Every Christmas day we travel to visit my family, the Teodosio family.
Christmas has always been hosted by my aunt and uncle, Mary and Joseph.
My uncle, Joseph Gabriel, was born on Christmas day, he is married to my aunt, Maria Gloria. They have three sons. None of them are named Jesus.
My family is a large Portuguese family. There are almost to many to count-44. There will be two more joining us this year by marriage and birth.
It is wonderful to come from a large family. I watch my grandmother and think of how this beloved family began more than 62 years ago, on the little Portuguese island of Flores, Azores, on the Atlantic Ocean. It began with a man and woman standing beside each other in a small catholic church. Neither knew what their future would hold.
Neither knew then that it would include 6 children, a new life in America, determination, strength, perseverance, heartbreak, grandchildren (including my sister and I who they raised), unconditional love, step- grandchildren, faithfulness, great-grandchildren, loss, loyalty, tradition, adopted great-grandchildren, and always- Hope.
I am blessed to be part of such a family.
It is overwhelming to think that God knew each of us then, back in that little church, on that little island, a million miles (well almost) away from here. It is overwhelming to think that He loved each of us then, just as He does now.
And I wonder what my little family of 5 will grow to be because of the love of a man and a woman standing before God in a church 13 years ago.
I can't wait for those Christmases when I will be surrounded by many generations of Jones'!
Row 1, Aunt Violet (whose finally going to be a g-ma) with Aunt Vicki and her grand-daughter Ava. Josie with her doll wearing a sweater made by Vava. Cousins-Amy, Sarah, Ava, and Michelle
Row 2, w/ my cousin Michelle, Christmas Decor, cousin Gabriel w/ g.f. Margie
Row 3, Aunt Hilda & Uncle Armando, Cousins Sean & Aaron w/ my Aunt Vicki (who was in a car accident in Sept. She is on recovery road- last month she was still in a wheel chair, this month she is using a walker! We are SO GLAD God let us keep her. Btw- her name means "Victory!"), w/ Cousin Michael.
Row 4, Sean, Vava, and me, happy Aunt Violet, Aunt Marie, Josie, & Aunt Violet