The Unconditional Love of Family

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~  The Oregon Coast at Lincoln City  ~

Among the different definitions of love (puppy, unrequited, conditional, to name a few), unconditional love stands uncontested as the most reliable and harmonious to our hearts.

Sure, folks may question whether any love is unconditional, but I am willing to bet that in the eyes of a child and mother together in laughter, you will find nothing but the purest form of this love.

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“People like to say love is unconditional, but it’s not, and even if it was unconditional, it’s still never free. There’s always an expectation attached…. I just don’t want that responsibility.”  (from the book The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay)

Responsibility is never easy.  To throw out a cliché: the hardest thing to do is often the correct thing to do.  Being responsible in love takes effort.  If you see unconditional love for its purity, respect and admiration for another, then the responsibility of this love becomes second nature.

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Yes, there are times when people do not want to take responsibility in their lives…we have all experienced this, but when it comes to love ‘taking responsibility’ is necessary.

Love is not always a beautiful sonnet.  Anger, passionate frustrations and questioning life are all apart of love.  Fortunately, unconditional love will never go away.  It will be there when you least expect it and need it most.

Steel and glass, tempered amid flames, becomes stronger.  Love, tempered over time, will become unbreakable.

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Every time I return to the States, I am buoyed by the incredible spirit and strength of unconditional love.  Not a day goes by without giving thanks for such wonderful magic in my life.

This trip back to the States, I visited the Oregon Coast to see my sister Julie, her husband Greg and their kids Taylor and Riley.  An added bonus was to have another sister and her husband (Sandi & Russ) as well as my niece Lauren (from my twin sister Kim and her husband Steve) join us for the weekend as well.

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We stayed in their house on Devil’s Lake in Lincoln City, and it was one of those vacations that will always be remembered because of the simple, honest love within my family.  While missing my parents, Kim, Steve and niece Ellie and nephew Lane, their spirits were with us on the Oregon Coast.

The main goal for the weekend was to enjoy and celebrate life: to be with each other and take full advantage of our time together.  We succeeded in achieving these goals.

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  • Greg took me to the beach to shoot the sunset…and with my getting carried away in the magnificent sunset, we missed dinner.  Of course this upset the sisters a bit…but in their hearts they’re happy knowing we enjoyed our time.

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  • The kids (Taylor, Riley and Lauren) enjoyed the Oregon Coast – and learned more about photography.

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  • Riley continued his mastery of water-skiing.

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  • Taylor kayaked, took care of us and also showed us the proper way to ride the tube.

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  • Lauren showed us her expert wake-boarding skills (no photos of her crashes…).

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  • Sandi showed off her amazing skiing skills, after not being on skis in roughly a decade…the magic was still there.

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  • Russ fished for trout…and had success after success (after my mom, maybe the best fisherman in the family).  Smoked trout is on the menu next week.

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  • Julie & Greg were the perfect hosts.  Greg in the boat and Julie on the kayak.

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While I never planned to write such a personal post on my blog, the unconditional love with my family inspires me.  It is from my dad I became intrigued by photography, and something we all share (both Sandi and Lauren providing most of the shots in this post).  The philosophy side has been built up with my mom, through our many talks over the decades.

Unconditional love is about sharing, not a better method to learn.

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It is unconditional love that allows the mind to focus on the bigger picture of life.  Personally, it has allowed me to take chances in life and pursue opportunities that I otherwise may not have attempted.

I have forged a different path in life, a large part because I viewed risk differently.  I knew if I failed I’d have the unconditional love of my family to fall back upon, so I was encouraged to push the envelope.

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The expectations of my family have largely made me who I am…provided support to strive for success in my career and fulfillment in life.  There is much yet to do, and ahead is a jungle and a long path to forge as I continue in life, but my family & friends and the unconditional love I find there is the pillow where I lay my head every night.

This love allows me to recover and wake at dawn with energy, love and conviction to create a day like no other.

Without them, without this unconditional love, I do not know…

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