Thursday, September 10, 2009

Family Rocks!!

I've been reading The Promised Land Series by David Woolley. I am currently on Book 3 which is called Place of Refuge. It is a historical fiction book based in Nephi's time. While it is sometimes a tiny bit clumsy in the writing it is FABULOUS to get some possible insight to the characters in the beginning of the Book of Mormon. I love the portrayal of Laban, Lehi, and Sariah (Nephi is only now being developed - I'm sure I will love it as his character is brought more into the spotlight) Anyway, at one point in the book when Lehi and his family are hiding in the desert to escape those who want to kill them. Sariah is sick but she makes sure Lehi has the time to keep his records. She says, "You have more important things to see to than the comfort of an old woman." It also talks about the "writing box" that they brought into the wilderness. It was big enough and heavy enough to have been bags of wheat or barley. But Sariah never complained because the box was more valuable than a whole storehouse full of grain. This got me to thinking about my record keeping. I have clearly not been very good at it. But there are many important thing (and maybe some not so important) that I would like my posterity to read and remember. And if I don't do it more regularly, I will forget the details of these events and way of life.

One of the most important events of this summer (and basically my whole life) was 2nd official Lindsey Family Reunion.

At this point I don't want to record a play by play description of all our activities, but rather the feeling I have toward my family.

I do have to start off with saying though that it was a super organized and fun filled event. My sisters and brother are fun, funny and very awesome. My parents are so involved and such good examples of having a good time. And I am going to post pictures of some of our activities. But for anyone reading this I want to express first and foremost how I feel about family.

Dad - Interested. He is very interested in what everyone else is interested in. All the way from his sons in law to his tiniest grandchild. He's very patient and will serve you at the drop of a hat.

Mom - Highly organized. She may not think this is all that special, but she thinks things through, makes sure things are done, and makes any family gathering special because things are in order. She is NOT pushy however and is adaptable and flexible and does not get her feelings hurt if things don't go how she plans. Her number 1 priority is to make sure everyone is having a good time and building good family connections. She is so non-judgemental and very accepting of others. Such a good example of a Christlike person.

Derek (brother) - Good Natured. Doesn't get ruffled. Does what it takes to be a good dad. Involved. Likes to sit and talk to his sisters (this is truly amazing). He also likes sports, tossing a ball and involving himself in activities. Such a good mix of skills.

Marsha (Derek's Wife) - Thoughtful. Always makes sure everyone feels included and important. Knows how to keep a conversation from dying. Asks interesting questions. Keeps on going and being positive even when things are hard.

Kristen (sister #1) - She, like mom, is non-judgemental. I so appreciate her acceptance of me no matter how different we are. We are pretty much polar opposites, which used to be a wedge between us when we were growing up, but thanks to her low key acceptance we relate to each other on a whole new plane. She is a great mom and a super good example of how to treat your spouse and children.

Kyle (Kristen's Husband) - Knowledgeable. Studies and reads and takes time to figure things out. It's like he keeps the virtues of the past alive in taking time to slow things down and read or study. Don't get me wrong, he knows the computer and knows how to use it.

Karen (sister #2) - Dedicated. She has had some hard things in her life, but she just goes on and makes the best of it. She knows what she wants and what is best for her an her family, she makes it happen. I appreciate her candor and know she will always tell me the truth.

Steve S. (Karen's Husband) - Chill. This is why he's going to make a good doctor. He just chills and takes the time to say it right. He's very calm, and quite funny. I love that he is married to one of the more "anxious" Lindseys, they make THE cutest little family.

Suzie (sister #3) - Sparkly. I know, funny word. But that's the perfect word for her eyes. She always makes me feel important and like she wants me around. She says things like "... oh, yes, come with me." She does this while gently pulling my arm and smiling . It makes me feel like I make her day complete. She is super patient, yet persistent. She is a calming influence.

Michael (Suzie's Husband) Happy. I just feel like I can count on Michael if I need to laugh. I'm not saying he's a comedian, but he is happy. He's not afraid to laugh out loud at the TV or something that's going on. He gets a kick out of things. He lets me give him a hard time and he says things like they are, which is often funny in my opinion. But he is an analyzer too, it's a good marriage of traits to be able to appreciate life without analyzing your self right out of a good time.

Janet (sister #4) Friendly. Janet knows how to make any one feel like her favorite. I could guess that I'm her favorite sister, but I know everyone feels that they're the favorite. She is cheerful and positive and leads an interesting and social life.

Steve T (Janet's Husband) - Cool. Not only is he "Joe Cool" but he is a cool head. He doesn't let things bug him. He smiles a lot and just "takes it". I don't know how to explain it, he just shakes his head and smiles.

Shannon (sister #5) Knows how to have a good time. Realizes the importance of family and friends. Always positive even if she's not in the best situation. Until I hear the story behind the story I usually think she LOVES everything and everybody. She's kind and sympathetic and then goes out for a party. My kind of girl!

Aaron (Shannon's Husband) - Fearless. He goes for it. Whether we're talking sports or the business world. He takes the bull by the horns and just does it. He's wise and thoughtful and able to turn to better solutions if what is happening isn't working for him.

Brad (Stefani's Husband) - Funny. He sees what happens to him and around him as funny. Instead of getting annoyed he sees it as funny or a challenge. I would also say tenacious, he takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. LOVE that guy!

