Tuesday, March 31, 2015

We'll See Him Again.

Dallyn and Grant, Temple Square 2001

When Bailey encouraged us to share our feelings about the Saviour this week leading up to Easter, the thought was met with mixed emotions for me. Easter weekend brings gratitude and some sorrow.

Three years ago we said good bye to my Dad on Good Friday...
That day our hearts ached as we gave him back to our Heavenly Father. I sat in the back seat of my sister's car holding my 4 year old nephew's hand as Kelli took the phone call saying he was gone. Zach instantly sobbed as we all felt the raw sorrow of that moment.

 "We'll see him again, right Aunt Robin." he said, through his tears.
"Yes Zach, you're right, we will see him again" I said through mine.

Even at four Zach knew of the promise that death is not the end. That because our Saviour died on that first Good Friday and rose on that Easter morning, we too, will live again.

How grateful I am for that gift and the knowledge that I will see my Dad again, free from the trials of this world.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sister Kramer: Who God Would Have Me Be.

Such a sweet email this week:

what are the families plans for easter this year guess what easter will be about my 11month mark! isnt that just crazy i skype home in may and then the next time i will see you guys will been in person my mission is just going by so fast it is crazy to think that i have been out this long i have learned so much! but one of the greatest things i have learned on my mission is to know who i am as a person i now understand who God would have me be :) it is so amazing to feel his Love daily in every thing i do and it is even more amazing to be able to share that Love with everyone that i meet :)

have you been able to see the new video for easter that the church has put it out it is great :) they have given us easter pass along card to promote the video i am sure the missionaries there have them i encourage you to share the video on facebook of your blog it is just great :) 

well hope you have a great easter and the easter bunny treats you well this week
love you 
sister kramer :)  

The Easter Video can be found here:


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

CP Celebrity

It's Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day! (I didn't even know we had a day 'til last year...)

I got a Flat Stanley letter in the mail yesterday, it's from a sweet little girl who has Cerebral Palsy and she sent it to me because I'm her awesome cousin who also has Cerebral Palsy. I've never been a famous before, but being admired for having CP is a very sweet thing for me.....

As soon as I was old enough to realize I was different, I was sworn to secrecy. Mom thought if people knew what made me different had a name, they'd judge me or maybe it's that she feared the judgment... I have never quite figured that out.

Regardless Cerebral Palsy was the elephant in the room....

I spent most of kindergarten in casts and in a wheelchair. They were trying to manually turn my pigeon toed feet to a normal position, every few weeks changing the angle of each cast. That lasted almost a year and accomplished nothing. "What's wrong with you?" Kids would say.  I wasn't aloud to tell them.

While most kids took swimming or dance after school, I was in therapy three nights a week. Hoping again to loosen my constantly pulling muscles. The therapists were nice and the playground had this awesome purple dinosaur slide....

My left foot was two sizes smaller than my right and my left leg 2 inches shorter, The only place we could special order my shoes was the VANS factory in Orange County, I was cool before my time.

School was tough. I remember peeing my pants often, once in front of my third grade class, giving a book report. I could never quite keep up in PE either and was always picked last for every team. A lap of the track too me twice as long as it took everyone else and I fell often. I read slower than everyone else because my eyes struggled to stay on the same line... But I wasn't allowed to tell them why...

In fourth grade my mobility was getting far worse and I was falling constantly, so they decided to reconstruct both feet...cutting the muscle in the arch and then removing the curved portion of each heel bone, fastening the bone back together...I can still remember the pain I was in when I woke up from surgery. Mom had me back at school in four days. I spent months in casts and in a wheelchair.

I vividly remember the orthopedic surgeon removing my casts and grabbing the drill and removing the screws...somebody could have at least warned me.

Several more months in walking casts then...

For the first time in my life my feet were the same size and my toes pointed forward without effort. Flat feet were a worthy trade off...

I still was told never to talk about it, "People won't understand, Robin" mom would say.

Mom had stayed in California 5 years after my parents split up, so that I could continue to receive the best medical care available at the time, but once we moved to Canada my CP was almost never mentioned and therapy did not continue.

So yeah, 30 years later, I still have CP.....me and gravity don't get along, zero depth perception, the balance of a well-intentioned drunk person and the bladder control of a puppy and my muscles often feel like I've run a marathon...but now I can talk about it and its just as much apart of me as my love of the ocean or addiction love of Dr. Pepper.

It has taught me much.

I would never ask a child to hid something the way my mom did. But it is a much different time now. I'm not sure an explanation would have saved me from torment or added  to it. But I have learned that information usually leads to compassion and understanding.

My elementary school years were tough, but I have no bitterness, it made me funny and resilient and kind in away nothing else could have.

