Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Yearbook Lane.

Every year on or near our birthday, there is a picture posting war of sorts...Except its clearly one sided and strategically unfair since 95 percent of our childhood pictures are in Kelli's possession. And she takes great GLEE in humiliating me to celebrate our entrance into this crazy world...

But I have discovered our yearbooks.... Oh. My. Goodness....

I was going to so make fun of Kelli here...but other than her 2nd Grade "Pioneer Mug Shot" photo, and Grade 8 photos where we were clearly attacked by the poodle perm....I got nothing on her, d#$% it!!!!!
2nd Grade

4th Grade
5th Grade
My trip down yearbook lane, made me laugh some, but it actually made me sad too....Gosh, Elementary school was tough on both of us. We were teased and tormented relentlessly those years and its funny how that's not something you forget... 
Canada was our saving grace, after leaving California we were never teased again by anyone....although those years were clearly my NERDIEST....
Grade 8
Grade 9
Grade 10- OK,What was I thinking???? 
Grade 12
 So I'm sure Kelli will yet again win, this year's war...but I will always have her "Pioneer Mug Shot".... Won't I, Kelli?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sister Kramer: We Can Give

{Nice cake and FACE :) }

i wasn't able to watch the womens session because it starts at 9:30 at night here so they are re-playing it this week and making it a RS night.
all the sessions are a lot later here conference doesn't start til 1:30pm

I was wondering if you could send me my flight plans because they dont send them to us only to the parents?

Happy Birthday!! who do you feel about turning 41 this week?? your moving up in the world!
This week I have been studying How i can be a better example through service and the talk  "are we not all baggers" by Jeffery R. Holland 
He pays tribute to President Thomas S. Monson when he says "And the image of him I will cherish until I die is of him flying home from then economically devastated Germany in his house slippers because he had given away not only his second suit and his extra shirts but the very shoes from of his feet! 'how beautiful upon the mountains (and shuffling through an airline terminal) are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings"  
I love how this show that no matter who we are where we are or what circumstances we face we can give,

love you guys
Sister Kramer 

Sister Kramer: Talk of Home

{Sometimes knocking is HARD!!!}

Here is my plan for coming home...i would like to have a job before the end of the year hopefully at a bakery like Costco or QF something along those lines and my mission president doesnt want us to apply for jobs on our mission so i was wondering if you and dad could start that around the end of October....then i was hoping around march to take some upgrading classes and a illustration course and then next September to head to Edmonton because they have a good culinary school there. yeah that's my plan

once there was a very wise king and a very young man. One day the king asked the young man to push against a large boulder that was positioned in the middle of the road. the young man was pleased to be asked to such an important task. Determined to move the boulder out of the way he pushed and pushed. the man pushed for days, yet he could not even budge the boulder. soon the king returned to check on the young man's progress. frustrated the young man exclaimed that he could not move the boulder, and he did not know why the king had asked him to such a task. the king smiled and reminded the man that he had not asked him to move the boulder out of the path. he simply asked him to push against the boulder. then he pointed out to the man how strong he had become physically because of his efforts. his arms, back, and legs had developed strong muscles because of all the pushing he had done. the king simply wanted the young man to become stronger so that he would be able to complete more important tasks in the future.

 At times we may not understand why Heavenly Father has asked us to do things that are hard and sometimes we feel that we will never be able to complete what He has asked but God understands who he wants us to become and he simply gives us things to make us stronger for things to come.

Phil: 4: 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

love you guys
Sister Kramer

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Merry-Happy Whatever.

This card came in the mail this week, but it had nothing to do with Christmas.
First it made me laugh out loud and then it made me cry some.
This card was from Kelli and contained a money order, the last few dollars from my Dad's accounts that she was finally able to close...
Kelli's card choice fitting,  as my Dad could never quite match the appropriate holiday with the appropriate card choice.

We'd get Christmas cards for birthdays....(like here Holiday Mix-up) But I think the most hilarious was getting a ridiculously romantic Valentine's Day card, for Mother's Day. At first we thought it was just our silly Dad being eccentric, but sadly that it wasn't that at all. Dad's mind was betraying him.

We have spent the last eleven years settling the earthly affairs of our parents. A constant reminder of their difficult lives and tragic deaths. And now an end has finally come. With  peace and still some sorrow sometimes we continue forward, grateful they were our parents and thankful for the lessons they taught us.