Wow, that is only 1/2 the family. I'll have to cover the kids in another post. I am just thrilled that all of my awesome siblings have brought such wonderful, admirable, trustworthy and fun people into the family. What are the odds? And I'm happy to report that their kids are equally wonderful, admirable and trustworthy. Right now I have 19 Lindsey nieces and nephews. I love them all and I'm totally impressed with each kids unique talents, personality and nature.

Now, I have to add 3 more honorary Lindseys to my list. These are the Deardens. Sharon is my mom's sister. She married Grant Dearden. They have 6 kids most of whom are grown and out of the house, but they did bring their youngest son Jay with them and came and "crashed" our family reunion. Naw, that's not true at all they were invited and received with open arms. We love the Deardens and have a special bond with them. They used to live across the street from us when I was a teenager. Words can't express how I feel about them, but I'm gonna try.

Sharon - Genuine. Sharon is one of the defining influences in my life. I've always wanted to grow up to to be just like her. She makes you feel cool. She is open and genuine with compliments and smiles. Everyone loves her. I would be surprised if there is anyone who doesn't like her. She is talented, helpful, positive, happy, and knows how to raise a good family. I went on a mission, largely in part, because she did.

Grant - Good conversationalist. The author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie says that " interesting conversationalist hardly says anything at all. Interesting conversationalists listen intently, they listen because they are genuinely interested. That kind of listening is one of the highest compliments we can pay anyone. To be a good listener you need to be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise." This is exactly what Uncle Grant does. He's genuinely interested and makes anyone feel loved. His sense of humor and ability to laugh at himself helps too.

Jay - Unafraid. He came from Utah, doesn't know the Lindsey cousins all that well, but fit right in and didn't "whimp-out" on things because I felt awkward or unfamiliar with us. He got right in there, participated, and had a great time! True to form for a Dearden.

We held our reunion this year at Asilomar State Beach and Conference Facilities. It was an amazing place, right on the beach, with individual rooms for each family and 3 meals a day provided. They even made us boxed lunches for days we would be off campus.

(from left to right, - back row - Suzie, Stef, Kris, Derek, -front row - Karen, Janet, Shannon)

We built sand castles, did treasure hunts, geo-cashing, learned about the missionaries (past and future) in our family. We had family trivia. We had a talent show and a dance. We went to the Pinnacles, Big Sur, Monterey, Dennis the Menace Park. We went paddle boating, did karaoke and had tailored activities for each age group. The adults (minus Grandpa and Grandma - who were helping some of the kids) had a great time learning funny things about each other and seeing who are really good liars. Fun times. We also sang traditional family songs like "Burglar Boy" and "Little Green Valley" (HERE is an awesome recording of this song, go listen, you will thank me) . And a new one, sung to the tune of "You Can Make a Pathway Bright" with everyone's names in the song.

Janet and Steve designed and had printed awesome matching t-shirts commemorating our time together. They came out so cute and we all looked awesome in them (as you can see by the photo above)!

Annette Dickson drove all the way out to us to help us get a good family picture. We had success in that department. Even the little kids cooperated (mostly;) These pictures will live long into the future. Thanks Annette, you are a true friend.

Life could not be better! My family is amazing and they make me want to be a better person. Thank you all! I LOVE YOU!!

And one parting comment....all I have to say is,

Ok, and one parting shot. Lest ye think we are perfect (ya, not much fear of that) this will squelch any such inclinations. Oh ya, except mom... she IS perfect!!


Jennifer Miller said...

Loved learning more about your family! Thanks for sharing. And I totally agree with all you said about each.

Shannon B said...

THE CUTEST most genuine post! LOVED reading it. Someone needs to write something about you...maybe I will do it on my blog. And DOES rock! Especially ours!!!!!!

Kris said...

Great post Stef! Thanks for sharing! YOu are awesome!

karensumpter said...

Holy got everyone spot-on!! I loved reading it:)

Jonathon and Sarah said...

Ah, this was such a good post. You will be so happy that you recorded it. I LOVED the Youtube video of Little Green Valley. I have never heard an actual recording before. Thanks for sharing.

Lindseys said...

Great post, Stef. The reunion was a blast! At the end of the summer I asked all of the kids separately what their favorite thing from the summer was. Without hesitation, they all said that it was the reunion.

Marsha made the comment before the reunion that, "missing the reunion would be like missing the Second Coming." Maybe not quite, but it's up there.

Thanks for the post.

Joe and Julie said...

Loved your blog entry. Yes, that was THE highlight of our summer. Good to associate with all of our family at the same time.

Janet said...

LOVED IT! thanks for letting me relive the blast of a lifetime! it seemed so distant with school starting and the monotony of days... but this brought it to the forefront of my mind and also spoke to the reason we all had so much fun... each other! it wouldn't have been the same if just one person was missing! thank stef... you're the best!

Stimpsons said...

Wow, I cried my way through your post. I couldn't have thought or said any of this better myself but I feel exactly the same way.

You have a gift for puting feelings into words!!!! Thanks for sharing.


annette said...

Yes, your family is pretty near perfect, I have to say. I just love them all, and especially my dear friend Stef! What a thoughtful post. Loved it!!!