Monday, December 29, 2014

Sister Kramer: Christmas Catch Up


 I've totally been slacking in the blogging department, I'll be better I the new year, I promise, maybe....here's Bailey's last two emails.... Love her!!!!

This week's email:

our christmas was crazy we had three turkey dinners it was crazy our first dinner was with all the missionaries at 11 then our second was with the d family at 1 there must have been 50 people there then we went to sister o house she is our mission mom we must have spent 6 hours at her house just hanging out sleeping on her couch just having a good time. it was great to see you all i am happy that you are all doing great :) do you think that you could get my siblings to email me cause it has been a few weeks since any of them have :) 
christmas was great but it was one long day :)

love you all 







Last week's email: 

yes i got all the info froom dad i am really excited to see you guys! there is a small change of plans i would be able to skype until 4pm your time now i hope that is still okay?
sydney is great we are well taken care of here :) christmas is going to be great this year! we are going to one members house for christmas eve and then on christmas day we have brunch at sister s home with all the missionaries then my companion and i will go to the d family christmas dinner at 1pm then we have another christmas dinner with all the missionaries at to o home then i will be skyping home from their house it is going to be alot of food :) 
 love you guys cant wait to see you all :)

sister kramer

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Christmas Family Prayer

We're in the sticks for Christmas. Yahk, to be exact, a place where time and technology were never meant to catch up with the rest of the world, in fact they just got cell service,  Tuesday....

Internet came here too, but it's sketchy at best....

Mother's Day and Christmas the only two days a year missionaries can Skype home, with their families...and the only time in our lives, the Kramers NEED internet. 

So just  as Bailey designated time arrived, the wifi completely blanks out....

Grant spends the next-felt-like-forever on the phone with a darling member from Sydney trying to figure out a way we could connect...miraculously resetting the modem finally worked....and in an instant the 6,000 km between us disappear. 

Tears of joy, relief and gratitude....



Oh how we've missed this missionary of ours. But in that same instant know she is exactly where she is intended to be. 

She is well and happy and still our Bailey, but with a clarity and light I just haven't witnessed before.

There's the "hey Alex, is that my hoodie you're wearing" and "so Dallyn would it hurt you to send an email, to your sister" and "Holly did you dye your hair, I love it!" ...

We met her sweet companion Sis.C. and found out about her Ward and how much she loves them and that they fed her, THREE turkey dinners just today. She visits with Grandma and grandpa and meets the new puppy...

For forty five minutes we are the krazykramers, all together again and then she asks for just one more thing, before we have to say goodbye ..."can we have family prayer?"

Such a sweet and tender moment as she offered a simple prayer. 

We are so blessed this Christmas Day.

Friday, December 19, 2014

I'm Going to Hell

'Tis the season....we go to the psychiatrist and open brown-enveloped mail....for most its the season of visiting Santa and opening Christmas cards...but when you're a Kramer its kinda the same thing.

We got letters in the mail this week confirming what we already know, Superman's Bipolar. It has been agreed upon that he is permanently disabled, as far as the mucky mucks at the insurance company and government are concerned....They never even hassled us.

There is odd relief and added heartache as you open such letters.

Our family will have what we need... but this is not the life either of us imagined...

I expected a battle when we filed the paper work, seriously I've heard nothing but horror stories, but that battle never came.... 

Disability Accepted.

Our biggest struggle, heartache, hurt and sadness has never come from the diagnosis itself, although its a sobering one....its dealing with the STIGMA attached to Mental Illness.

 And the place we have felt that stigma the most is in...I'm going to HELL..our church family....


I came across this today .....

http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2014/11/reflections-on-the-church-and-severe-mental-illness/
 (at the beginning article is a list of things NOT to say to someone with a severe mental illness...we've heard every single one)

All too often, Christians associate mental illness with a character flaw at best and demonic influence at worst. Neil and Joanne Anderson describe this situation well, writing:
“Consider what happens, however, when a prayer request is given by someone who is depressed. A gloom hangs over the room and a polite prayer is offered: ‘Dear Lord, help Mary get over her depression. Amen.’ The Christian community has not been taught how to respond to emotional problems. There is no cast to sign, and everyone is silently thinking (or the depressed believe that others are thinking), Why doesn’t she just snap out of it? I wonder what skeletons she has in her closet? If she would just pray and read her Bible more she wouldn’t be in such a state. No sincere Christian should be depressed. There must be some sin in her life. These critical thoughts are not helpful to the depressed person and often aren’t true. Contributing to a person’s guilt and shame does not help mental functioning. We must learn to reflect the love and hope of God who binds up the brokenhearted.”

