Friday, October 30, 2015

Compassion, Charity and Love {Grant's Talk}

Grant was asked to speak in our Ward last Sunday on "whatever he wanted to..."

He picked Compassion and Empathy....

{The day after , his talk, we sat in a doctors office and witnessed the same kind of compassion and empathy he had just spoken of the day before. Our grateful we are for those who show us constant compassion and empathy. We really are blessed.}

Compassion, Charity and Love:

David A Bednar
"Understanding that the Church is a learning laboratory helps us to prepare for and an inevitable reality. In some way and at some time, someone in this Church will do or say something that could be considered offensive. Such an event will surely happen to each and every one of us--and it certainly will occur more than once. Though people may not intend to injure or offend us, they nonetheless can be inconsiderate and tactless.
You and I cannot control the intentions or behaviour of other people. However, we determine how we will act.  Please remember that you and I are agents endowed with moral agency, and we can choose not to be offended.
One of the greatest indicators of our own spiritual maturity is revealed in how we respond to the weaknesses, the inexperience, and the potentially offensive actions of others. A thing, an event, or an expression may be offensive, but you and I can choose not to be offended."
This, however does not excuse ourselves from being rude, or judgemental towards others in situations we do not understand.

Thomas S Monson Said
"Let us not demean or belittle.  Rather, let us be compassionate and encouraging.  We must be careful that we do not destroy another person's confidence though careless words or actions."

CS Lewis wrote:  When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious is some sin against charity.  I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stomped and stormed.  And the excuse that immediately springs to mind is that the provocation against me was so sudden and unexpected: I was caught off my guard.  I had not time to collect myself.  On the other hand surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is.  Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the best truth…
If there were rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in suddenly.  But the suddenness did not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding.  In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill tempered man: it only shows me what an ill tempered man I am.

What does it mean to be Charitable or have compassion?

Maya Angelo said,
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will not forget how you made them feel.”

Jesus provided us many examples of compassionate concern. The crippled man at the pool of Bethesda; the woman taken in adultery; the woman at Jacob’s well; the daughter of Jairus; Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha—each represented a casualty on the Jericho road. Each needed help.
To the cripple at Bethesda, Jesus said, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” 4 To the sinful woman came the counsel, “Go, and sin no more.” To help her who came to draw water, He provided a well of water “springing up into everlasting life.” To the dead daughter of Jairus came the command, “Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.” To the entombed Lazarus, “Come forth.”

The Savior has always shown unlimited capacity for compassion.

On the American continent, Jesus appeared to a multitude and said:
“Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you. …
“… And he did heal them every

Sympathy and Empathy
Brene Brown  PhD researcher.

What is Empathy and Why is it very Different from Sympathy?

Empathy Fuels connection!

Sympathy Drives Disconnection!

Empathy is feeling with people.

I always think of empathy as this sacred space.  when someone is kind of in a deep hole and they shout out from the bottom,
 they say " I am stuck, it's dark down here, I'm overwhelmed."
and then we look and we say hey and climb down and say
 "I know what it's like down here, and you are not alone."

Sympathy is saying " ohh, its bad eh, ahh no I'm not coming down,  Wanna casserole."
Empathy is a choice.  And it's a vulnerable choice.  Because in order to connect with you I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling.

Rarely if ever does an empathic response begin with "at Least"  We do it all the time!  Because you know what,  somebody just shared something with us that is incredibly painful and we are trying to put a silverlining on it.

So someone says something like "I just had a miscarriage" the response is " at least you know you can get pregnant" or "I think my marriage is falling apart." "at least you had a marriage." or "John is getting kicked out of school." " Well at least Sally is an A student"

But one of the things we do sometimes in the face of very difficult conversations is we try to make things better.  

If I share something with you that is very difficult, I would rather you say "I don't even know what to say right now, I'm just glad you told me!"

Because the truth is rarely can  a response make something better.
What makes something better IS CONNECTION.

