Saturday, August 26, 2017

My Grandma Joy

Here are some thoughts about my Grandma.

On August 12, My paternal grandmother, Joy Bateman Wixom Samson, died. She was 95 and had lived a full life of family, work, travel and love. She was an important and positive influence in my life, and while I am sad I won't see her again in this life, it's hard to be TOO sad when a tired 95-year old woman who has done all the things and is suffering from pain and sickness dies. I am honestly more happy for her than I am sad for myself. Truly. Her life is a great example of what I believe life is all about--learning, experiencing, helping others, trying, making mistakes, having messy problems, doing fun things, loving people, never giving up, etc. I don't romanticize her as a perfect person, but instead I love her for her example of a real woman in action. She showed me that it's possible to keep on going in the face of hard things, and to laugh and sing along the way. That is invaluable to me. I am grateful you are my Grandma.

So, I went out to Arizona and Utah and gathered with my family to honor her. It was an intense trip, both sad and joyful at the exact same time. I am really grateful I could go.

From Instagram: Yesterday was all about the legacy of Grandma Joy. So many of her people came. Only a few were missing. There were tears and tender hearts, but not without laughter and smiles in between. I saw cousins I haven't seen in years. We put our arms around each other and rejoiced. We were grateful for the family my grandma helped to build. And huzzah! All of my siblings were together! This is a rare and glorious occurance! I did not take enough photos but there were actual people to hug and being present was better than trying to record every moment. I will never forget the marvelous spirit of unity we shared. It was a lovely, love-filled celebration of our Esteemed Matriarch. (Thank you to dear friend Elisa for teaching me that most appropriate title.) 

We rented a perfect house in Flagstaff to shelter some of the people who came to honor Grandma. Watching this delightful gathering my siblings and children and of my much-adored nieces and nephews with my granddaughters brought this sweet joy that is hard to put into words. I love my family so much.

From Instagram: Sunset selfies before I left AZ. I want to remember being with all these people I love as the sun went down over the sweet desert evening. 

My sister Randi and I were travel companions for the week. We called each other our "exit buddies" from the movie Finding Nemo and the wise words of Squirt the baby turtle. Always have an exit buddy. We drove up to Utah after the Flagstaff funeral and along the way stopped to witness the partial eclipse over Arizona and be skype witnesses to the total eclipse over Idaho. It was amazing. We also stopped at one of my favorite, handy roadside NPS sites--Glen Canyon Dam. It never gets old. Then we settled into our lovely room in Utah and got to spend time watching storms and generally having a good time together.

We buried Grandma up in West Jordan, Utah. She was born and raised in this town, and she is surrounded by family in this cemetery.

We found the cheapest tickets home out of Las Vegas, so we drove down and stayed next to the airport. Our trip through the deserts of central and southern Utah was long and cathartic. I'm glad we had the time together. From Instagram: After a heart wrenching day of saying final goodbyes to Grandma, then saying all the bittersweet farewells to my family, I was drained and feeling the weight of grief. On the way to Vegas to fly to our homes tomorrow, my sis and I were cheered and astonished by the beauty of nature. A bank of storms to the east kept pace with our speed and glowed with rainbow after rainbow as the setting sun shined through. An unassuming "scenic drive" sign at the very western edge of Zion National Park drew us in and suddenly we were in a breathtakingly beautiful canyon. We had no idea these majestic peaks were waiting behind the cedar-studded hills by the road. It was the perfect thing to get us down the long highway to our hotel. 

ps. If you have skipped the Kolob Canyons exit in your rush to get to points south, you have missed out. Take the drive next time! 

It was a fitting week to honor a really special woman, one who always made me feel loved, even from far away. I know that my own grandmothering will be deeply influenced by her.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Weathering Camp

This week at my church Young Women Camp we had perfect weather for an East Coast campout--mostly overcast skies with slightly cooler temperatures punctuated by a few hours of sunshine here and there on most of the days. It was really nice to have a break from the usually relentless heat. We still had the relentless humidity, but a temperature just a few degrees lower can make such a difference. Evenings got cool enough to welcome a campfire, and the nights and mornings felt deliciously chilly.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Trekking With Pioneers

In the second week of July, Eric and I set out with 11 outstanding young people and trekked through the wilds of Pennsylvania for 3 days. We did it for love. We also did it for faith. For that 3 days, we were Ma and Pa Nuss.
There are only10 in this photo because one of our young women came the next
day because of her work schedule. We finished with all 11. 

Sunday, July 02, 2017

The Last Twenty-One

My youngest child turned 21 years old on Friday. That feels like a big deal, so I wanted to write about it for a minute.

Here he is 3 years ago when he graduated high school:

Friday, June 16, 2017

Just Writing

My energy is low right now. I have several fairly important tasks to complete before tomorrow morning, but after the tasks I completed this morning, I came home and slept. It's been my pattern for the past several days: a long afternoon nap, yet still plenty tired for a normal bedtime, up early for all the things, then crash again for the afternoon. I'm a little concerned, so I'm taking my iron supplements and trying to just sleep when I need it. I'm sure it will pass.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

52 Stories: Knitting

The question I chose for this installment of 52 Stories is:

What is something you taught yourself to do without help from anyone else?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Utah Wedding Preparations!

On April 19, we started heading to Utah for Sara's wedding!! I flew out on Wednesday, along with Sam and Madison from Mississippi and my sister Randi from Tennessee. Eric followed on Thursday, and my family from Arizona and Colorado started arriving on Thursday and Friday. Sara had gotten to Utah earlier that week, and Andy arrived on Thursday.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Announcements, Announcements, A-nooooouuuunnncce-ments!

Yep. It's time to tell all the people about the wedding. But wait! I haven't even really told anyone about the wedding on this blog. My blogging in general has been so sporadic lately and I was using writing time for 52 Stories. Blog fail.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Getting Back

It's always a challenge to come back from a long trip, especially one that involves lots of time spent with family. 

Luckily, I had some help with the re-entry. 

Thursday, March 09, 2017

A Golden Week in the Sun

This past week was so very fun. As I prepare to go back home, my  heart is full. I love being a daughter, a granddaughter, a mother-in-law, and an auntie. Each role gives me an opportunity to show love in unique ways, and considering those different roles makes me feel whole. We can never be everything to anyone, but in small moments, we can be really important to other people. I am happiest when I am embracing moments to be myself and be appreciated by people who love me. I'm un-self conscious, not worrying about how to post things on social media, or whether I should. I'm present, calm and feel that elusive sense of flow.