Rev. Ryan Ahlgrim of Richmond, Virginia, wrote:
“This is the real heart of the matter, to be loved and treated with dignity. Mental illness often puts up blocks in relationships and friendships. But this is because we want relationships that are easy, that benefit us, or that feel productive. But I believe that the presence of mental illness, as well as other disabilities, reminds us that life and relationships are not about productivity and cost-effectiveness and convenience. We’re here to love and be loved. I do not have it in my power to fix my mentally ill friends. Some of them will continue to do things that are, from my perspective, counter-productive. So do I give up on them, or do I give up my need to have a ‘productive’ relationship? Can I simply enjoy who they are and being their friend? I have decided to enjoy them, value them as full human beings, and offer ‘nonproductive’ kindness. We are all, in God’s eyes, the recipients of undeserved grace. So none of us has a value-advantage over another. Let us treat each other with grace.”
I never imagined that some of our hurts would come from a few who share our faith. The fact that the hurting comes from a place of complete ignorance.... frustrating and forgivable and exhausting.

See we have experienced the sweetest of tender mercies from this same church family and so as we wade through the path towards understanding each other I will not lose faith. 











Sunday, December 14, 2014

Oh. Joy.

Rough it has been.

Oh no, I just sounded like Yoda....maybe its even rougher than I thought ;)

Sometimes we carry our burdens well, sometimes not. A lot of the days lately have been of the sometimes not variety... What. Ever.

So here's the weird thing....

I figured something out, I don't know, had a prayer answered, right in the middle of the chaos....

So somewhere it says...."Find JOY in all things...." Actually being a Mormon I hear that ALL the time and I never quite got it....JOY??? Really??? Have you looked at my life???

So I had always equated JOY with Happiness.....Find Happiness in all things, frankly seemed ridiculous to me....

So this week I read in passing on Deseret News  and took a screen shot of it.....

"Too often we forget that JOY is not the result of blessings; rather its the result of acknowledging those blessings."

Oh...that's....JOY....

Acknowledging blessings. That is way different than being HAPPY about everything that happens too us.

OK so rough it has been...but that doesn't mean that we have been devoid of all good things.

I can still see the blessings, the JOY in the last few weeks.

See Joy....





Well that only took 40 years....Maybe, by the time I'm eighty I can actually figure out MATH....maybe.



Monday, December 8, 2014

Sister Kramer: Crazy Christmas Tree

This week's, the ridiculously short email was made up for by the pictures she sent....

{this tree is my favourite tree, EVER!!!}
 
 
so yesterday it was my 7th month mark! :) crazy i know! we had a really good day 
we got to help a family decorate their very big very charlie brown tree it was awesome. 
we went knocking and found a lovely note on someone's door :0
and to top it all of i go to pick up your christmas package :)
the day was good
sorry this email is so short have a lot to do today
love you all
sister kramer
 
 
 
{YES it arrived BEFORE Christmas! Way to go ME :) }
 
{OK, well fair enough, I love the HONESTY  :) }
 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sister Kramer: Blessings and Baptisms

 

 
 {I find this picture hilarious...we could never get her to clean like this at home...I guess missions bring bonus blessings}
so planning a baptism can be a stressful thing but planing a double baptism can be even more stressful. things this week have been crazy for my companion and i.
there is a lot of work that goes into a baptism. everything between cleaning the font to making sure your investigators get there. and everything in between.
So everyone that could cancel did. ......... so our branch mission leader stepped in to be the presiding authority one of the members that came volunteered to play the piano for us and drive our investigator there. the talks and prayers were given by the branch mission leader and the elders pretty much on demand. between the nerves of the cancellations and having to sing (yes we did sing a song) there was a quite spirit that filled the hearts of all that came. once both were out of the water and getting dressed my companion and i just looked at each other tears filled our eyes with the knowing that we are part of a great work that the lord has sent us here to do many things. my heart is full of joy with seeing two people come unto christ. :)

Love you all i will see you on christmas
sister Kramer
 
{PANIC....she is still our Bailey :) }
 
 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

You Are HEALED.

It was around 12 or 13, that Kelli and I would sneak out of bed to watch Saturday Night Live, Dana Carvey's Church Lady, our favourite....Kelli's dead on impression of "Who could it be...Satan?" Was something my mom never appreciated and I of course found hilarious ...

 It was around the same time I first remember watching evangelical preachers on TV, usually while getting ready Sunday morning for our own, far less theatrical, Sacrament Meeting...why my mom had a fascination with these shows I never thought to ask....the only thing I remember from those shows, the classic, palm to the forehead " you are HEALED" and then the wheelchair bound recipient miraculously walking across the stage....

In all our junior high wisdom we repeated our best Church Lady and you are healed schtick countless times a day for any audience, willing or not  ...so even now I can't hear the word HEALED, without thinking of those SNL / TV preacher glory days.

A sentence read this week put me right back there. {palm-forehead-you-are-healed}

It was a serious emailed reply...but I couldn't help chuckling first.

Healed.

For what felt like forever we prayed that Superman would be healed. That we'd wake up one morning and the struggle would be gone. We tried harder, you know with those commandments, and such...But healed, simply didn't happen. In fact, for a while it seemed the harder we tried the crazier we it got...