Empathy is when somebody hurts you and you try to understand their situation instead of trying to hurt them back.

Empathy is compassion.  We talk of charity as the pure love of Christ.  Christ was all about connecting with those he taught, but most of all to those he healed.  He went down to the lepper, he went down to the sick, the blind the infirm,  he connected with them and in his compassion he healed them.  The very essence of the atonement is about climbing down in that hole with someone and saying "I know what it is like down here and you are not alone."
D & C 88:6 "He that ascended up on high, also descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth.
D & C 122: 8  "The Son of Man hath descended below them all.  Art thou greater than he?"

James E Faust
"The Atonement not only benefits the sinner but also benefits those sinned against—that is, the victims. By forgiving “those who trespass against us” (JST, Matt. 6:13) the Atonement brings a measure of peace and comfort to those who have been innocently victimized by the sins of others. The basic source for the healing of the soul is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. "
"One of the most courageous decisions you'll ever make is to finally let go of what is hurting your heart and soul."

To take this to another level consider the reaction of men and women who have had conversion experiences.

After the remarkable transformation of the sons of Mosiah with Alma the Younger,  Their thoughts immediately turned to the Lamanites for they ``Could not bear that any human soul should perish`` Mosiah 28:3

And after Enos had prayed all night he ``Began to feel desire for the welfare of his brethren; wherefore he did pore out his whole soul unto god for them`` Enos1:9

For conversion to take its place in our lives we must come to perfect understanding of our relationship with Christ.  To be self loathing and deny ourselves our God given right to call upon the attonement is to deny Christ himself.  It is to deny his ministry and purpose.  If we fail to claim the mercy of the atonement it is to claim that the suffering in gasthemane and ultimately Christ's death were in vain.  Alma the younger gained this knowledge in a tremendous way with his experience as did Enos as he prayed day and night to be forgiven of his sins.  Though these were extreme experiences and our own can be a much slower process, we cannot deny ourselves the Mercy of Christ's sacrifice.  If we do we leave ourselves open to the justice of the Father and we will suffer for ourselves.

To be born again is to gain a deeper sensitivity, thus gaining godly attributes and qualities, experiencing the new birth entails feeling a deeper compassion for those who mourn or suffer or reach out for succor.

The question is, Can we change?
In order to change we need to understand Charity.  It is the greatest of all the spiritual gifts, but may be the most underestimated or least understood.  We tend to define charity as something we do or feel, but in our Heavenly Father`s vernacular, charity means much more.

Charity is not an emotion.  It is not something we feel or do.  Charity is who the Saviour is.  It is His most defining and Dominant attribute.  It is what enables him to endure the Garden and the cross for you and Me.

Charity is a bestowal, a gift from our Heavenly Father.  Mormon taught that we are ``to pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart`` that we may be ``filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of His Son, Jesus Christ.

So when we are praying or pleading for Charity we aren`t asking for good feelings and warm fuzzies for someone who bugs us or someone who has injured us.  We are praying for our very natures to be changed, for our character and dispositions to become more like the Saviour`s so we can feel as he would and do as he would.

That is why Mormon continued to teach us that when the Saviour appears those who have been gifted with charity ``shall  be like him, for they shall see him as he is``.
Joseph Smith taught that ``Love is one of the chief characteristics of diety, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the Sons and Daughters of God.

CS Lewis went on to say ``And If what we are matters even more than what we do- if indeed what we do matters chiefly as evidence of what we are- then it follows that the change which we most need to undergo is a change that my own direct, voluntary efforts cannot bring about…I cannot, by direct, moral effort, give myself new motives.  After the first few steps in the Christian life we realise that everything which  really needs to be done in our souls can be done by God alone.``
Again Charity is a bestowal from the Father to the true followers of his Son.  He and only he can change our hearts and our natures.

