i delight in family and history.

pearls of history 
(grandpa on the left, grandparents engagement photo in the middle and grandma on her tricycle on the right)
taken in the 1920s and 1940s
scanned by erin
Today was a really great day.  I put life together again in my room so I can stand living in it for however long I’m going to be here.  🙂  I live so much better in clean, tidy and organized space.  Now to keep it that way…again 🙂  I spent time with my Mom.  Revision: I spent a lot of time laughing with my Mom.  We laughed a lot today at my house: this morning at breakfast, this afternoon about “Mary Problems” and tonight about the funny things people say when they’re in denial about their life and circumstance (thank you dad, for sharing your experiences and for not making us share it firsthand with you).  I got to go bowling with my friends for the last time for a while (hello work starting next week!)  It’s always entertaining.  And it always reminds me that one day I will learn why people with down syndrome stutter so much more frequently than the general population. I voted. I went to institute with katie, who always makes me smile and who i am so grateful we served in the same mission, even though we were both there together at the same time for a day but it has bonded us for life.  Talking with her always seems to make life manageable and happy, and of course, full of laughter.  Institute however was not a laughing matter but it was beautiful. We talked about the atonement of Jesus Christ and watched this video.  It is the first depiction of Christ’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane that does not have any music or commentary or anything going on simultaneously, except the sound of crickets.  I realized how much background influences my emotions.  The gravity of the ‘aloneness’ set in, and my heart was and still is so full. It was so personal.  Please take 8:30 minutes to watch it.  The conversation that ensued afterwards was uplifting and powerful.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to gather with hundreds of other young single members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on a weekly basis, to feel of their strength and hear their experiences and testimonies.  I am always uplifted.  Finally, I got to spend time scanning pictures of my family.  I am always intimidated by family history.  My brother Craig knows it all and he is the family history guru.  He has our history memorized–dates, names, cities, relations, EVERYTHING.  He informs us of birth dates and death dates of loved ones who have passed on.  He notifies family members when he learns of the passing of a family member that was related to them.  He puts information on our family and other families on the church’s family history site.  He gets phone calls and emails with questions, and thank you’s regarding information he has provided.  Craig searches hundreds of newspapers everyday to see if in the obituaries, there is a relative that has passed away.  If there is he prints it out and keeps a record of it.  See where my intimidation comes in?  I know nothing. He knows everything.  At the beginning of the year though, I was determined to do something more than indexing so, I decided I was going to learn what my ancestors looked like.  Now that may sound strange so let me explain.  It is so much more powerful to me when I am hearing a story about a person to have a face pictured in my mind to whom I can attach the story to.  I am blessed to have known all 4 of my grandparents very well (and still have 3 living) and to have known 3 of 8 great grandparents.  But I have no visual image of any other family members.  So, I am collecting pictures of relatives.  The goal is 4 generations but really, there is no limit.  My goal is to organize them into a visual family tree (but really, I’m up for gathering as many pictures as possible and the stories to go with) so I can understand and know what they looked like so I can think of their picture in my mind when I hear something about them or about their posterity.  A visit to my Grandpa this weekend made at least he and my grandma’s portion of that rather easy.   It has been a special experience to look at each picture one at a time and think about how it must have been.  There are stories I know, stories I want to know and stories to be recorded.  But starting with pictures, is my first step.  The day is now over, and this is probably as recorded as it is going to get.  It has been a delightful day that is ending right where it started, in my bed.  Good night. 
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