I don't know exactly when I stopped asking for healing, but that prayer hasn't crossed my mind in quite sometime...finally accepting that healing wasn't what we needed most, was a good thing...

Sure I still pray, lots actually....

For inspiration in the moment on that really bad day that came out of no where.
For a nights sleep and a better perspective in the morning.
For good doctors to be inspired.
For my kids to stop irritating me.
For someone else the strength to do the laundry.

It amazes me how many of my prayers are answered.... when I accepted that the one I thought I wanted most, would not be.... It's not that we don't deserve healing, everybody does...It's that HF has a different plan for us and I am learning to trust that....and when I think about it, we are given some pretty good  blessing to help us travel this (sometimes really hard) journey.....

So no he's not HEALED and I'm sorry you feel really bad about that....but really we are ok...honestly...no seriously....

So now to the really important stuff...
So, Kelli can you still do a mean Church Lady???


 








Monday, November 24, 2014

Sister Kramer: Sparks






it would be best to send it to syndey if you are sending it soon because transfers are about 5 days before christmas so i could not be here and the office would like for parents not to send things to the office during christmas because things could get lost and most missionaries live to far from the office to get there packages on time...so if any on else is sending cards get them to send them to send them to sydney before the 10th :)

things have been great this week a little crazy but great. my companion and i are planning for a double baptism on the 29th so there are lots of things to get done :) we are super exciting for it...we are going to be singing at it as well which i hope goes okay haha

thats crazy that you set up the christmas tree. we set up a little tree in our apartment last week its pretty cute:) 

2nephi 7:11
11 Behold all ye that kindle fire, that compass yourselves aboutwith sparks, walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks whichye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand

so in my studies the other day i came across this scripture and it kinda reminded me of the christmas season...that fire that we kinda is the light of christ that every person has within them and i think that christmas bring it out more i people.... they in compass themselves about with good works and those sparks fly off and touch the lives of the people that are in need. 

love you guys :)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Rock On.




Sometimes the mundane things we do in life, turn into simply awesome moments....Superman's stake responsibilities meant he needed to attend the Yourh dance/ activity Friday, yet another busy weekend and after the week we'd had, I wasn't sure we could do it....

But duty and begging rug rats won out, so we loaded up the Van with teenagers  and headed  the 75 minutes south to Nanaimo, in a crazy wind/rain storm...

Forced Christmas music , no wifi , and the drone of pounding rain made for instant slumbering teens and a very quiet ride south....

They Danced and we visited.

That was awesome! Everyone concured as they loaded in the Van....
We were positive everyone would be asleep before the outskirts of Nanaimo... 

NOPE.

Superman's iPod hit his favourite 80's rock ballad list and the teenagers in the back erupted in full concert ....not a harmony, guitar riff or lyric was missed! {Can I hear an AMEN to parents who know how to raise kids right}

Summer of 69....Crazy Train....Final Countdown...Total Eclipse of the Heart....

I instantly felt the privilege of the moment. A 80's rock ballad tender mercy.

Eighty minutes of pure, simple fun to end a crazy week.

Man,  I love our youth and the joy they bring to life and that HF knew exactly what my  troubled heart needed. :)


Friday, November 21, 2014

Compassion Conundrum

I. Give. Up!....I. Am. Done....$%^& My. Life.....

More than once yesterday I typed a variation of that into the status window, but each time hit the backspace button and walked away from the computer and scrubbed the H#$% out of yet another floor....

Tears never far from the surface. I wasn't angry or mad I was sad and tired. I hate days like that....

A conversation about Grant's illness and the lack of understanding we as a family often feel, left me feeling sad....so sad.

It's hard living everyday with mental illness.

So has I cleaned the house trying to figure out why I was so upset, I remembered something....Back 15 years ago when the illness first changed our lives...

We lived in a tiny town, had five kids under six.....I knew something was wrong with Superman but had no idea what lay ahead for our young family.....

I remember having to call dear friends to help me take Grant to the hospital for the first time....

Or the visiting teacher who was on my doorstep minutes after they had to transfer my sweetheart to a larger hospital with a Psychiatric unit, Sister H took me in her arms and just let me cry, no words needed to be said....

There were no...well you need to do this or have you tried this or are you sure he needs to do this...

The was just compassion.

Isn't that what we all need??? Compassion. No judgment. No strings attached, compassion.

That's where my heart broke a little yesterday...."Well people don't know what to say or do, because its mental illness"

"Compassion is compassion, regardless of the circumstances!!!" I blurted out.

....I just didn't understand....you never asked....


 The love and kindness we show to those struggling around us should never be quantified by how well we understand the struggle, ourselves.

Our family still needs that same compassion.

We didn't ask for this...There are days when it absolutely sucks....There are times like yesterday when I totally want to give up and go live in a cave somewhere, with wifi ...

But then the tears stop and you dig a little deeper for the courage you lost yesterday and after a night's sleep you take one more step forward.....














Monday, November 17, 2014

Pinterest Plagiarism

So I have till Friday to get Bailey's Christmas stuff in the mail...or I will be an even more horrible parent....