So the card tradition continues in Dad's honour. Weird maybe but when you're a Merrill, a Christmas card, in September is D@#$  funny.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I'll Take Them

You know those self absorbed, self centred, selfie obsessed teenagers, well guess what, a lot of the time they're NOT any of those things. Teenagers are awesome and sometimes they do really amazing things.

I was in the middle of cleaning this morning (always remember I clean when I am frustrated :))

 Maddie came home quickly to say hi and drop some stuff off.

Maddie: Hey Mom how come the kids didn't get to seminary this morning?  

Me: Dad wasn't able to take them.  I didn't have to explain the reasons.

Maddie: Well then I'll take them.

(which means a 100 km round trip for her almost every morning and getting up before 6 am)

Me: Maddie I can't ask you to do that,

Maddie: You didn't. I want too.

Me: Why do you care so much about Seminary for your brother and sister?

Maddie: Because Mom, I know how much seminary helped me.....I'll do it until things settle down for Dad, no worries

I hugged her and told her I loved her as she left...

I then sat and let the tears flow.

Sometimes my rotten, ungrateful teenagers answer my prayers. I love that Maddie of mine. Thank you.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Magical Parenting

Have you ever wished one of your off spring would suddenly fall down a flight of stairs???

 If not, then clearly your off spring haven't reached the magical teenage years yet?!?! Lucky you.

Dallyn had been in the door from school for less than 7 minutes and had already methodically dropped his back pack, jacket, shoes and socks individually from the back door to his room upstairs , complained that there were no food (translation: we're out of  pizza pops) and scrapped with his sister over headphones...

My,"Dallyn, please go clean the rec room" was instantly met with an eye-roll-shoulder-shrug-long-sigh worthy of an Oscar nod.

And yup, right then, from my comfy living room chair, I had this undeniable wish that said child would magically fall down the stairs he was standing at the top of.

Okay so he didn't fall...and I'm a bad parent, but as we locked eyes,  he raced down the stairs unsure whether I would pursue... I was too lazy comfortable to move. But I did hear disgruntled house cleaning (you know, dishes clanging, heavy walking and doors slamming) commencing down stairs.

Yay me, for the win. Parenting is my favourite.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Where's Our Stupid Casserole?

We deal with an illness every single day...but it's not the kind people bring casseroles for. No... they don't send get well soon cards or balloon bouquets and the phone rarely rings asking how thing really are....

But I guess most people never have to sit in a psychiatrist's office, like us. Most people don't hear the brutal honesty of a doctors words or the choices we are forced to make because of them. The reality of the burden we carry clearer than I'd like.

People don't understand our need to cancel plans or stick to a schedule or our inability to commit or how even a minor change in schedule affects us...We are even met with the "Think of the blessing you are missing out on." when we try to explain,  or my favourite "You know how blessed you'll be if you just do it."

But for most people an hour of missed sleep or an extra engagement or a slight disagreement, only requires an extra  Dr. Pepper or a quick cat nap and maybe a cupcake...

But for us it sometimes means a never ending bungee jump, for days or weeks or longer....up, down, up, down...

The last two weeks have been that never ending jump...yesterday was calmer, but I still feel like I just stepped off the GRAVITRON (does that ride even exist anymore?)....

I feel exhausted, lonely and maybe even a little bitter (I know I shouldn't). "Where's our stupid casserole?" played on repeat in my mind the last few days...If the diagnosis were any other...somebody would have brought a casserole by now.

Okay so we don't really NEED a casserole and most of the time I don't even know what we need....but please listen with your heart, instead of your ears when anyone says no.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sister Kramer: Paper Dresses and Service

 This we was great we are in grandfalls right now doing some work up here and today we will be traveling to St. Johns for another zone conference with a member of the seventy which will be pretty amazing!

 you can paint my room grey like what holly had in the old house!

Also this we we got to take part in the relay for life it was pretty cool! they had a contest to see who could make the best paper dress! lets just say that we rocked it! 

This week i have been thinking a lot about service and how it is a benefit to those we serve but also more so to us. D&C 81:5 
Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.

there is a quote by Thomas S. Monson that i love that really goes along with this

"There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save. Are we doing all we should." 

I love that our church is centered in serving our fellow man for truly when we are is the service of others we are in the service of our God!

