Look at them! Do you see that light just oozing out of those smiley faces? I love them so much. And they have loved each other for over FIFTY YEARS. Yep, their anniversary is coming up this summer.
So they have been trying to figure out how to celebrate that big number for the last few years, and finally settled on having all the adults meet in the Dominican Republic.
Why the Dominican you might ask? Well, they were looking for some place warm, a place where we could all be together, and a place that had a little bit of adventure.
The Dominican had it all, and did not disappoint.
Their anniversary is actually in July, so this 50-year-celebration is only beginning. But don’t you think that’s a pretty great thing to celebrate for as long as you can?
Fifty years of togetherness.
Fifty years of working on a marriage, fifty years of raising nine children, and moving on to nurturing grandchildren. Fifty years of all the nitty-gritty business of living a life committed to spreading goodness. Sometimes with home-made mobiles floating above their bed filled with goals and dreams. Fifty years of writing books and “fortifying families, bolstering balance, celebrating commitment, popularizing parenting” (part of their mission statement). And fifty years of being just plain quirky in all the best ways (my dad mostly on the quirky part) and good and “loving more.”
I often get overwhelmed with so much gratitude that I’m theirs.
And they’re mine.
Started out with these nine kids:
And especially loved that I got to spend that time with him:
A week long date with my number one accompanied by all those other people I love. It was a good week.
I wish I had time to write all the details, this is just going to be barely scratching the surface, but I’m going to list just a few of my favorite memories to tell the story along with some (although still too many) pictures.
Here we go:
We stayed in a big house, all of us together.
I loved the expanse of beauty you could see from our porch, stretched out with swaying palm trees on that “zebra” beach, beckoning warm ocean water, always a group in the water or on the beach, groups of interesting minds open to discussing the world.
Impromptu discussions about life and the gospel and deep down thoughts floating in the pool:
Late-night hot tub discussions with varying groups, our words and thoughts floating over all that green-lit water, intermittently taking a dip in the blue pool to cool down.
Hot tub and conversation was just as good during the day as well:)
Paddle boarding at sunset, the facets of the ripples on the water catching the light in a million different ways, different paddling companions with varying things to talk through as we paddled out into the vast blue, working on paddle board handstands back in the shallow.
And my poor mother has a horrible knee. So this was the solution:
One of my favorite pictures:
See my brother-in-law there on the cliff on the right below?
We all jumped off from there…fun times.
Pictures cannot do this place justice.
It was so gorgeous.
We stopped at a little roadside cafe for lunch:
For the most gorgeous ziplining through that deep jungle of beauty.
Here’s my sister below, which is pretty cool that she’s upside down, but check out that tree behind her:
Is that beautiful or what?
Later we took over the kitchen because we’re Eyres and we have to bake cookies wherever we go 😉 It was an adventure with foreign ingredients and no measuring cups: a group effort in the kitchen. We kept adding a little more of this or that and Eli and I got a good joint stirring strategy down.
It was my brother Jonah’s birthday that day so perfect way to celebrate. I mean, cookies are a must for birthdays right?
On our last day we took a catamaran ride, slipping along that vast expanse of beauty, people I love stretched out all around me.
Here is the cook guy right in the middle below:
Home in time for some family pictures (at the beginning of this post) and feeling so much love for these guys:
The best in-laws in all the land.
Loved thinking about my parents and giving them a special tribute on the last night. So grateful for their example, shells we had collected spread out before them on that beautiful table signifying different facets of their union that is so deep and good and rippling to help so many others.
Late-night cards after that:
Church the next morning before we had to split up:
(the closest church was too far away and we had flights to catch…loved our own version and the good spirit that sunk in all around us)
(happened to be on the same first-leg flight before they headed across to London and we headed back to the desert).
It was a good week.
Thank you, mom and dad, for everything, but mostly for finding each other all those years ago and working to make life grand through all the pushing and pulling and loving and building.
Love you forever.