What the heck do you send a missionary for Christmas??? That is  appropriate, mailable, meaningful and not super expensive....It's harder than I thought and I'm also lazy....

So I did a little Pinterest plagiarism....

Some really creative person changed the entire Green Eggs and Ham book to "The Mormon Church and Brother Lurch" HERE  (there are several sources out there, so I have no idea where it actually started)

I had to do a few edits (Sisters not Elders) and cut and pasted several different sizes of Book of Mormon pictures and just started cutting and pasting.....






Quirky and adorable, just like our missionary. :)
 
I was going to make quilts, but I have run out of time....But then I found this ridiculously simple and quick pillow case tutorial HERE....and figured that would be perfect for Bailey and her companion....



These were my first try and I gave them to the Sisters in our ward....neither are from Canada and I figured they would appreciate the Canadian maple leafs more than Bailey and her Canadian companion....
 
Bailey's will be out of lighthouse fabric, fitting for Nova Scotia :)
 
Now I just have to fill a stocking with all things winter and we should be good!!!!





Sister Kramer: Much Better

I am doing much better this week :) 
wow it has only been about -2 here...... the branch here is great they love the missionaries :)
the work here has been a bit slow but it hasnt been to bad and we are are teaching a young girl that will be getting baptized on the 29th this month which is super exciting :)

Sydney is a great place it is quite but has alot going on are area cover most of the island so we do alot of work in glace bay, dominion, north sydney, and a bunch of small towns around that. the branch here is great the members really like us and are happy to have us here for christmas its nice they make you feel at home.
for christmas can you just send me a stocking full of warmth :) like boot socks, thick tight, gloves, knitted head bands for my ears many be even gift cards stuff like that would be so helpful  :) and i would love a stocking cause i think thats one of the things that i am going to miss the most about christmas :)

there is a mormon message that you should watch it reminds me of you it is called "you never know".....

hope all is well love you :)



Happy the hear she is feeling better.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I Remember, Uncle Bill.


{Wendell William Merrill, Jr. Lieutenant, Air Corps, Army of the United States}

My Uncle Bill had a quick smile, booming voice, and an endearing hardy chuckle that made the entire room join in. My Dad lived with his oldest brother Bill after my parents split, so for  a few years we saw Uncle Bill nearly every weekend...He and Dad were hilarious together, some where between old married couple and Carol Burnette show...bickering, practical jokes (dad would walk in and yell at Bill "TURN THAT TV DOWN!,", the tv barely above a whisper, Dad nearly convincing Bill that he was going deaf) never ending Merrill brother shenanigans....


{The Uncle Bill, I knew :) }

I knew Uncle Bill had been a bombardier in World War II, but I never understood what that really meant...until long after Uncle Bill was gone... 

{flew with the Ringer Squadron, on the Joyce Marie, assuming from pictures}

This last week I've been reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (AMAZING book). It's about a WWII bombardier that survives against all odds...as I've read I've thought often of my Uncle Bill and thousands of questions I wish I could ask him..."what was it like...in the nose of the plane...flying in enemy territory...wondering if you'd come home....



Today is Rememberance Day and I pulled out one of the few boxes from my Dad's house and sorted through dozens of Bill's pictures from WWII...it felt a fitting day for that. Bill was a war hero, saw parts of the world most can only dream of, and witness the tragedies of war...none of which I never knew about him....

{second from right}


Today I remember him, honour him and promise to find out more about his service.

{in the middle}

Thank you, Uncle Bill.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Sister Kramer: Sick.

I guess our missionary is sick :( .....

mom this week has been rough i have spent the last 4 days inside our apartment because i got bronchitis :( being sick as missionary is not fun youre not allowed to go out in public so all you can do is sit inside and play guess the book of mormon prophet. i  think i have watched the movie "finding faith in Christ" about 7 times in the last 4 days and can probably quote it word for word by now

im not really sure what i would like for christmas...i will be skyping home for an hour that day but i am not sure at what time :)
 sorry this letter is so short 
Love sister kramer 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Medicated.

 

Superman and I say next to nothing as we drive to his scheduled appointment. Both of us are nervous, but neither willing to admit it to the other.... He's praying I won't say too much, I'm praying that I can communicate my worry without it being miss understood or trivialized....

It's been interesting around here. Not horrible, but definitely not rainbows either...

 And the last month or so I have come away from a few different interactions with others and felt misunderstood, trivialized and felt I had to justify ourselves, our situation and our choices...again...And that my friends has a funny way of playing havoc with stuff like courage and tenacity and my goal to stop swearing before I die...

We walk in to the familiar office and sit down and Superman gives me that look, which I totally ignore....

Over the next half-hour or so...we discuss things that aren't funny, but we laughed...we explained things that some can't understand but we were completely understood and validated and we made new choices and hoped for brighter days, ahead....and said thank you.

We climbed back in the van. Relieved, grateful and exhausted....

