Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stanger Family Reunion

Over Memorial Weekend the kids and I had a very rare and special treat. We were able to join my parents for a roadtrip to St. George, UT for a Stanger Family Reunion. Orville and Virgie Stanger are my maternal great grandparents and boy have they left a legacy of unconditional love for others, commitment to family and most importantly, commitment to the Lord and letting him fill their lives with joy and strength.

Orville and Virgie had 6 children and 4 of them are pictured here - my Uncle Chuck with his wife El (I have fond memories of their cabin in West Point and visiting them in San Clemente), Uncle Maynard Bailey, Uncle Dovell, Rula (my wonderful grandma), Auntie Orvilla Bailey and Auntie Joyce.

The reunion was a wonderful weekend of meeting distant family and reacquainting ourselves with family we hadn't seen in many years. It was a great opportunity to reminisce and get to know one another and get to know more about our heritage. For example, I learned that my great grandmother's favorite song was, "When There's Love at Home", a song we all sang on our last day together and the story goes that when the kids would start quarrelling at home, great grandma Virgie would just start singing this song and somehow differences all worked themselves out. At the end of this post I've included the words to this song that I found online. I especially appreciate the bold lyrics and my prayer is that with the Lord's help, we will be able to create a home ruled and reconciled by love, for isn't that what Jesus commands of us? "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13. I wish I was better at this, but our walk as Christians is a journey, with high points and low points and always the opportunity to chart a better course than the one we just completed (by God's grace). I am a work in progress, a vessel who knows my ultimate destination but somehow gets sidetracked and waylaid on the waves and doesn't always stay on course.

Here is a group shot of everyone that was able to attend the reunion. We were missing many, but still had a good turnout and LOTS of little ones!

There were about 9 little ones aged 4 or less, so McGee had a wonderful time getting to know his cousins. He especially connected with Max, one of Troy's twin boys, and they had LOTS of fun together throughout the weekend.

Saturday we had a fantastic time at this community center/water park and I really wish we had someplace like it near where we live. The kids and I had such a great time in the water and could have spent the whole weekend just playing there.

Uncle Chuck & Miss Em

This girl just LOVED the water (and I just love those chubby legs)!

Working on floating with McGee

Some water time with my girl

Grandma had fun being the photographer for the day - this place was just the coolest!

Soaker time with Papa

Floating down the "river"

I just can't resist these baby blues!

Saturday night after dinner at Joyce & Dovell's clubhouse, we all went back to the hotel's conference room and kicked up our heels for some dancing lessons courtesy of Brian's girls and some jokes as well. It was a very unique and fun experience and I'm so thankful we had the opportunity to all get together.

Jill's husband Tyler entertained the kids with trivia questions he found online

Mike and Jeremy get some joke telling advice from Brian

We had two circles, a kids' and adults', for the bunny hop. This dance sure is a good workout when you have an extra 20 lbs. of Miss Em to bounce around. She had a blast with it though!

McGee especially enjoyed learning the Chicken Dance

Max, Adam & McGee dancing together as sweet Ashton looks on

Miss Em entertained the late crowd by making faces at cousin Cheryl

Ashton & McGee helped Uncle Dovell load up the ice chest

They were so proud of themselves!

Grandma & Auntie El

How blessed I am to be part of this incredible family! I hope we will have another reunion sometime so my children can enjoy this family tradition.
When There's Love At Home

There is beauty all around,When there’s love at home;There is joy in every sound, When there’s love at home;Peace and plenty here abide,Smiling sweet on every side,Time doth softly, sweetly glide,When there’s love at home.
Refrain 1:Love at home, love at home;Time doth softly, sweetly glide,When there’s love at home.
In the cottage there is joy,When there’s love at home;Hate and envy ne’er annoy,When there’s love at home;Roses bloom beneath our feet,All the earth’s a garden sweet,Making life a bliss complete,When there’s love at home.
Refrain 2:Love at home, love at home;Making life a bliss complete,When there’s love at home.

Love becomes a way of life,When there’s love at home;Sweet, insistent end to strife,When there’s love at home;Glad submission each one’s gift,Willing pledge to love and lift,Healing balm for every rift,When there’s love at home.
Refrain 3:Love at home, love at home;Healing balm for every rift,When there’s love at home.

Anger cools and pressures cease,When there’s love at home;Children learn to live in peace,When there’s love at home;Courage to reach out in grace,Meet a stranger face to face,Find a reconciling place,When there’s love at home.
Refrain 4:Love at home, love at home;Find a reconciling place,When there’s love at home.

There’s no question you can’t ask,When there’s love at home;There is strength for any task,When there’s love at home;Sharing joy in work or play,Confidence to face the day,Knowing love will find a way,When there’s love at home.
Refrain 5:Love at home, love at home;Knowing love will find a way,When there’s love at home.

Kindly heaven smiles above,When there’s love at home;All the world is filled with love,When there’s love at home;Sweeter sings the brooklet by,Brighter beams the azure sky;Oh, there’s One who smiles on high, When there’s love at home.
Refrain 6:Love at home, love at home;Oh, there’s One who smiles on high, When there’s love at home.


  1. Mindy, You did a wonderful job capturing the essence of this family reunion. Your pictures and your comments totally show what a fun time everyone had and how much love we all have for each other . Thank you. Love, Your Mom

  2. What a sweet post! I come from a rich history too...not in money, but in love. :) I love that song!
    Your pictures are great! McGee and his cousin even look a bit alike.
    My favorite picture of your sweet new nephew is the second one on the link. I am a huge fan of sepia, but that's a personal preference. I always mess with the contrast, brightness and saturation on mine too :) They are ALL beautiful though. He is such a doll!

  3. What a neat song! I love the idea of singing it to settle everyone. Sounds like it was a special time together and a ton of fun!