Yes I have to do things a little differently, sometimes...but my life is a great one.

Thanks for the Flat Stanley, Claira. We're going on adventure this weekend, just for you. Love, Robin.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Sister Kramer: Where's My Car?!

this week was somethin else that is for sure we had two snow days you know there really isnt a lot you can do as a missionary when you are suck in side all day except maybe get cabin fever haha we got hit with 80cm of snow over night and the next morning it took us two hours to dig our car out!!! we couldnt even get it out ourselves some people stopped and help up it took four people pushing to get it to move just a cazy day!

this week we went on exchanges with our sister training leader who is sister b  by the way how do you and her mom know each other?? so she came to be with my compaion and i went to bridgewater to be with sister s we had a great time together we went to contact this referral on this farm and she gave us a tour she had just had 18 baby lambs and some beautiful horses it was great and then we were able to pick her up as a new investigator which was sweet :)

so i totally failed to tell you who my new companion is last week sorry :) so her name is Sister P she has been out for about 3months now and is from Spanish Fork utah :) shes pretty down to earth

love you guys 
sister kramer  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sorry, NO.

For the second Sunday in a row I was telling the same person that once again this week was too full to fit in one more thing...so, yeah no.

"Well it sounds like you need to re-evaluate your priorities", they rattled

I'm pretty sure they were trying to be funny, only I didn't laugh and had to turn away to hide my tears.

I miss the past sometimes. When our family could run at full speed, when saying yes was hardly ever a problem. When I never felt compelled to explain our circumstances or even had to.

I'm sure the  priority sheriff (I too, am trying to be funny :)) knows little to nothing about our family or our not always visible struggles. That stability is a tight rope act for us and  that every commitment we make comes with a price, we cannot always afford to pay. They simply don't know and I couldn't find the words to explain. Someday, as life has a longer opportunity to teach them, they will learn to understand the hurt, pain, fear and sorrow that are often hidden in a "no" and reach out to comfort instead.

We all need to say no sometimes and we all need to let others do the same.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

CP's a Witch.

{So I just realized that Cerebral Palsy awareness ribbons and Bipolar awareness ribbons are EXACTLY the same colour...yes my twisted sense of humour finds this hilarious, another reason the Super hero and I are a perfect match. :) }

My legs and feet are betraying me at the moment. I have never had a day when they didn't hurt in some way, but the last two days the muscle spasms are relentless....Cerebral Palsy is a bwitch once in a while....

Spending hours on a ladder Monday finishing the kitchen, pushed my poor feet and legs over the edge. Usually I can tune the pain and muscle tightness and spasms out, but today no matter what I do, I feel like my legs are ninety something....

It's funny how quickly pain and discomfort  takes me to a place of pity. I laid in bed last night, first I was thinking about how much I hurt and the next thing I knew my brain had taken me on my own personal tour of everything wrong in my life. Instantly I was feeling like the worst wife, mother, friend, person ever. Satan sure knows our weak spots and has no problem pointing them out to us.

I even told Heavenly Father that I was sick of life being so hard, in my less than sincere personal prayer...

I had been a jerk all day, no actually a JERK....so when superman crawled in bed I  totally expected the "I know your legs hurt, but..." lecture. Instead he just rubbed my feet  and said he was sorry it hurt so much. He's a good guy sometimes.

Today they still hurt but, I'm not angry about it. And today I don't feel picked on. I guess I just need to slow down for a day or so and be patient with this less than perfect body of mine.

Monday, March 16, 2015

I'm Finished! (the KITCHEN)

It all started because our archaic wall oven was dying and would only bake at TWO temperatures, 300 or 500...so we went looking and discovered wall ovens are ridiculously expensive...

We realized we could replace the wall oven and countertop stove top, with a range and add a dishwasher (which we did not have) with the electrical work needed for the SAME price as replacing just the wall oven....

Simple enough right???

Well taking out the stovetop meant a giant hole in the counter, so then we decided to redo the countertop, using 2x10 lumber.

I always planned on painting the cupboards someday...but once we removed the wall oven I realized the painting couldn't wait....

This counter opposite the sink was 6 inches lower than standard, with an even lower desk at the end, so we decided to add drawers and raise the counter to a proper height, continuing the cupboards were the desk was, creating a pull out, garbage and recycling bin....
It took forever and we made lots of mistakes, the worst, Never ever think you can short cut on paint...the white doors had to be redone after the first attempt peeled immediately...adding an extra week of stripping, sanding and painting....it takes two coats of primer and 3 to 4 coats of paint to get the right finish.