Psychiatry appointments are exhausting, they make us face our reality....One that others have tried to tell us isn't so...but one we have embraced, accepted and strongly medicated. :)




Medication is toxic...Medication is the easy way out....Medication makes you an addict....Medication is evil... You haven't tried hard enough, if you turn to pills....Before you medicate you should try{fill in the stupid blank}

Trust me we've heard it all....judgements masqueraded as a desire to help and inform...and it does neither...

Medication is our lifesaver literally and figuratively... significantly reducing the suicide risk and keeping mania at bay.  The longer mania is present the more the brain is damaged cognitively , (similar to having a stroke}  it took along time to get Grant's illness under control and damage was done. Medication will be required for life...it's a difficult reality, but it's OURS and we know it to be true, because we have walked this road for a long time and have trusted professionals that have guided us graciously along it

Medication is a tender mercy. How grateful I am for modern medicine, that mental illness is more understood today, that we have been guided to the right professionals and constantly guided in our choice of treatment.

Grateful for good doctors, good friends and good drugs. :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sister Kramer: Amazing.






so this week marks my 6 months of being a missionary! i am amazed that the time has gone by so quickly. I never thought that i would be here looking back and saying wow i am a missionary i have served the Lord with all my heart might mind and strength for the past 6 months! 

a story from the bible that i often share with the people that i teach it is the story of peter walking on the water in matthew 14: 26-31

26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

we need to be like peter he had the faith to follow jesus christ to get out of the boat and walk to the savior. As long as we keep an eye single to the savior that when the storms and the high waves of life beat upon us we will be able to stay above the water but in those times of struggle when we do begin to sink the scriptures say that the Lord immediately stretched forth his hand and caught him." the savior will be there he will not wait to help us as long as we call to him. Jesus Christ walked on the same stormy sea as peter did the savior has gone through all that we have and will go through in our lives. he will alway be there to lift us and help us.

my missoion has been amazing these few short months i have had hard times and really good times and my savior has been there through them all and i know that he will be there for me through out the next year of my mission :)

love you guys take care!
Sister kramer  

Ps i know the picture our weird but a mission is not a glam life 




Sunday, November 2, 2014

Six Months

As I sat here tonight emailing Bailey, the song sung at her farewell came across my playlist and I cried....the kind of tears that come from a mix of missing her and gratitude... but nobody else noticed, cause they're all watching The Walking Dead....sigh

This week marks six months since we put Bailey on a plane for the MTC, not sure she'd make it through the four airports and customs, much less the MTC....

She has made it and we are simply grateful as we watch Heavenly Father watch over and bless her and our family.

 Superman and I will often look at each other and say "that's a missionary blessing" as we have had so many tender mercies while she is serving...This week was no different ....

The main breaker at our house broke (no I didn't know they could do that either) The electrician could have easily said they don't make that kind anymore (all true), but the first person he called had the obsolete part...which saved us a lot of money by not having to replace the entire panel, when we told him we had a Mormon missionary, he spoke very highly  of us Mormons :) "Missionary blessing"

 Being a missionary is not something I think I could do, but I deeply respect Bailey's desire and dedication to share her testimony....

One of our sweet Sister missionaries (serving in our ward) bore her testimony today of eternal families...She has lost a grandfather and then a grandmother in the last few weeks and spoke of how hard it has been to be away from her family right now but then said " I am so grateful to be a missionary, I sacrifice 18 months with my family, so other families can be together, forever."

Having a missionary out has not caused instant glorification nor has it made us shoe-ins for "Mormon family of the year".....But it has given me a glimpse of the depth of love our Heavenly Father's love for each of  us and that when he asks us to go through really hard things, he also provides the comfort and courage we need to do that. Thanks Sister Kramer.

I miss her but I am so grateful.







Thursday, October 30, 2014

Puppy Problems

We got a puppy. That was a month ago. It only took a few hours after bringing him home to remember why we had had exactly FIVE children and not six....I'm not good at adult supervision, consistent feeding  and/ or any potty related duties....

Puppies are cute, cuddly and hilarious....they are also equal parts, needy little Tasmanian devils  that destroy stuff and do disgusting things...

Tucker wrecks stuff at an alarming rate....

Both kitchen rugs shredded...
The bathroom rug has a gaping hole....
Every toilet paper roll put in the downstairs bathroom unrolled through out the basement...
Noah's Ark  animals are now amputees...
The  wrapper of anything, obliterated into a million pieces....
And you know those plastic caps that cover the bolts on your toilets, yeah we don't have those anymore....

Sigh...

The first few weeks I followed Tucker around like a fugitive. Yarding everything out of his mouth...

Now its a thought process.... "will he choke on that, is the cost of replacing that more than the value of some silence, will it teach messy rug rats to pick up earbuds, if he swallows that will it require a vet visit?????...

We just can't have nice stuff....EVER.

My favourite was this morning after the rug rats SWORE the puppy went poop outside....

