Reunion Lessons


The Ryan Family Reunion 2014 is a memory. All my siblings and most of their spouses came, and a little over fifty in total gathered together to reconnect and have some fun.



One of my favorite memories was the family dinner at a local restaurant. We had a private dining room, complete with a coat closet that the ‘littles’ could run in and out of when they got bored. Long rectangular tables loaded with food were surrounded by chatty people. Smiles exploded into laughter amid the joy of being together. One memory would fall into another as events from long ago were shared with new eager ears.

After the main course, two of my brothers got up and called for attention. It was time to play “Ryan Family Trivia.” Questions submitted were read to the group. “Who totaled Dad’s car?” “Who got caught sneaking in a second story window after curfew?” My brothers and sisters knew the answers, but outside of that, it was a learning experience for our children and grandchildren. They learned a lot about their parents, aunts and uncles (and there might be a little explaining to do later!).

It reminded me of the way I learned about my spiritual family.

It was very similar to Ryan Family Trivia. I learned about Jesus and his Father from the stories and events told and retold by my parents, teachers and spiritual ancestors. Just like all my family albums, I have keepsakes to remind me of my Lord when I get a little shaky on my heritage. The bible, books about saints and the faith stories of my own family keep me connected to God, and to my spiritual family.

It never occurred to my nieces and nephews to doubt the stories from the old days. They’re hearing them from the people who experienced them. There’s no reason to think we’d make anything up. (Believe me, between the eight of us, there’s plenty of material to keep the younger ones amazed and amused for days.)

But that wasn’t the experience that our fathers in faith had when they spoke about the Lord. The crowds that heard St Peter’s stories about Christ had a hard time believing what he had to say. Losing patience, he said in 2 Peter:

We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.


He had to keep telling the teetering faithful that the events in the life of Jesus were not a bunch of made-up lies. Peter was there; he saw it all. That made him trustworthy.

As I sat in that restaurant dining room on an ordinary Friday night, I learned a lesson in faith. Although the younger generation wasn’t present for their parents shenanigans, they heard and believed the stories. In my spiritually dark days, may this memory spark a little light, and lead me back to a shining faith in the trustworthy words of God.


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62 thoughts on “Reunion Lessons

    • Hi Mari! It was a fun night. My Dad really enjoyed reliving all the memories too. I hope the younger generation liked it too, and judging from the hooting and laughing, they learned a lot!

      I’m so glad that you agreed with the application to our spiritual heritage. So alike! God knows how we learn the best πŸ™‚

      Have a restful night,

  1. Sounds like your family had a wonderful time of fellowship and fun Ceil. I like how you connected this to our spiritual lives. At times I have to remind myself that the people I read about in the Bible where just like me. They struggled and wavered at times as well. Grateful that God saw the importance in leaving these accounts for us.

    • Hi Wanda! It really was great. We haven’t gathered like that, with multi-generations, in a while. So fun! Both of my kids and their families stayed with us, so we had a full house again.

      I like your point about our Biblical relatives being just like us. They all gathered around the campfires at night and told the story of their heritage to the younger generations. We are just the same (minus the campfire!). How precious our family and spiritual life is…we should tell our stories. Blog post coming on that subject soon πŸ™‚

      Good to see you again Wanda. Have a restful night,

    • Hi Leslie! Thank you for coming over and commenting, that was really nice of you! We had a lovely time together, and we were so happy to have both of the kids home with their families.

      You just had a family reunion too, right? So you know what I mean. Nothing like reconnecting right?

      Good to see you here!
      Have a peaceful night,

  2. How wonderful Ceil! My church frequently speaks about the importance of bridging generations. For the older church-goers to connect with the younger people, and so on. They also host workshops to help followers identify their story… not just their salvation story but the stories that show God’s presence in our lives. It’s these examples that bridge and testify to others what our God can do!

    Thanks for sharing a bit about your family reunion and these wonderful parallels you’ve drawn.

    Wishing you a beautiful week.

    • Hi Jennifer! I like your church’s emphasis on intergenerational faith, and telling of stories. God gives us all so many gifts and graces of wisdom, and they are meant to be shared. That’s what the Apostles did, as they shared their lives with Christ after he rose. We can do the same.

