Earlier this month we had family visit from Japan. It was the first time some had ever been outside Japan, for others they had never been to the East Coast, and a few had never visited an American household. We have known and loved them as family for over forty years…and look forward to loving many more generations to come. We had fun taking them to ‘American’ places – the grocery store, WalMart, Chick-fail-A, an outlet mall. We celebrated Thanksgiving and Forth of July, so they could experience American Holidays. 

To commemorate their visit, we made stepping stones. My Dad made wooden forms, and cut chicken wire squares to fit into each square form. My son-in-law and nephew mixed enough concrete to fill each square. Then everyone took turns decorating their stepping stone with their name, the year and any idea they wanted to ‘cement’ for years to come. Here you see Junko and Ai working on their steps. We let the steps dry for two days, then broke them out of the molds and placed them in our walkways. 

Family is a big deal in my world. Family is not just blood relatives, it includes those you choose. And when you choose to love people you want to think about them, pray for them, support them throughout the years. Family means you are there in good times and bad, happy times and moments of sorrow. Family means the ties oyu made in one generation strengthen over future generations…and all this takes time and effort. 

It was not a simple trip for our Japanese family to visit – for them or for us. They had many days and hours of travel, jet lag and strange surroundings. We had months of preparing our home, activities and food. Together we all made it a trip to remember for a lifetime. And yes, family takes work – emotional and physical…and it is always worth it in the long run. Every time someone places their foot onto one of these cement stepping stones the joy and love and friendship of our family will pour out. They will serve as our memory steps for years to come. 

What are you doing now to create remembrances for the family you love? I would encourage you to put in the effort so your future generations can hear the stories of love and family.