I bent down to pick up a leaf off the carpet by the back door.... yeah It. WAS NOT. a leaf....


It's a good thing he's so cute, but really.... What were we THINKING!





Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Mediocre Mormon


I can't remember the last time we had a family home evening, that's still on Monday night, right?....

Family prayer is usually a contest to see who can sneak in the most inappropriate word....

Scripture study, does scanning someone else FB post count?

I am such a mediocre Mormon....

Here's even more proof of my mediocrity....

Last week the wind started to blow like crazy and then the power went out....

I stumbled around in the dark with the flash light on my dying cell phone and managed to find the only two candles that survived the move, neither wick would light, that expensive crank flashlight/ radio was no where to be found .....

This week we got the tail end of hurricane Ana, crazy wind and rain and a boil water order....Nope the Kramers didn't have a stitch of water in storage, even though we knew it was coming...

Sunday when Holly came home we went to Boston Pizza for dinner, because I had neither the energy, desire to make a pizza pop, let alone dinner for everyone.

There is probably a 1-800 number you should call....on all of us. (except that missionary of ours)

Even though I gave up guilt back in 2004, mom died then....I have felt kinda guilty bad ....

Today I was complaining visiting teaching (first time in months).... " I just can't keep up" I said almost in tears....

She said...

I'm pretty sure Heavenly Father understands, Robin. Especially when no one else does...HE knows how hard it is and the sacrifices you make and  just putting one foot in front of the other, is enough for now.....

Oh how I needed that.....
Mediocre is a triumph when it gets hard, even HE understands that.











Monday, October 27, 2014

Sister Kramer: Bless the Stove Top and Bacon


so i thought i would be cool if i told you what a normal day as missionary is like...

6:20 alarm goes off "i cant believe its morning again!"
 
6:29 alarm goes off again after hitting it a few times...Knees hit the floor i try not to fall asleep as i pray.
 
6:35 work-out (kind of) 
 
6:50 rock, paper, scissors on who gets the shower first (most of the time i just make a run for it)
by 7:30 its breakfast options are dry cereal or toast.
 
8:02 half way through brushing my teeth "oh crap! im late for personal study!" run to the living room knees hit the floor to my companion giving my that 'look"...we pray.
 
8:05 run back to the bathroom because i left the water on
 
8:05--9:00 personal study book of mormon, preach my gospel, talks...and so forth.
 
9:00 knees hit the floor we pray...companion study
 
10:00 ready knees hit the floor we pray and out the door
 
10:02 back in forgot the phone and my planner.
till 12:00 sometimes we go talk to people on main street or have a lesson or knock.
 
12:00 in for lunch stair at the cupboards for a few minutes then just decide to take a nap
.
1:00 ready to go knees hit the floor we pray then out the door.
till 5:00 we knock go see members or have a lesson or knock
 
5:00 in for dinner my companion and i just look at each other "stove top stuffing and bacon it is" if we eat quick enough we have time for a short nap before we have to be back out
 
6:00 ready to go knees hit the floor we pray and out the door
 
6:02 have to go back in cause my companion is still wearing her camo slippers.
til 9:00 we knock see some less active members have a lesson or knock 
 
9:00 we are in the door knees hit the floor  we pray 
til 9:30 we plan for  the next day
 
9:30 knees hit the floor we pray
 
9;45 ready for bed knees hit the floor we pray
 
9:50 lights out almost asleep phone goes off we forget we had a call night with one of our leaders
 
10:20 lights out again knees hit the floor we pray...cant remember getting into bed.
 
6:20 alarm goes off "i cant believe its morning again!" 

love you guys take care :)
love sister Kramer
 
 
Man they pray A LOT! And Stove Top and Bacon???? That just sounds gross.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Kitchens and Chaos

I realised something...

The state of my laundry room and/or  kitchen say everything about how I'm feeling about my life, on any given day....

Clean/ organized, ready for an Istagram shot....
 Means I got my crap together, I can handle this, life is good.

Mount Washmore has overtaken the entire laundry room, I've washed the same load three times cause I keep forgetting to switch it...We have no clean spoons, someone left the milk out overnight again, and I have no idea what the brown stain on the counter is....

Means...well I'm tired, overwhelmed, trying to catch my breath, worried about stuff. Need a nap...and could care less.

But you will probably never see my kitchen or laundry room like that. Not because its never a disaster....Trust me its a disaster more than its not. Its that I don't let people in when life feels like its coming apart....

My kitchen is a biohazard.
I don't even want to talk about laundry.

We've spent a week or two on a continual roller coaster...its just part of our lives...I should be totally used to it by now. But I'm not and at times felt a bit of a "Ferris Wheel freak-out" coming on.

The ride has slowed down, thank heavens. But I have not yet caught my breath...

So I've spent this week avoiding everything. I just don't have it in me to explain anything. Even I get tired of my own story.

We live with a life long mental illness and that's ok, sometimes the load just feels heavier than usual.