-Countertops cost less than $200 

-we got all the hardware at the Restore and reused the original hinges, painting them all with a matte black $25

-we reused the cabinets we ripped out with the wall oven to rebuild the configuration we needed, picking up plywood from the restore for a few dollars as needed.

-back splash is tongue and groove pine, tile wasn't budget friendly

The white sink was a display model for $95

Tap from Costco $100

I'm sure we spent over 400 man hours as a family, finishing every detail, every kid is now a proficient painter and Dallyn built cabinets and even wired in the vent hood, while texting grant pics, from the attic  to make sure he had done it correctly :)

Way more work than we thought, but it was well worth it.

I love it!

Sister Kramer: Sackville

hey everyone,

things here are great there is way less snow her then P.E.I. which is great because i have come to know that i am not made for the snow. it is cold and it sticks to everything and is too much white stuff for one person and i think that it is very unnatural for it to snow in march like arent we suppose to have flowers in bloom and the sun shining im just saying!

yep i am back in nova scotia :) it is nice here in sackville most people call it sackvages because it is suppose to be a money town but i dont know.

i was reading a talk in my studies the other day called "perfection pending" by Russell M. Nelson (great talk i would hope that you would read it ) it spoke in there of two kinds of perfection the first being mortal perfection -- there vare things that we can be perfect in like the word of wisdon or paying our tithing but in this life we will not be perfect in all things and then there is eternal perfection and this only happens after the resurrection when we are literally made like god or perfect. it also talks about how the greek word for perfect is telios which means finished or end so god does not expect us to be perfect ....when Jesus Christ asks us to be perfect even as your father which is in heaven he is asking us to become perfect not to be perfect this only come once we are resurrected :)

love you guys 
sister kramer

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Camp :)

"They know you HATE camping, right???" Kelli says, not skipping a beat, when I told her I got a call from the Stake Presidency. 

Yes!!! But I LOVE the Young Women and Girls Camp is different.

They asked if I'd be the Stake YW Camp Director, I was a wee bit surprised, but I said yes, happily.

So yeah, it's true, I'm not really the camping type, my idea of camping is a Motel 6 with a bunch of trees around it. But some of my sweetest memories have been at girls camp, as a youth and as a leader....

Sleeping in a Teepee 
Repelling down a 60ft tower at camp Impeeza.
Sunrise devotional at Sprout Lake.
Grizzly Bears on the Kimpbell River.
All the youth singing the Army of Helaman at Moroni's quest.
Drinking contraband Dr. Pepper in paper bags around the campfire 
Having a bowl of salad dumped over my head by an annoyed Laurel
Welcoming the youth off the Train, when they finished Trek.
The bear phobia freakout
A Weckesser campfire sing along.
When they treated to send me home 15 minutes in my last year as a YW.
Watching seven brides for seven brothers.
Listening to a YW bear her testimony that at school she had been picked on, but at camp she was safe and loved.

I could go on forever......
I asked last week for others favourite camp memories and a friend from my time in Lethbridge reminded me of something I had completely forgot....

My best camp memory includes you, your sister, your mom and the big blue van! We were camping out at elkwater and it rained and rained and rained. Your mom loaded up the van and took us into town to dry our clothes at the laundromat. We played monopoly half naked in the van until our clothes were dry. Over the years I've often thought about that camp and how strong of a woman your mom was to do what she did. I'm sure I never thanked her but I wish I had.

I hadn't remembered that, until now. Girls camp is a very special thing. I just hope that our girls can come away from camp this summer with the same sweet memories.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sister Kramer: And Back to Nova Scotia

so i am being transferred this week i will being serving in Sackville Nova Scotia :) i am pretty excited :)
on of my favourite scriptures this week well really for this month Answers the question "why do bad things happen to good people" the scripture is found Alma 14: 9-11 

9 And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek,and carried them forth to the place of martyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire.
10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.
11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.  

love you guys 
Sister kramer

Sunday, March 8, 2015

I am not BRAVE.

You are SO BRAVE.
Those words actually hurt.
Yes I have a Bipolar husband, but I am not BRAVE for staying married to him.
{ Would you tell someone that they were brave for continuing a relationship if their spouse had a physical illness?? }
Our marriage is an act of love and integrity, not bravery. Illness can be heartbreaking, our marriage is not. Superman is my greatest blessing.
Sure last week was a difficult one....
The paint we were promised to work, peeled instantly, requiring hours and hours and hours of extra stripping, scraping, sanding and starting over....
Superman lost it, unable to handle the frustration, for days we stumbled closer and closer to mania. I hate days like this...words of anger, frustration and heartache flew as we scraped those damn doors and I did the only thing I could, I cried. Bitter tears. His words meant nothing. For me, the sorrow came from watching an illness that has the ability to bring us to our knees, unprovoked and uninvited, rage in my sweetheart.
We never know when days like this come how long they will last...the unknown is the hardest part.
Last week I prayed... a lot. When so few understand the true nature of our challenges, I know He does. So many times when we have had no idea what to do next, those answers have come.... You got this...I will help you both...
So please don't tell me I'm BRAVE, well unless you see me sky diving or bungee jumping.
Just tell me you love me. Yeah an I love you is always good.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Geriatric Mean Girls

