's all His... every second.

Be still, and know that I am God... Psalm 46:10
Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him to help you do it, and He will. Psalms 37: 5 TLB
Come to me and I will give you rest -- all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke -- for it fits perfectly -- and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; Matthew 11: 28-29
Rest for my soul... even when I don't have rest for my body. Thank You, Lord.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Love One Another

"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you"
John 15:12
Love should be easy, right? All rainbows and sunshine, laughter and good times... and it probably was for Adam and Eve. But we live in a fallen world, a world full of sin and darkness, a world full of disappointments and hurt. A world that it's easy to get our feelings hurt, even from a simple misunderstanding. Harsh words get said, even when we don't want to. Irrational thoughts take over, and it becomes all about what we want... our feelings, our needs. Even when we love, sometimes we don't LOVE. That may not make much sense, but it is because of our fleshly tendencies.

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not envy, and is not proud. Love is not self-seeking, and is not easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love protects, trusts, hopes, and perserveres. How often do we love like that? I am guilty, DAILY, of not loving as I should. I make mistakes. I mess up. I get angry, and am selfish without thinking. Me, who is supposed to be the adult, act childish. But more and more God's calling me on it. He's making me feel guilty. He's calling me to be more patient, more kind, more in control of my feelings. And while I may not be successful, I recognize that I am trying. The thing is, even when our feelings may be hurt, we still feel better when we truly love. When we care more about the other person than we do ourself.

There are different kinds of love. The love a Mom feels for a child. The love a wife feels for a husband. And then there is sister love. I've been so blessed with two wonderful sisters. I wasn't always the best example, but I have learned so much from them, and am still learning. And this is when Christ's commandment comes to play. Loving when you don't want to. When your big sister hits you in the head with a baseball bat. When you have to share a room with your little sister. When you grow up and are adults and you say mean things to each other. Loving one another as Christ loved us is about putting someone else before yourself. I'm sorry, girls, that I don't always do that... but wouldn't the world be a much better place if we all did?

Happy Birthday to my little sis, Kami. I love you more than words can say. And to Holly, all I can say is... WOW. I want to be like you when I grow up. Thanks for putting up with me all these years... and thanks for LOVING me.
Love isn't always warm and fuzzy... but in the end, it's all we need. <3

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's Great To Be a Jackson Tiger

Today's lesson:
I have one boy. A very rowdy boy at that. A rambunctious, mischievous boy. I'd be lying to say that I had never dreamed of pink dresses and hairbows when I was pregnant, but Wallace wanted a boy and that's what we got. Not my little cheerleader...
However, I have been blessed with 30+ girls. Loud girls. Giggling girls. Girls that treat my son like a little brother, and don't hesitate to fight with him as such. Being a coach's wife isn't easy... those girls get to go home and don't have to listen to him complain until practice the next day, when he's settled down and not upset. I, however, get to hear all about it. Over the past few years, I've learned more about volleyball and setting, man to man and zone defense, and practice drills than I ever wanted to know.
But I also get to see a unique side of my husband in this. This side is the man who doesn't sleep well the night before a big game because he wants them to play so well; who doesn't sleep well the night of a game, win or lose, because he's running it back through his head to see how he could improve; the side of a person who goes 110% because he wants them to succeed not just on the court, but in life. Scouting. Game tapes. Volleyball and basketball 24/7.
And tonight, I saw yet again the man I fell in love with. No, Jackson may not have won, but he's still proud. Over the years, Wallace has learned that there's always a positive side, even in the losses, and he chooses to focus on this. Yes, he may yell some... and stomp, and pace the sideline like a maniac. The opposing team's crowd probably think he is an idiot (I have questioned this myself...) However, my coach, unlike many I've seen in the past (and I've seen a lot... I've basically been raised in a ball gym) respects the other players. He never hesitates to tell them they played well or brag on them. And he loves his girls. Loves them like a father. These girls are the daughters we don't have. So thank you, to all of the parents. and to the girls. Once again, you've made me proud to be a Jackson Tiger.
And as for that crazy coach, there's just something about it... Overzealous, yes. Loud, yes. Sometimes embarrassing, definitely... but I wouldn't have it any other way. Today, I learned that seeing someone you love do something they love makes you love them just a little more =)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Measure of Faith

Faith... Have Faith. Keep the faith. Walk by faith. Faith is knowing that something is going to happen, without having no way of knowing how it's going to happen. Faith can move mountains, right? With God, all things are possible. Nothing is too big for God... but that's for Billy Graham, right? Or Beth Moore? Or my preacher, or Sunday School teacher, or the little lady in church who has been a Christian forever that everyone asks to pray for them because she's got God on speed-dial. But for me? Imperfect, impatient me? How can faith be for me?