Monday, October 20, 2014

Sister Kramer: GROSS

Bailey's LONGEST email ever! With paragraphs and everything. I'm so grateful....(she must not remember, but we bought bagged milk all the time when she was a toddler, before you could get the gallon jugs....and she lived :) )



so as a missionary i have had to adjust to many things in the past 6 months For example i have had to adjust to talking to strangers each day and the struggles of wearing a skirt, also getting up in the very early hours of  the morning( still adjusting to that one) but i never thought that i would have to adjust to milk coming in a BAG! im sorry but i find it just too weird. first of all i love milk but never really got the chance to have it while i was in newfoundland because it only comes in 1L cartons that cost $5 because everything is more expensive in Newfoundland. So i thought that i would be able to have it more often when i came of the rock but i think the fact that it comes in a bag just throws me off just a little to much. 

the weather is gross i think we are getting the tail end of a hurricane! so i think i will be having to get a new coat for the winter because im going to need something that is waterproof. i dont think the weather will be getting any better they say that it will be snowing by november so thats going to be fun. 

during my time in the MTC one of my teachers shared this with me that has really helped me in my hard times. in matthew 14: 14-21...

14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
15 ¶And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
18 He said, Bring them hither to me.
19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.


i know you have heard this story. If we compare our short comings, weaknesses, trials and struggles, anything that we are dealing with in life that we find hard or burdensome, to the loaves and fishes in this story, we can see that we do not have enough on our own. But if we take what we have (the loaves and fishes) to the Lord, He wont turn us away. He will take what we have. He will bless it and make it more then enough to fill us and others. The Lord is always by our side to make weak things become strong. But we need His help in all that we do to overcome the tribulations of life. Go to Him. Pray. Ask for comfort. Do our part. And watch how we are filled with the bread of life. i hope that will help :)

love you guys so much
sister kramer

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bipolar and Boats

A boat in a storm, riding the waves.

September was smooth sailing.

October,  not so much.

When your sweet heart has bipolar disorder you use lots of analogies....mountains, roller-coasters, pogo sticks, bouncing balls, boats.... It's an often useless effort to help others understand.

We've spent most of the last few weeks rocking, up, down...hi, low...angry, sad....energy, none...lost....

It simply breaks my  heart, to watch my exhausted super hero fight to regain ground....

We know exactly where it started and most would just move on, but its not that simple for us.

Have you ever tried to stand up in a dingy in a hurricane??? 

"He seems fine to me"...Yeah, I know, he's good at that in public, actually he probably is "good" for that moment. You see unlike the movies and the stigma, bipolar battles are deeply personal and private ones and rarely seen.

I lay awake often praying and wondering and worrying....hoping that smoother waters are soon on the horizon. And that someone will be inspired to reach out to him.

I don't like this struggle any more than my sweet heart does. I don't like when he is the learning-curve for others, but some never want to learn.

 So please be kind to him, please pray for him, please love him and please never devalue, or minimize his heart ache, just because you don't totally understand.

And please someone help us row this DAMN boat :) 















Monday, October 13, 2014

Turkey Day.



Yup that's our turkey dinner, except it's not turkey and that's not on my mother's china.

The table wasn't set, and the only one not in pyjamas was Superman and I'm pretty sure that's because the only pants he had clean were jeans...
 
Holly and Madison were working so we were left with tweedle dee and man child, who managed to get into a squabble over who had to, not only do the dishes, but scrap them, less than 30 seconds after the blessing...

A discussion over, I don't remember, lead to Manchild getting annoyed that we never listen to him, and suddenly taking a vow of silence...

Manchild has now resorted to silently writing messages in is mashed potatoes.... "you suck" and " bite me" were clearly legible...

"Don't feed Tater, Alex?"..."I'm not!"  but Tater is clearly licking his chops...

Dallyn's vow continues...

"Well at least nobody's said PENIS at the table yet,?!? Alex smirks....

Nice, just nice.

Dallyn scribbles penis.

I give up. And nearly die tripping over the mop bucket still in the kitchen doorway...

Living the dream, one happy holiday at a time. Sigh.






Sister Kramer: I Turn to The Lord




I sent Bailey pictures of Grant's protects around the house....

that looks really cool i think that you should go with the blue. i love that you send me all that dad does its cool to see his talents.

 
this week has been good but i did trip today and scrap up my knees so that was fun.
you should really read the talk Lord is it I from the priesthood part on conference.

I asked if she needed anything....

i am not sure if i need anything but thank you though.

What would you tell another missionary who is struggling?? How do you over come the hard days??? Where do you turn for help and peace??


i turn to the lord. i am on my knees more times then i can count. some days your lows and your highs are so close together on a mission you can walk out of an amazing lesson where the spirit was so strong to face someone so rude to you at the door that you just want to go home and hide under the covers. But one thing that I turn to is the Book of Mormon. Because no matter where you are in it, it has a power to give you strength because every page and every verse is always filled with the spirit that gives you what you need to get you through those moments..