Moroni 7:45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Brene Brown
"So many of us are better at inflicting pain than we are at feeling it.  We push hurt onto others rather than turning toward it and feeling our way through the darkness.  It requires tremendous courage to get curios about our hurt and lean into it, but I believe in our collective ability to do it."

My prayer is that we may each seek after this gift of charity that we can become like the Saviour and take hold of one another and be kind and filled with love, that we might follow the Lords admonishment in D&C 84
106 And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also.
110 Also the body hath need of every member, that all may be edified together, that the system may be kept perfect.
Let us put aside our anger and strife that there may be no ITES among us that we would seek to be united in all things, That we may be ``the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God``4 Nephi 1:17
There is no way to overestimate the strength we can be to one another as our natures increase in Charity.

Jeffery R Holland
"Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed.  While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and Kind."

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sister Kramer: Be Happy


This week has been good but it went by so fast time just seems to be flying by! I am excited to come home my mission has meant the world to me and i am excited to share and apply all that i have learned!

this week i was reading in one of the ensigns about lasting happiness! what it means to be truly happy and it surprised me to know that there are people that study happiness for a living! they are called  "positive psychologist"  

in the article all that these researchers found out about truly happy people can and is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ! 
God wants us to be happy that is His goal for all of his children. "men are that they might have joy" and that's not just in the life to come. True happiness can be found in this life if we live the principles of the gospel of Jesus Chirst!

love you guys! see you soon 
Sister Kramer

Monday, October 26, 2015

Robin is "NORMAL"

 In the last few weeks I've been asked questions I couldn't answer, an odd feeling considering they were questions about me.

From the time I can remember it was something I was told never to talk about. "People won't understand you, they will judge you" Not even close family knew the secret. I thought everybody went to doctors and therapy every day of the week.  It was the 1970's and 80's and I guess times were different....but I have never understood my Mom's need to keep an obvious secret.

I have wanted more information about me and my diagnosis for a long time, but where would I find it when the only people with the answers are long dead and the medical records are two thousand miles away in a different country.

Last week after more questions I couldn't answer, I felt to look through some of my mom's personal papers again.

A beige binder labeled 4403- Developmental Disabilities in green sharpie. I've seen it before but this time I read the 30+ pages printed off an old dot matrix printer that were inside. My life story of sorts, written by my secret keeping mom as part of the completion of her special education diploma the year we came to live in to Canada in 1988. her words....

I was devastated, more by the not knowing than anything else. I remember my mother's advice as I stood sobbing over the crib, "Call the doctor. Tell him what you think, and see what he says. Whatever it is , once you know, you can begin to deal with it. " Funny now to realize that once we had a name we never told mother.

At seven weeks was the orthopedist was the first to confirm the diagnosis, at 9 months the pediatric ophthalmologist reaffirmed the diagnosis, approaching two the pediatrician reaffirmed the diagnosis and I began orthopedic, physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Would we label Robin for the world? What would happen in school? Would teachers use the label as an excuse for their failure to teach? We knew by know how teachable Robin was even though we could not anticipate where she would plateau. Would she be able to keep up?....
Distance from family and our jaded perspectives as high school teachers, coupled with past records of seeing others deal with their own children, played part in the decision to keep separate public life from medical life. No labelling... A decision not taken lightly. A decision that sometimes left us between a rock and a hard place. A decision that called upon our ingenuity. But a decision never regretted, never doubted. Those who had the knowledge and expertise to deal with Robin's needs would recognize and deal with them, label or not. Those who could not see the problems would only use the labels as an excuse. This was proven over and over. Our decision validated! The anonymity of a large metropolitan area facilitated the fa├žade.

Congenital spastic hemiparesis. CEREBRAL PALSY. Right side effected more than the left in a child that is right dominant. Nystagmus, Strabismus, Hyperopia (+5), Equino Varus (left foot), Valgus (right foot), Ataxia, speech involvement, fine and gross motor involvement, no protective defenses, estimated bright normal intelligence

I had to look up nearly every word as I read this. Big words for things I still live with every day.