      I think I’d enjoy participating in one of the workshops. It’s so easy to forget that God is working in us all the time. Taking the time to identify where, and to hear other testimony would be really uplifting!

      Thanks for your comment today, and sharing your church’s work with telling our stories.

    • Hi Claire! Thanks for coming over and commenting! That is so sweet. You can be my proof that some learning and sharing was going on that night πŸ™‚

      Why not take some mental notes now so you can have your own Trivia Night at your house sometime? (I’d love to be a fly on the wall!) I’ll bet you have some great stories to tell.

      It was so fun to see your name pop up here. Have a great Monday!
      Aunt Ceil

  3. It’s always a blessing to be “taught” by you, Ceil. I like how you can learn things from everyday things and then turn it into a lesson for us – bless you!

    How wonderful to spend time with family and it sounds like it was great! Happy to have you back on your blog πŸ™‚

    Hugs to you!

    • Hi Stephanie! It’s nice to be back my friend. It seems like I was gone for ages, but I enjoyed all the celebrations and family visiting.

      I am very happy that God graces me with thoughts about living life with him through everyday events. I’m glad you like them! Thank you for coming by and being so encouraging!

      Have a good Monday πŸ™‚

    • Hi Elizabeth! It was so much fun, I would recommend it to anyone. We all were given time to come up with questions (and you had to provide the answers) before the reunion. I quizzed my Dad and got some really great information!

      That’s the great thing about having generations…the stories live on, and it’s a great idea to hear them again from time to time. Just like in our faith, I can forget sometimes.

      Happy Monday!

    • Hi Lauren! It really was a great time. The only bad thing was a broken arm…my niece’s son fell on the playground. He had to have surgery, but was back with us two days later. Kids just seem to bounce back fast, don’t they?

      I’m glad you liked the application of family stories. They really are precious things, both our human and our spiritual.

      Blessings on you Monday,

  4. Well stated Ceil. My family has never had a reunion, except at my mom’s funeral. We are spread out all over the states and so I miss that time. However, our children are now older and we have a few grandchildren. I’m not sure I would want my daughters and grandson to know the real truth about their dad/grandfather. πŸ™‚ Glad you had a good time.

    • Hi Bill! Thank you for your kind comment. Oh, I’m sure you would both impress and delight your family with your stories. I hope you are telling them! (Well, maybe not ALL of them.) Of course, they have your blog to keep up with your thoughts too.

      It had been a long time since our last reunion that included generations. I know what you mean about getting together because of weddings and funerals. Time goes so fast, doesn’t it?

      Have a blessed day,

  5. Yes and amen to the stories woven over time … they only seem to gather more meaning and beauty as the years pass …

    Monday morning hugs and thanks for the weavings you offer with your heart, your pen, my friend.

    • Hi Linda! And sometimes they get a little embellished over time too! But it was so fun, remembering the weddings and the TV shows we used to watch…all those things that make us what we are today.

      I’m giving you a cyber-hug right back. So good to be connected again! Thank you for your kind comments πŸ™‚


  6. Ceil, The same thing happens when we sit around and tell the younger generation things in our past, they believe without hesitation! And yet, so often we doubt God and we have His TRUTH!!! Thank you for this simple yet profound application πŸ™‚

    • Hi Anne! How nice to see you here! It’s so fun to sit around and swap memories, isn’t it? And I think it teaches the younger generation that we ‘old people’ had a past…we were young once!

      We sure do have God’s truth, ready for us to read and remember in the Bible, and in the witness of others. The Lord knew it was important, that we might forget. How well he takes care of us.

      Have a beautiful Monday!

  7. There is nothing I like better than sharing the old family stories. In truth, that is a big part of the reason I became a blogger in the first place – so there would be some of these stories saved for my grandkids. I like your spiritual application. Telling biblical stories is how most believers start their children out on the road to learning about God. I’m a great believer in it.

    • Hi Jerralea! What a great idea! I never thought of blogging as a legacy, but I guess it really is. Nice! I’m sure your family loves what you write, especially about how much you love them, and your dedication to faith too. Such a great way to use your gift for writing.

