This afternoon I am going to a birthday party for my three year-old great-niece.  Until she was born, I had never been around children very often, which caused me to be somewhat uncomfortable whenever they were nearby.  The first time I held her, when she was a mere two weeks old, she reached out and took my hand and stole my heart in the process.   Almost everyone in my family of 24 will be at the party today, which is another reason why I really want to be there.  My niece and her family may be moving away, and there have been some illnesses among other members of the family.  It may be a very long time before we can all manage to get together again.  That could be just my negative thinking, but I do not think so.   My family originated from Indiana and Illinois, and as each of us grew up, we scattered to different parts of the country.  In one of those quirks of fate, we somehow all landed in Colorado.  With the exception of one nephew, his wife and their two children who live in Japan, the remainder of us are still here.   It is not very often that I get to be with my family.  We do not always see eye-to-eye, and at times that has caused dissension among us.  I am the type of person who likes to see closely-knit families.    Today is supposed to be one of happiness, and although I have problems with some of my relatives, I fully intend to do whatever I can to ensure that happiness prevails.   Quotes for Love:   “Give love and unconditional acceptance to those you encounter, and notice what happens.” Dr. Wayne W. Dyer