Thursday, November 4, 2010

# 4 ~ Family

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Today I want to share how grateful I am for family. Let me introduce you to my family in the photo above. In the main portion of this photo are: my parents, 6 of my brothers and my 3 sisters, my brothers and sisters spouses (who I also considered my brothers and sisters), my nieces and nephews, my son, and me. In the bottom right corner of this photo are: my brother who passed away, my husband who passed away, my nephew who is serving a mission for our church, and then my niece and nephews who were born since this photo was taken this year in June 2010. This is my family.

Now let me tell a portion of why I am grateful for them all...

My family will do anything for each other. If a family member is going through something tough, the rest of the family rallies around that person or persons for as long as they need and try to figure out as a family what can be done to resolve the problem, or to help bear the trial.

We LOVE each others' company. We can sit around as a family for hours talking about nothing or everything and not get bored. The kids play while the grown ups chat. It is so much fun. The bonds we have with each other are strong and the experiences that have strengthened us as a family are many. My family has experienced tragedy and heartache and come out stronger and tighter. I think what has made our bond so strong is being able to laugh together and cry together and really talk about important issues that face each of us. When my brothers passed away, instead of letting the tragedy get the better of us, we pulled together as a family and became closer. To this day, if anyone hangs up the phone with a family member or is leaving somewhere, we all say 'Bye, Love Ya'. If I ever hang up the phone and I have forgotten to say it, I usually will call them back and tell them. It just doesn't feel right to not say it. My family is generous, kind, loving, supportive, faithful, willing to help with anything, giving, truly a blessing in my life.

In the early years of my family, we lived on several different farms, out in the country. So, since neighbors were not so very close, we all relied on each other for our fun. We were all best friends and got quite creative in how we chose to entertain ourselves. As we got older and moved to a place where neighbors were close and we were no longer out in the country, we were still all best friends. It has never changed.

Growing up with seven brothers was a hoot. There were times in my life when gaining the respect of them was super important. I would always try to show how tough I was. I always felt like I had to prove that I was as tough as they were, do what they were doing, be involved in the rough housing because I wanted to impress them. Indian leg wrestling, arm wrestling, throwing the football around, sports, bloody knuckles, etc. But when it came right down to it... I was a girl and also loved to do girly things as well.

Growing up with three sisters was such a blessing. They are all older than me and have been such wonderful examples of what kind of woman I want to be. They are there to be a shoulder to cry on and also to give advice when I need it. They encouraged me when I was pregnant and helped me to know what to expect and how to prepare to be a mother. They are great examples of that. What great friends they are to me. The sisterly bond is an amazing thing.

All of my siblings have always cared for one another and have always been supportive and helpful to one another. All of my brothers and sisters are wonderful examples and I hope I follow in their footsteps as I try to become the person I want to be. I love them all and I am grateful for them.

My parents raised us to be loyal to one another, always having each other's backs if needs be in any given situation. They raised us to be supportive of each other, loving towards each other. My Dad worked hard so that my Mom could be at home with us kids, where she also worked hard. What a blessing it was to have a stay at home mom and a dad who wouldn't want it any other way. They raised us in a Christ centered home where daily family prayer, weekly family home evening, and daily family scripture study were observed. They took us to church every Sunday. They taught us that we are children of God and why we are here on this earth. They taught us the commandments of God and that we will be happier if we live by the laws that God has set for us so that we can be free. They also taught us to stand up for what we know to be right and not back down. My parents are also such great friends of mine and they are such wonderful examples of who I want to be and wonderful examples of faithful followers of Christ. I love them and I am grateful for them.

It has been a blessing that each of my siblings married people who have become such great friends to the rest of us. They are easy to get along with and I love them all like brothers and sisters of my own. I am grateful for the joy they bring to each of my siblings and for the partnership they have with them. They love our family and they just fit right in. They are all great examples as well of loving and kind people and I love them all and I am grateful for them all.

My nieces and nephews... I don't really have to explain why I love them. I am grateful for them and I love them all. They are the sons and daughters of my brothers and sisters... enough said.

I wanted to share a couple of funny things about my family. One is that if we are visiting as a family and one of us thinks another is wrong about something we are not shy to share with each other our opinions about why we think we are right and have a debate about it. Opinions are not scarce in our family... we were raised to have an opinion and share it if a time presents itself. When we debate, it is usually very lighthearted and fun... but once in a while, we debate a little more heatedly, but always with love behind it, of course. ;)
Another funny thing is this... our family loves music. We love singing, we love listening, we just love good music in general. Well, most people who get to know our family well come to find out that musicals are not that far fetched. Singing at the drop of a hat is not only unheard of in our family, but it is a normal and common thing. Without fail though, if someone is singing, chances are several or all will join in with all the harmonies we can muster. I think it catches most people off guard at first, but they get used to it. :)
Another thing that I love about my family is how funny they all are. We are all pretty sarcastic and we all just love to laugh with each other.

Its tough trying to sum up all the reasons I love and am grateful for my family... when you grow up with people and are around them your whole life, you can come up with millions of reasons why you love them... there are so many more, but it would take forever to share all of the reasons.

I will just share one more... when Aaron passed away, my family rallied around me and were there for me immediately and for as long as I needed them there. They were there to talk about their memories of Aaron and the reasons why they love him. They were there to listen to me hour after hour, day after day, as I sobbed and talked and sobbed and talked and tried to make sense of what had happened. They were there to reassure me and to help me try to understand the why's and the how's of it all. They were there to remind me to turn to the Lord and let Him help to carry my burden and heartache. They were my rocks. My supports. My family are all my greatest and most loyal friends in the world... and I love them all so much.

I love my family and I am so grateful that they are mine. I am blessed.

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This is Aaron's side of the family, so my second family. In this photo are: my parents in law, Aaron's brother and 2 sisters and their spouses (who I also consider to all be my brothers and sisters), my nieces and nephews, my son, and me. In the bottom right corner is again a photo of my husband, Aaron, who passed away. His smaller photo was taken 6 years ago on the same hike where the family photo was taken this year in May 2010.

Now I will tell a portion of why I am grateful for my second family...

This family is a family who loves one another and who love to be together for any occasion that they can find an excuse for. Sue really knows how to throw a party and have it be fun for all the kids and we are all amazed at how creative she is. They know how important family is and will do whatever it takes to make sure their family ties and bonds stay strong. This family has been put through heartache and sorrow in the past few years and continue to mourn the loss of Aaron... he is truly missed. They rallied around each other to bear one another's burdens and mourned together. I love how much they love Aaron because he is the person I love most. This family is generous, kind, willing to do whatever someone needs, giving, supportive, and a blessing in my life.

I am so grateful for those in this family who have rallied around me and become such great friends who I can talk to and laugh with and cry with. If I ever need to talk about Aaron and feel like I need to hear memories or stories about his childhood or just talk about my memories, I know I can always turn to this family and no matter what they are always happy to talk about Aaron.

I love this family as well and I am grateful for them. I am blessed.

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The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Exerpt: THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

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This YouTube video sums it all up. The group ROOTS singing their song 'Lovely Love My Family' on 'Yo Gabba Gabba'. Its an awesome song. Listen to the words.

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Kristi said...

So I think I missed what the numbering is all about - things you are grateful for? They have all been so lovely to read. Thanks for sharing. Gratitude is an amazing thing that can work in all of us. I am glad you are spreading it around.

Lisa said...

thanks for your kind words. you really do have a testimony of family that is so strong. i loved your references to the debating & singing too...those are good times.