      Thank you for your comment today, I got a whole new perspective on blogging πŸ™‚

    • Hi Lulu! Oh my gosh girl, you are too funny! I don’t think you are alone in your thoughts though. Sometimes, the less said the better on some adventures, right?

      Thanks for the smile this morning πŸ™‚

  8. That is fantastic! I’m so glad you all had this opportunity to gather and be together. I think our big family reunion will be next September. (On my side.) We haven’t all been together since my father passed away almost 8 years ago.

    • Hi Patty! Oh you are going to have some fun! We haven’t gotten together with the generations in a while either. It was so nice to have both of my kids and their families stay with us. A full house! We also got a family photo done, which was AWESOME.

      Hope your Monday is a good one πŸ™‚

  9. That’s great Ceil! Come to think of I have never questioned the stories shared with me by Grandma… I just believe. When I was younger in my faith I had questions and didn’t believe everything I read. As I grown in the Lord I take it for what it is… The Truth!
    Revelations study was very hard for many of our group. They kept asking questions about circumstances that will one day be happening. Ummm, excuse me.. I don’t plan on being here. I don’t really need to know or understand everything in Revelation. I just KNow that I have a home prepared and I am told in Thesselonians that I won’t be here for this. I BELIEVE. I’m amazed but I am not asking questions! πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing this!

    • Hi Monica! It is amazing to recognize how much we take as truth from our families (and others as well sometimes). And we don’t even think twice. But with God? Oh, I have to hear it again and again to believe. Sigh. I guess that’s what it’s like to be human.

      I really applaud your attitude on Revelations. It is often not a ‘revelation’ to many, it seems so dark and mysterious. But you have taken a really faithful approach, and I enjoyed reading your comment a lot. Thank you!

      Have a restful night,

  10. I love the idea of family trivia. I need to get that going at our next family monthly meal (because it’s been far more than a month that we’ve gotten together!). Sounds like you have a fun family. And a rich spiritual heritage too! Thanks for sharing this, Ceil.

    • Hi Lisa! You definitely should do it, it’s so much fun! And it helps everyone remember the good times, and all the shared history you have.

      I am very blessed to have such a close family. We do truly enjoy each other’s company. And the faith my parents have handed down to us? Priceless. Just as you have done with your children too. We are both very graced.

      Have a good night my friend,

  11. Family is a wonderful gift from God. I have been so very blessed to have a legacy of believers surrounding me on both sides of the family. I know that previous generations have fortified my faith, and I never take for granted their witness. Now it’s on to us – may we also faithfully speak of the Lord to those who will follow after us. Like passing the baton of faith, may we run our race well and teach others how to do the same.


    (Don’t get me started on the shenanigans…)

    • Hi Sharon! I love how you are praising the gift of your family. And you are so right about all the generations that came before us, I do owe mine a debt of gratitude for sure.

      I love St. Paul, so of course I really like your reference to running the race. I hope my laps will inspire others to join in, just like you said.

      You? Shenanigans? Oh no. Not you!!
      Yeah, right πŸ™‚

    • Hi Linda! Thank you for your kind words. I know that not all families have the time, money or inclination to get together. We are aware how blessed we truly are.

      I’m so glad you liked the post! It’s nice to be back πŸ™‚
      Have a peaceful night,

    • Hi Margie! I was just talking with my sister, and we marveled how even the weather cooperated. And yes, really good memories to share.

      Thank you for your visit this evening. Have a peaceful night,

  12. You’ve returned to Blogging with an excellent post, Ceil.

    How nice to have a family reunion with many generations present. God bless you all. And it’s true, the stories we tell about our past at such reunions are our memories re-lived; and history related from us to future generations.

    Just like at the times of Christ and thereafter. The writers of the Gospels, Acts and Epistles were relating “word of mouth” stories about Jesus from those who had witnessed them.

    You’ve a marvellous style of writing your modern day parables.

    God bless you and your family always.

    • Hi Victor! Thank you for your kind words about the post. It really was nice to get together, we don’t do it as an extended family very often. So much fun!