Love you guys so much. Take care

Sister Kramer


Thanks for the answer Bailey and the example. We love and miss you, everyday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Didn't MEAN It.

"I didn't mean it!"

When I think back on my two-decades of,  not so glorious, parenting. I can think of countless times I heard the classic "I didn't mean it!" rebuttal to my scolding a  rug rat for the mistreatment of a fellow rug rat...

{It was the day we brought Alex (or maybe it was Dallyn) home from the hospital....

My Visiting Teachers had stopped by to meet the new baby, we were chatting in the living room, watching my other kids play in the yard, out the window...

I watch in slow motion as five year old Holly raises a snow shovel, high above her head and precedes to whack 3 year old Madison over the head with it...

I race outside to a screaming Madison and a cowering Holly..."I didn't mean it Mommy, I didn't mean it!" the usually obedient Holly says crying. Madison although still whaling was not injured, thanks to her Kramer hard head and the wholly toque that was on it.

" I didn't mean it!"

Oh I am 100% positive that Holly meant it....What Holly didn't anticipate was that whacking Madison would cause the whaling and screaming the entire neighborhood enjoyed....she was barely five so the whole cause and effect thing was still tumbling around her synapses. But I'm guessing it quickly stuck, cause she never took out a sibling with a snow shovel again :) }

But I still hear "I didn't mean it" but lately its been grown ups saying it. Ok so I don't know any adults (personally anyway) who go around whacking others with snow shovels. But I do know adults who can, especially with words and opinions, be insensitive, thoughtless, careless, assuming, uneducated, rude even....

But when the fact that their words or actions caused sadness, turmoil, pain to another...we often hear a "oh, I didn't  mean it (that way)" or in defense of another's careless words or actions..."oh, they surely  didn't mean it!" 

What is actually being said is "I (They) didn't realize my (their) words were insensitive, thoughtless, careless, harmful, opinionated"  and " I didn't or don't understand or accept that my words are harmful to you."

"I didn't mean it", is not a free pass or an instant antiseptic that cures all harm done.

Pain is pain.

An "I'm sorry" , without an excuse is a starting point... listening to understand another's loss, pain, sickness, family situation, heartache, does help . For,when we truly understand each other, we don't hurt one another. And sometimes, realizing if we just can't understand something, it's really okay to keep our opinions to ourselves.

So...Please for the sake of snow shovels, be kind, thoughtful, unassuming, and careful or QUIET.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sister Kramer: Only in Canada



that is so amazing that brecken got baptized i am sad that i wasnt able to be there but i am so excited for him!
Sydney has been great it is quite different the NFL but i dont think anything will be like that place. we do so much knocking here it is crazy! The Branch Members here are quite cool. We were able to play street hockey before conference (only in Canada would that happen) :)
It is quite a beautiful place here. Its like one of those post cards that you see with all of the autumn colours.
We were able to travel to New Glasgow for Zone Conference. Its quite a different feel being around that many missionaries cause in NFL there are only  16 missionaries and here we had at least 22 missionaries. So it was cool to meet everyone. 
Yes I believe that we are getting iPads, I'm not really sure how that will work. President Leavitt said that we should have them by the end of the year.

love you guys :)



Sunday, October 5, 2014

Conference Comfort

The first Weekend in October and April, every year is General Conference. A weekend we receive instruction from our Church leaders from Salt Lake, Utah

My first memories of General Conference...I was five maybe six and trying with little avail to stay still on my cold metal chair, in the back of the Placentia Stake Center, in a frilly green dress, (I have never liked dresses.)...

 On the giant scene at the front, a bunch of grey haired guys spoke in succession....they all looked they same to me and in my little mind I wondered if  God himself was speaking to us, they were just that old.

In the late 1970's, satellite broadcast receive by the gigantic satellite dish, at the Stake Center was the only way you could listen/watch General Conference, in Southern California. Mom took us to every broadcast

I've even read accounts of my Great Grandmother attending Conference in the 1870's, her and her father went by ox teams from Logan to Salt Lake, a journey of several days...

Today "we" {me and the offspring in varying degrees of sleepiness} watched/listen to conference on my iPad, sprawled out on living room couches. The trek from our bedrooms to the living room requiring negligible planning or sacrifices, because of technology neither my mother or great grandmother could have ever imagined.

But here I am, generations later, dragging taking my kids to conference...Why?

Because I need answers and guidance and  comfort and General Conference and those (now, not so) old men and women seem to always have the answers my heart is searching for.  So I watch and listen and soak in as much as I can.

 And I have a feeling that is the same reason my mom took us and the same reason my Great Great grandfather took Grandma Ash....they needed answers and hoped like I do that some day our kids would seek answers at General Conference.

Answers, comfort, guidance....

Elder Holland's talk on helping the poor and the needy, did just that. Answers, comfort and guidance ...
 
 

So even though the rug rats weren't as enthused as me....(I played bingo by my self)....
I hope they will, one day, find answers, comfort and guidance at General Conference :)