We grabbed a quick bite at McDonalds (don't judge, I know you eat there too) while it was determined that Man-child's brand new malfunctioning phone, was indeed possessed....

I'm neck deep in my big mac, when I notice an elderly woman (in her eighties) slowly sit down, alone at a table and move her walker out of the way. She looks up at the two woman (in their sixties) sitting at the table across from her and says in a friendly manner,

 "Hey I haven't seen you in a long time."

The one sixty-something women, sets her coffee down glares at the eighty year old and says....

Can't you see I'M TALKING HERE!!!! and with an animated sigh, turns back to her conversation with the other sixty-something, turning her back completely to the eighty year old.

I nearly choke on my Big Mac.

What just happened here???

Is this some geriatric, mean girls reality show??? Has this senior citizen lost her mind??

Why on earth would you ever be so rude??? To an elderly woman no less.

I should have asked her, but I didn't. It bothers me that I didn't.

It costs nothing to be kind, even with those we might not like or understand or even with those who have a history of being unkind to us. Rudeness is never justified.

I will never understand what brings someone to such rudeness. I am sad for the eighty year old, but even more sad for the sixty-something, who must live in a very dark place to act so poorly.

Next time I will ask....

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sister Kramer: Walking Through Tunnels

hey mom,

thanks for the pictures :) i would love to see pictures of the house sometime :)

dont worry this week has been good for driving i didnt hit anything so we are doing good.
the snow has started to melt a bit but we are still walking through tunnels most of the time...and it is snowing  right now we are suppose to get about 3inches today so that will be fun
So this week we fasted as a Zone to help us find new investigators because it has been hard these last few weeks to find people so my companion and i have been praying a lot an last night we were able to have a lesson with on of the elders formers( a former is someone that was taught before but stopped meeting with the missionaries for whatever reason) and he is willing to meet with us and continue to learn...also we have 3-4 lessons set up this week that are potential investigators....I know that when we sacrifice the Lord turly does bless us :) it has been a great week 

love you all
sister kramer

Sunday, March 1, 2015

We Found a Place

We travel a lot for Church. Superman's stake callings take him Ward/branch conferences and speaking assignments several times a year and I'm usually a shameless tag along. Our stake boundaries are huge (159 km to the south of us and 254 km to the north, a hour and a half ferry ride to the east and 100 km to the west) 

We used to live in a place where, stake travel meant a few extra blocks to the stake centre....

Now it requires a full tank of gas, a sandwich or two and an extensive inspirational play list, with a few 80's rock ballads thrown in :) 

On a Saturday night recently, after a very long weekend, Superman wasn't  sure he could do another early morning, but after much guilt, I mean encouragement, from me, he said we would go...

But that Sunday he woke up, miserable and cranky...But after even more "encouragement"...Superman got ready just in time to make it down Island. Even with hymns playing in the background I knew he was rather annoyed with his persistently obnoxious eternal companion. ;). Luckily he had several kilometres to forgive me.

We walk in the chapel with just a few minutes to spare and don't notice the Stake President until he is sitting next to Grant on the pew. 

"Grant would you be willing to take a few minutes at the beginning of the meeting and bear your testimony?" 

Grant says yes and I burst out laughing (it's ok our SP has known us well for a long time). 

"A little payback for being cranky, eh sweetie?" 

Grant has a great love for the gospel and an intimate understanding of our Heavenly Father's love and compassion for each one of us. His testimony transcends his afflictions and it was wonderful to be reminded of that....

Later that day a Relief Society sister shared this...

She told of a time when having family prayer had caused great contention with another family member, to the point it was not appropriate to have it in her home. When her children asked what they would do she said with no anger or bitterness..... "that's ok, we will just find another place" and she took her kids to a small grove of trees on her property to pray each morning.

"We'll just find another place (or way)" I've thought much about that. How so many times we've met great challenges but found away to continue to live with our testimonies intact and a courage to keep moving forward. How even with Grants great struggles with mental health, HF has given him opportunities to serve where he is loved, respected and helped. That HF knows our struggles and will always help us find a place.

These Sundays are such a blessing to our lives.