The first three are vision issues and explain why I have no depth perception.

The next two are foot deformities caused by muscle contractures by ten my feet were pointed 45 degrees inward with my heal bones curved under. Major surgery released the contractures in my arch and took out the curve to the heal bones pinning them back into place.

Ataxia means lack of coordination, and explains my ease of falling and stumbling, and a bunch of other things.

The other four things are self explanatory.

I have gone through many emotions as I've read her words. Her justification of the secret keeping hurts more now than I imagined the truth would. Who was she protecting more me? or her? Fear and shame do funny things to people.

The secret didn't change my reality of cerebral palsy. It made things more difficult for me as a child...Imagine being shamed in front your entire class for peeing your pants for the third time that week by a teacher who didn't know. Or being more than a lap behind everyone on the track and being called lazy across the field. Or having to do an assignment over and over again because your penmanship is horrendous. Or being sent to detention because the muscle spasms in your feet and legs were so bad you couldn't stay still in your chair one more second.

  Mom went to great lengths to keep the secret. She hid my casts or orthotics in pictures. There are no pictures of me in a wheel chair, even though I spent two different school years in one. Therapy was accessed privately an hour away from our home in orange county. I was not allowed to participate in any resource services offered through the school.

Mom's words again....

CP is a life long condition. There are no cures, only coping strategies. For children like Robin, its implications will be different at times different times in their lives. And Robin will become aware of it in due time. She has learned to cope and all indications are, that she will be a normal teenager. One only needs to look at where Robin started to see how far see has come, to see the payoff for the tremendous investments...

To the unschooled eye Robin is "normal" -or should we say "without disabilities" And the implications of this are not lost.

There is gratitude for all the time and tenacity Mom poured into my treatment and care, the achievement in that will never be lost on me . The heartache for me comes in her need for a secret kept. We never talked about it. By the time I was old enough to know what questions to ask the answers were lost in her troubled mind.

CP still is an ever present friend. I am affected every single day with a body that doesn't always cooperate.

But the secret never needed keeping...and I never plan on achieving normal anyway.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Sister Kramer: Christian Service {PICTURES!!!!}

Hey mom so guess who i met on sunday! brother Nansen Smith small world!

This week has been an adventure! on monday one of the members took up around the bay to some of the small fishing towns and to a few of the beaches and look outs it was pretty amazing! 
This week i read the talk by elder Hales called "being a more christian christian"

He talks about how the savior asks all of us to "come follow me" and Elder Hales Speaks about how that means that we need to love, to have faith, to sacrifice, to be caring, to serve, to have patience, to feel peace, to have forgiveness, to have a conversion, and to have endurance to the end.
the one that i wanted to focus on was service!
"Christian service. Whether drawing water from a well, cooking a meal of fish, or washing dusty feet, the Savior spent His days serving others—lifting up the weary and strengthening the weak."
each of us can become more christian when we are in the service of others!

love you guys
Sister Kramer

P.S. See you all in a month!!! :D


Sister Kramer: Come What May (Oct 12)

yes i did get your package thank you!!

Since Conference i have been thinking a lot about the Talk "come what may and love it" by Joseph B. Wirthlin that was quoted in conference....

" The Lord in His wisdom does not shield anyone from grief or sadness."

"But whenever my steps led through seasons of sadness and sorrow, my mother’s words often came back to me: “Come what may, and love it.”

"How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can’t—at least not in the moment. I don’t think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don’t think she was suggesting that we smother unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness. But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life."

Somedays life can be hard but I know that if we have hope in the Lord things will be okay.
in Alma 34:41 we can find comfort in the Lords promise that all will be made right!

41 But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.

So let us all Come what may and love it

love you guys! 
Sister Kramer

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mission Accomplished--ALMOST :)

Today we received an email from Bailey's mission president. I am grateful for the experience of having a daughter serve a mission. It is a brave thing our missionaries do.  And I am now beyond ecstatic to see her return home.

