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,'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 .....
 (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."


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 :) }