      Word of mouth stories are so important to carry on the history of our lives. Maybe it’s not a world-shaking event, but it’s fun to remember and share. You’re so right about the Gospels, they were written later, all based on the stories that were told. Such a great heritage we have!

      Good to see you here again πŸ™‚

    • Hi Floyd! Nothing like the witness of people who actually saw it all, right? I’m sure your family shares its stories too. Such a great way to connect the generations.

      Have a good Tuesday,

  13. Hey Ceil. Sounds like you guys had a great reunion. So rare we take time to come together as a family anymore. Rare we take time to remind ourselves of the lessons learned, foundations laid. Like we were talking about over on my site, looking back can be such a powerful tool in helping us through what we’re facing right now.

    • Hi Crystal! Totally agree. Seems like I always learn better in hindsight.

      We did have a great time together, and the trivia contest was so fun! And we don’t come together with all the generations very often at all, so I am so happy that all the sibs decided it was time to dedicate some time. I know it meant a lot to my Dad.

      Good to see you! Have a great afternoon πŸ™‚

  14. What a great time I had visiting with you today. I was right there laughing and enjoying the moment. Oh I can’t wait to talk to the men and women from the Bible. Too bad I can’t take anything with me or I would start working on the trivia game for them now. Okay think I will have to write it in my soul cuz it’s going with. Blessings your way.

    • Hi Chris! I always hear my mom tell me “Ask when you get to heaven” about things I just didn’t understand. I didn’t think of preparing a trivia game…great idea!

      I’m glad you had fun here today, it’s nice to see you!
      Have a good afternoon,

  15. So glad you had such a good time at the family reunion. Love the analogy of believing in faith that the Bible is full of “true stories”!!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting today….it meant a lot to me! HOPE you’re having an awesome day!

    • Hi Deb! It’s always great to stop by your blog my friend. I’ve been away from blogging for a while, so I am behind on my visits.

      Thank you for your kind words about the post. It’s very kind of you to write words of encouragement to me. I really appreciate them πŸ™‚

    • Hi Jeanette! I suppose there is a little bravery involved…although I never wrecked any of my parent’s cars, so I was all good there!

      Thank you for your words about the post. I do try to see God working everywhere in my life. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes it’s a struggle. Sure is fun when I see it though πŸ™‚

      Happy Tuesday!

  16. Great point, Ceil! Sounds like your reunion was a lot of fun! Thanks for stopping by my blog – the pelicans seem to have stolen the show, lol! Have a blessed week!

  17. Ceil, Wonderful illustration on how younger generations learn from our stories of the past, just as in biblical times. I used to learn so much about my family during reunions. I wish we still had them as often. Now that my Mom has passed, it falls to us and we are scattered. Blessings.

    • Hi Kim! It’s hard to keep everyone together when parents pass. My mom died in 2010, so it’s taken this long to get us all together. We are all over the place too, I think that’s really common these days. I have two children and they are both out of state.

      Blessings to you too my friend. Have a good day,

  18. I LOVE family reunions! So glad you had a great time and I love your post. You always make the best applications to Christian life Have a lovely week…well, what’s left of it! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Debby! Aren’t they just the best? I had such a great time, and the days just flew by. Amazing!

      Thank you for your always kind words and encouragement. You are such a wonderful blog-friend πŸ™‚

      Have a blessed Wednesday!

  19. Sounds like a truly delightful time with loved ones young and old. So happy for you to have this opportunity…and the fact that you all actually did this speaks strongly for your family connections…laced with love and laughter. Thank you for sharing this with us. You are blessed beyond measure I am certain. Happy to see you again. I’ve been remiss in keeping up lately. So glad you are here!

    • Hi Pam! It’s great to see you again today too! Thank you for your visit today.

      I am blessed beyond measure, you are so right. I should come back here and read this post when I think I’m not πŸ™‚

      Have a peaceful evening,

    • Hi Cecelia! You’re right, it really is a blessing. I can thank my parents for that, they felt that we should stay connected. I hope my children will be in touch with each other too.

      Thank you for your visit tonight Cecelia. Have a great weekend,

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