Well, it's simple, really. That's what is so cool about this whole relationship thing with God. Nothing hidden or secret. In Romans 12:3, we are told that every man is given a measure of faith. EVERY MAN... and woman. This means me. This means you. We're also told that without faith, it's impossible to please God. Now I don't know about you, but pleasing God is definitely something I am interested in. But having faith, and keeping faith, is something that so many of us struggle with, because we make it more complicated than what it really is. Our guidebook, the Bible, tells us that "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." So how do you get faith? Reading God's Word. Listening to it. Practicing it. Seeking His face and asking Him to give you Godly wisdom and knowledge.

Then...this is where our part comes in. Once you've got that Word embedded, and you understand it and think about it, you have to... ACT ON it. That's right. You have to step out in faith. Trusting God, even when you don't know how. It may mean a new job, or giving advice to a friend that you aren't sure about giving. Maybe it's trusting that He's going to take care of you when you lose your job or get scary news from the doctor. Acting on faith, though, means that we are on the offensive. We aren't just sitting there waiting for things to happen. We're researching options and looking for answers and MOVING. And when we move... God meets us there. He's already there, waiting, and has paved the path for us.
No matter how insignificant your life may seem, you can have that faith. Because God loves us no matter what. Jesus performed so many miracles in the Bible... these miracles were significant. The people He performed them for were significant, too... even though we don't even know their names. Yet Jesus took time for them... He thought they were worthy. Just like He thinks we are worthy. We just have to have faith to believe...

"Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace... The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him."- Romans 12:3, The Message

Habits are Hard to Break

Lesson for the day? Habits are hard to break. We all know that, right? Ask anyone who has tried to give up smoking, and they'll be able to attest to this. Or any drug addict. Or someone like me who is addicted to Diet Coke and Chocolate. No one is going to argue with this. I have a lot of bad habits. I procrastinate. I eat junk food. I am addicted to Facebook. I chew on ink pen lids, even though as a nurse I know how nasty that is. The habits I'm talking about, though, go a little deeper. This habit is one that goes back to my childhood, and my mom and dad will agree that it is a bad one. I'm coming clean, here, y'all.
I AM A YELLER!!! (Note the uppercase letters. Yes, I did just yell at you. I was making a point... yelling is what I do.) It started at a young age. Stomping. Slamming doors. Screaming when I didn't get what I wanted. Oh, it lay dormant through my mid-adolescent years... namely because I was giving everyone the silent treatment. It came in handy when I was a cheerleader and also when I worked with the elderly who were slightly hard of hearing. But right now, it is causing me trouble.
My husband hates it. My child gets nervous because of it. And I don't even realize that I do it. I yell when I get excited. I yell when I get mad. I yell when I'm anxious because I'm running late and I can't find my car keys and Caleb is wanting one last hug. I yell in defense when Wallace questions me or argues with me or sometimes just speaks to me.. yep, I yell... and they react. More anger. More frustration. More chaos in our already chaotic, run until you collapse in bed at night world. NOT what I intend to do at all.
Habits are really addictions, or learned behaviors. What do you do to break them? Learn new behaviors. So what I've learned today is: I've got to change my reactions. Become a little more soft-spoken. Not react... or at least not overreact. Speak deliberately... AFTER I've thought about what I want to say. Count to ten. Read my Bible more. Pray. Blog about it. Above all, open my heart to His Spirit... because it doesn't yell.

"Then he was told, "Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by."

A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn't to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn't in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn't in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper. "- 1 Kings 19:11-13, The Message

Lord, help me remember this... That sometimes the quietest response is really the loudest, and that my passion can be demonstrated apart from yelling.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It Takes A Village

One of the blogs I subscribe to is doing a 31 day challenge.  They are writing on one topic for 31 days... I don't think I know enough about anything to write about it for 31 days, but I do learn something every day... so that's going to be my theme.  31 Lessons Learned. 
Today, I learned that I am blessed that I have family.  We might not always get along. Sometimes my husband may not always listen to me like I'd like, or Caleb may not pay attention to me like I'd like (are you seeing a theme here?) Sometimes I get a little crazy because we all live in a row and everyone knows everyone's business... but I am blessed to have someone care about my business.
Tonight, Caleb had flag football practice.  I had to administer an exam.  Wallace had a volleyball game.  Tomorrow, Caleb has play practice and a flag football game.  I have clinical.  Wallace has a volleyball game.  But I have a brother and sister-in-law willing to run with him.  And a father-in-law who's going to go sit in town all evening long so Caleb can do what he wants to do.  Not to mention a Mom and a sister who have pinch-hit almost every week this semester.  So, yes, they are up in my business... but my business couldn't go on without them. Caleb wouldn't be who he is without them. 
Sometimes family is difficult.  It's not always pleasant.  But they are mine.  And I love them.  I'm blessed because they are there. I realize this not just because they are there, but because I have realized they won't always be.  As I am writing this, a family in my church is facing a potentially life-threatening diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.  They are scared and grieving.  I am praying, and believing that my God can do miracles.  But above all, I'm thanking God that for this moment, those near and dear to me are mine.  He understands family, because He is our Abba Father.  Thank You, Lord, for all of my family. 
But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children-- Psalm 103:17-