I must be handicapped to some degree mentally.  For I have greatly benefitted from memory techniques to help me cope.  My favorite way of making up for poor memory, is to organize what is important to me in the form of an acronym or a silly rhyme.  Mike has a colleague and a boss who have nicknames inherited from their active-duty air force days.  One is named Box and the other Stick.  The only way I can remember who is who is to say to myself: “Stick is Mike’s boss, because STick STays at work late.”  The “st- trick” helps me when I need quickly to verbalize the correct name.

I’m just sharing a deficiencyL and one of my crutchesJ.

So in the effort to organize some wonderful attributes of God into a prayer for an upcoming family reunion, I used the first 2 initials of our two sons, my husband and myself.

Wes who is an Infantry lieutenant deploys to Afghanistan in about 6 weeks or so.  We have organized a family reunion for the 1st week of October.  We have a small family, but EVERYONE is coming.  The last time we were together was a year ago when Mike’s brother Steve married Eve in Toronto.  And now we are reuniting.  Life is fragile – who knows when we will all be together again.  So I’ve been praying.  First I prayed that Wes indeed would be granted the vacation days he had been ‘promised’ by the Army.  Then I prayed that Mike’s mom and his cousin Terry would be able to come. These prayers have been granted by our always-faithful heavenly Father.  Now I’m praying for a hurricane-free week, good health and safe travel.

But more importantly, I am praying for harmony. You know what YOUR family is like!  Old patterns that weren’t healthy ‘way back when’ resurface when family members are together for more than 24 hours.  These can include juvenile rivalries, un-forgiveness and assumptions that have fossilized even though they are no longer true.

There are also political and spiritual differences among family members.  Enough said.

Then there are expectations about how people should act.   My husband tells me that unmet expectations are the source of much grief.

And did I mention that in this beach house will be 6 women who all like to cook, but who view meal prep and clean-up differently? Some likely will be battling hormones of various kinds, cranky because of poor sleep in a new bed and/or tired because of babies and toddlers!

Don’t get me wrong!  We’re not an exceptionally dysfunctional family.  I don’t think anyone is in counseling at this momentJ.  We’re pretty normal!!!  But we are all sinners.

So here is how I’ve been praying and where my acronym comes into play.  I took the initials of the first and middle names of my nuclear family: our oldest son GC, my husband MF, our youngest son WJ and me MB and created a prayer for our entire Cochrane family, all of whom will be at this happy event :

Blessed are you, O God

May we, the Cochranes

          Delight in

          Enjoy ‘muchly’

          Treasure and

          Rejoice in who You are    (DETR – I pronounce it as ‘debtor’)

Grant us ever-exceeding (here come the initials of our names)

          Gratitude to You

          Compassion for others

          Mercy in our actions

          Faithfulness in our reliance on You



          Mindfulness and


I now have a better chance of remembering HOW I want to pray leading up to our reunion and during.  Of course PEACE, FORGIVENESS, UNSELFISHNESS and many other attitudes are ones for which I’m THANKING GOD ahead of time as well.

Don’t misunderstand – I’m not anticipating upheavals.  But I do believe that God wants us to be prepared and on our guard.  Satan and his cohorts are always aggressively on the prowl, looking to devour Christians.  We must be mindful and clad in our spiritual armor that God has provided.  To do otherwise is at best naïve and at worst a disaster waiting to happen.

Colossians 3 – 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.