Always in my thoughts. . . forever in our hearts.

Jerry and I were able to spend some time last week with Sam and Naomi at the cottages on Lake Michigan where our family has enjoyed vacations since Mary was three years-old. Shortly after we arrived, I was overcome with a wave of grief at the thought that here we are where they would no longer ever be again.

Amidst the bittersweet memories, I was able to enjoy the time — what’s not to like about a peaceful time at the shore? The waves crashing. The red hot coals glowing. The wind blowing in the trees. Good fellowship.

In particular though, I was caught up in two memories of Mary and AnnaLeah. The first night, I found a blue ribbon on the beach — buried slightly in the sand and tied to a broken balloon. Of course, it reminded me of the time when Mary — at that very spot in 2010 — had found a Beany Baby Bear on the sand with a green ribbon attached to a balloon.

Later in the week, I found a green ribbon in the sand. So I tied them to a driftwood stick and let them blow in the breeze on the beach.

Also, while there, I noticed that by the “porch swing” was a blooming lilac bush–my favorite spring fragrance. I had never noticed that before because we normally would stay at the cottages the week after Labor Day–when, of course, it wasn’t in bloom. It brought to mind the photos of AnnaLeah which I treasure–sitting in that very swing, looking out at the shore, and building sand castles on the beach.

I put together a Youtube video to capture the essence of the bittersweet memories of AnnaLeah and Mary, which that special place will always evoke in my thoughts and heart.

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