We get our HUG in 32 days, but nobody is counting. ;)

Dear Brother & Sister Kramer,

Your daughter will soon be completing her missionary service in the Canada Halifax Mission. Her scheduled release date is 17 Nov 2015. Her dedicated labors have been a blessing to all who have worked with her.

Sister Kramer has been a hard-working, obedient missionary and returns home with a firm testimony of the restoration of the church in these the latter days, the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and the reality of the Savior and His atonement.  She has served in a number of leadership and training capacities in addition to her regular proselyting duties.

In her everyday service as a servant of the Lord, she has worked hard, been cooperative with companions, and obedient to mission rules. Our mission is an obedient, testifying and baptizing mission, and she has been a faithful contributor to that cause.

For this reason, her mission has prepared her to serve faithfully in the church in the future and will greatly assist her in making many of life's challenging decisions properly. She has contributed to the salvation of many souls and has changed lives because of her diligence and sacrifice.

We are always sad to see the missionaries go. We have come to love them and feel like we are losing our children when they leave. We love Sister Kramer and hate to see her leave, but we realize that it is time for her to move on to the next phase of her life.

Thank you for your loving support and sacrifices that have made her service possible.

President & Sister P

Mission accomplished--almost. :)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sister Kramer: Waiting

This week has been really good!  One of the ladies that i was working closely with in wolfville got baptized and they allowed me to skype into it, it was really amazing! conference was really good i loved their focus on the atonement and how to apply it more in our daily lives! also the focus on mothers :)

This week i have been studying a talk by Robert D. Hales "Waiting upon the Lord; Thy will be done.
He speaks of how when Joseph Smith was in prison and he crys out saying "O God, Where art thou?"
Elder Hales says "Wont all of us, sometime, have a reason to ask O God where are thou? Yes! When a spouse dies, a companion will wonder. When a financial hardship befalls a family a father will ask. When children wander a mother and father will cry out in sorrow yes, weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning" Then in the dawn of our increased faith and understanding we arise and choose to wait upon the Lord saying, Thy will be done."

We can take comfort in knowing that through the Lord all things will work out!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

What Matters Most

{Bailey's Blessing Day, 1995}

{I needed to write down the answer to a prayer that came today, so I can read this again when difficult days come again :)}

Even with snacks and bingo and soda and their favourite candy, crayons and notebooks, it was a Kramer gong show to keep the teenagers and a sleepy husband watching, listening to, sleeping through conference....

So why did we I just watch 10 hours of general conference...

My heart desperately needed help, hope and answers...

There was many awesome moments of conference that warmed my heart, but nothing that felt like the answer I was searching for....

Until the very last talk, of the very last session....

Elder Bednar, while spending a Sunday afternoon with Elder Robert D. Hales as he was recovering from a serious illness. At one point, he asked Elder Hales, "What lessons have you learned as you have grown older and been constrained by decreased physical capacity?"

"When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most."
There was my answer.
My mind flooded back over the last four years of struggle and uncertainty. So much for us has changed. We have had to give up so much, accepting that we not in control of our journey and that healing would not come in they way we had asked and prayed for...
But then my mind realized something.... not one blessings of the gospel has been taken away from us or changed. If nothing, our understanding of and gratitude for the blessings of the gospel continues to grow.
 We have clung to the knowledge that our Heavenly Father loves us and will help us, when nothing else could bring solace. We have felt our Heavenly Father's tremendous love for us as our dear friends have reached out to succour our weary hearts. We know more of the things that matter most because of the journey we have been asked to walk.
 So, no, we have not been robbed of a single blessing, we have been blessed beyond measure as we continue through this Refiner's Fire.
Only doing what matters most is such a blessing. How grateful I am for answered prayers.

{Holly's Baptism Day, April 2002}