Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Family Flower~Reunion Part 3

Our Special Flower Power

When Jim and I began to plan the meeting with our children and grandchildren we realized what a touching opportunity it would be. It had been since Christmas 2006 that we'd all been together under one roof. Owen and Hazie were not even born then. It was kind of one of those moments when someone asks you, "If you only had a few minutes what would you tell your posterity?" We felt the weight of it and prayed what we said would make a difference and would set the tone for our time together at Sundance.

On Monday morning after breakfast we gathered everyone around the living room and Laura led us in a song "I Am A Child Of God" and then we began our meeting with a prayer. This is the way Family Home Evening always starts with an opening song and prayer. Then there is a short lesson. Our topic was The Importance of Our Family.

Grampa began by talking to the parents about how important marriage is and how your spouse should be your first priority, even in times when you feel you are pulled in forty directions at once. In essence your family is you and your spouse forever. The kids will grow up and create little families of their own.

He told them to love and honor each other and even though they may be very different in many things their bond is their love and their commitment and their foundation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With that common bond and foundation, everything else will work together for their good. He commended them on the excellent job they are doing. He shared our deep love for each of them as families and individuals.

I talked to the children primarily, but the lesson was for everyone. I used the large, fancy flower you see at the top of this post on its long, green, leafy stem as my visual aid. It is very glittery and has a ruby red, jeweled center that I attached to it to emphasize the center. I had developed this lesson a few years ago for a presentation I was asked to give and I felt it would convey my thoughts well to a large age range of kids.

Holding the flower up for all of them to see I told them that this flower represents our family. When you came to earth you were the beautiful gem in the center of the flower. Heavenly Father loved you so much He sent you to a chosen family that would love and protect you all of your life.

That family, your mom and dad, your brothers and sisters, your grandparents, your aunts, uncles and cousins are all represented by the petals that surround the center or you. Also there are your ancestors, your further husband or wife and your own children and grandchildren in that flower. It grows and changes as you do. Some petals fall off but are never forgotten, and new ones are formed~all are extremely important in your life.

I explained that each of us has one of these flowers and we are not only the center on our own flower but we are a petal on each family member's flower as well. Our relationship to the person in the middle determines our position or stewardship in the life of the person. The two petals that are always side by side, working the hardest in their behalf, represent their Mom and Dad.

I explained that every petal has a job to do and each is very important for loving and protecting the person in the middle. I added that everyone else in the room was a petal on their own flower and were always there for them to help and guide and love them. I told them they never need to feel alone, because they aren't.

Even though we live far apart we can remain close but this requires an effort on everyone's part. It is like tilling and preparing the garden for some beautiful flowers to grow there. It is one reason why I write the Gramma and You Blog @ for them. Its purpose is to help them to know and appreciate each other more and stay connected.

I explained that we are each other's "People." Others will come and go in our lives, but family is forever and will always be our very own, "Special People," handpicked just for us by God himself.

Grampa added that just like every flower has roots from which it gets its strength and nourishment through rich soil, the sun and living water...we all receive that same beneficial kind of growth and life from the son of God, Jesus Christ, and His gospel.

He told them that the gospel and their family are the best way to find protection and refuge from the harmful things of the world. Those two things are also the things that will bring them the most love and happiness in life. We asked them to remember these things whenever they see a beautiful flower from now on.

The kids seemed to like this lesson and relate to it. At the end we asked them to form a circle in the middle of the floor. Hazie was then placed in the middle of the circle. Then Grampa asked them to imagine that someone was approached the circle wanting to do Hazie harm, to hurt her or tease her. He then stood up and came aggressively towards the group like he was this "bad guy."

The kids all understood that it was their job to protect her so they all surrounded her to shield her from the impending danger. Some moved closer to her, encircling her and placing their own bodies between her and the danger, others attacked the danger directly in her behalf.

It was very sweet and they all got the point.

After this we sang another song and closed with prayer. We put out some 3x5 cards for everyone to write love notes to family members because it is important to verbally share the love we feel for each other. Everyone got into this...we ran out of cards! Every night there was a collection of these precious gems under our pillows.

Auntie Lou Lou (Laura) also made them some special ringed note cards to write something to each cousin that was fun that they'll remember they did together at the reunion. They could then put them in their own time capsules that we made for them to put mementos and pictures in of the reunion.

Our feelings were that it went very well and that it helped them bond to each other more and to have a very good time together during the reunion. If there was any problem between any of them during the Reunion we never did see evidence of it. They all got along beautifully and played and shared and enjoyed each other. It was our dream come true. Here are a few photos of some serious togetherness. Nothing could have made their grandparents happier. It was priceless.

Piper and her sweet baby sister...Hazie

Ayns and Julia

Chloe and Owen

All the kids but Ross

Zach, Ross, Spence, Julia and Aynslee

Connor and Chloe making sure that Hazie
felt included in the hike.
We saw this repeatedly in all the kids!

Owie and Chloe
Sweet cousin bonding

No Ross in this photo
He was taking a little break
@ the house during this hike.

The kids always had choices about the events
which made them all happy!

Chlo Jo & O-Mo (Owen Monroe)

Spencie taking a turn
at jumping off a tree stump.

The brotherhood of the cousins

Spencer and Hazie having a heart to heart chat.
We love how they get right down to her level
instead of talking down to her in her wheelchair.
Kids are so intuitive about that sort of thing.

Ayns and Jewel hanging out in the rainbow bathtub!

Connor and Hazie hot tubbin'!!

The film makers, Piper, Con and Zachy

Rossie and Owie sharing a cuddly moment

Gramma edited OUT of this
(Yikes, I scared myself!)
morning pile up on our bed.
One of our favorite traditions!

Jewels and Ayns
Writing love notes to family members

on three by fives to tuck under pillows!

Ross and Zach in deep rapture
over something on the iPad.

Grampa and I had to pinch ourselves,
who could ask for anything more?
Neither of us that is for sure!

P.S. The previous installments of this series of posts on our family reunion can be found by clicking on "older posts" at the bottom of the last post on the page or by looking in the archives on the sidebar and clicking on the one you are interested in viewing.


sistersusiesays said...

What a beautiful portrayal of the Wedding Feast with Christ and the Church. The Family of GOD will no longer need the protection from this world of sin. Wonderful story of your family, Bonnie!
Love to you all,

Honey I'm Home Blog said...

Wow, what a wonderful gathering. And I'm sure memories have been made that will never be forgotten. PS - We LOVE Sundance!

Warmly, Michelle

Marie Rayner said...

I just loved this post Bonnie. What a wonderful family gathering you have had and I know these children will carry these memories and feelings with them forever. It makes my heart ach too . . . for what I want to have and probably never will. But it also rejoices in what you have! You are so blessed!! xxoo

laura.elizabeth said...

I LOVE these photos of the kids. They are all so spontaneous and full of affection. The love they have for each other makes my heart swell.