There is a great mormon message called lift that i encourage you to watch :)

love you guys
Sister Kramer

Sister Kramer: Dandelions

This week was great! we traveled to gander which it 4 hours away and had zone conference which was amazing after we and personal interviews with our mission president which was really good.

in the talk Lord is it I? by detier f uchtdorf. he gives this story. 

A Parable of Dandelions
Once there was a man who enjoyed taking evening walks around his neighbourhood. He particularly looked forward to walking past his neighbours house. This neighbour kept his lawn perfectly manicured, flowers always in bloom, the trees healthy and shady. It was obvious that the neighbour made every effort to have a beautiful lawn.

But one day as the man was walking past his neighbours house, he noticed in the middle of this beautiful lawn a single, enormous, yellow dandelion weed.

It looked so out of place that it surprised him. Why didn't his neighbour pull it out? Couldn't he see it? Didn't he know that the dandelion could cast seeds that could give root to dozens of additional weeds?

This solitary dandelion bothered him beyond description, and he wanted to do something about it. Should he just pluck it out? Or spray it with weed killer? Perhaps if he went under cover of night, he could remove it secretly.

These thoughts totally occupied his mind as he walked toward his own home. He entered his house without even glancing at his own front yard—which was blanketed with hundreds of yellow dandelions.
  He also states in his talk " we must put aside our pride, see beyond our vanity, and in humility ask "lord is it i"
throughout my mission i have loved to study humility and there is a quote that i always turn to i am not sure who it is by
" When we do it our way nothing will ever go permanently right but when we do it Gods way nothing wil ever go permanently wrong."

love you guys
Sister kramer 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

LAMEST ever!

So this scrolled across my phone a few days ago....
Dear Robin,
 how do you do it? ...... I have kept my chin up, said my prayers, fasted and prayed. But some days like today having a spouse with a lifetime illness has pushed the edge. I feel like Just hang in there is a super lame answer, ......So how does one keep just going, when sometimes it just plain stinks?
It does suck!!! Way more often than we honestly answer began....
Funny thing...that message came at the end off the worst week I've had in ages "doing it"...
Most of the time I graciously accept the trails we have been given, last week was not the case... Last week I was hating life...

"It's like you expect me to wake up tomorrow and not be bipolar anymore?" Not really, but some days, I wish it could happen....

Just because our struggle isn't public or you don't notice it, does not mean its not happening....

I had prayed and prayed and then reached out for help and comfort, but that ended in add heartache....
 Yes I am sensitive and I know I get hurt, easily. But when you walk this road, sensitivity happens...

So how do I do it?  Some weeks I don't. Sometimes I just go through the motions, sometimes I am bitter and anger and tired...and sometimes I'm alright with it all.

So I would NEVER say to anyone "JUST HANG IN THERE" because that is indeed, the LAMEST response ever...{its like saying, NO you just stay over there and struggle all by yourself, and let me know when you're finished, cause like I don't want to get any of that stuff on me?!?!}

I would say...

You can cry on my shoulder...
Your feelings (good or bad) are safe here.
You are loved and prayed for.
You and your struggle are not forgotten.
I am here for you until...

So how do we do it....kind people...
Oh and curse words and counselling. :)

Sister Kramer: I'm BACK! (NFLD)


I'M BACK BABY!!! oh it is good to be in newfoundland again...the change was a bit hard because i closed my last area for sister missionaries but i know that the Lord needs me here so i am excited to be back on the rock! things are a bit different on this side of the island but it is good!

My new companion is sister f she is from utah and this is her last transfer! crazy.

these last few week i have been studying about repentance and improvement it started with a letter from my mission president to all the missionaries and he said something in there that really struck me...." we have the power to improve continuously, and are not required in the process to bear the burdens of previous mistakes." i love that; that conversion to this gospel is continuous that we can keep pressing forward with a steadfastness in Christ.... in mosiah 26: 30 it reads yea, and as often as my people repent will i forgive them their trespasses against me."
Christ wants us to improve and he is willing to forgive us no matter how many times we mess up. god has not asked us to come to this life to go through trails and temptations only so that we can carry the guilt of them around for the rest of our are that they might have joy...and true joy comes through repentance and improvement through the support of the atonement! 

love you guys!
Bailey's MTC district, together for the first time since the MTC