A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit some other established tables.  My good friend Heather and I road tripped up to Indiana for Spring Break, in her minivan, with our kids, to visit our families that live about 2 and a half hours from each other. For her it was a few days with her parents and she was familiar with the territory somewhat.  For me it was an adventure and a chance to meet family  I really didn’t know that well.

This is my cousin once removed Doretta, and her sweet husband Jimmie.

And this is their awesome family table.

They have a bunch of grandkids so they need plenty of room. They also often have visitors from the ministry that they are involved in stay with them from time to time. Jimmie and his oldest son are Primitive Baptist preachers.  He and both the boys, Todd and Curt,  are also state troopers. Boy did I feel safe with this group!

Easter Sunday was one of the best I have ever enjoyed.  I grew up in an independent Baptist Church and now attend a Southern Baptist church. I was not at all familiar with the practices of the Primitive Baptists.  One of my very favorite things about the service was the worship. I love so many forms of worship music. This was very simple and true. There are no instruments, only hymnals with the old fashioned shape notes (which I long ago forgot how to read unfortunately) and voices singing in acapella harmony, praises to God. As one song is completed, a different member of the church will call out a new hymn number and a new song begins. I loved the simplicity and lack of  program to it. To me it was perfect worship.

The preaching of course was as good and pure as the music and then the fellowship…a small congregation with lots of food for lunch! We Baptist, no matter the association, seem to love to eat! It didn’t hurt that so many attending that morning were in some way related to me. It was a whole branch of my family tree that I had not really explored yet. Later, back at Doretta and Jimmie’s house, there were plenty of children for Ruthie to get to know and she certainly did not waste her time doing so. She and her cousin Sara Grace, Doretta’s only grand daughter,  in particular hit it off.

There were good bye tears at the end.

As you can see, Nate was himself…he was putting on airs for no one.

It was a great few days. I’m so grateful to have so much family. I have often jokingly said that due to my parents many marriages, I don’ t so much have a family tree as I have family kudzu. That is not something I have any capacity to regret. It just is what it is. It was stabilizing for me to spend time with some of  the folks who shared the deep common roots from one of the main vines. Family that, though I did not know very well until now, shares so many of the same ideals and values that I do.  I feel so privileged to have Doretta and Jimmie as new found family and consider them not only dearly loved family that I have been missing out on, but new found mentors in my faith as well.

When Wednesday rolled around, it was time to say goodbye. The kids and I were treated to a ride back to Aurora, IN to meet up with Heather in a real state trooper’s car driven by Todd. The great conversation with my cousin made the two and a half hour trip seem way too quick.

Upon arriving in Aurora, we were able to spend the day with another great family.

This is the Lewis family table.

And this is Mrs. Irene Lewis, Heather’s mom.

Here is Heather and her sister, Andi. Somehow I missed getting a picture of her dad, Dave and I regret that. He is a great, great guy and Nate absolutely adored him.

Heather and I also have fairly deep roots together, but that is a different blog for a different day. Just let it be said for now, that she is one of my core girlfriends and I look forward to sharing about our little group that meets at the coffee table one day.

Anyway, the hospitality at this house was so warm. I’m so glad we had time to be with them before we left Indiana. Irene and Dave spent many many years in missions, particularly in Thailand at one point. The beautiful log home they are building is to be not only their retirement home, but a retreat for missionaries.  It is a work that is still in progress, but it is far enough along now that it already has a quality that makes you take a deep breath and automatically relax when you enter their home. Simply beautiful.

This is a view of the good old fashioned stove in their kitchen. (This is not the one they cooked on)

The silver pot on top was used to make an incredible, traditional, Thai meal of sticky rice, Tom Yum Soup, and Lop. I seriously love Thai food so I was in HEAVEN and was very stuffed while there. It looked slightly complicated, but I plan on trying to make it as soon as I can get my hands on the right kind of rice.

The whole trip was wonderful from the travel time to and from, in which I got some quality time in with one of my best confidantes, to the adventure of getting to know more about my roots and the folks that share them with me. Indiana is a beautiful state too, and spring was such a great time to visit it.

Thank you to each of my hostesses and I hope we can do it again before the passage of too much time.