Friday, July 15, 2011

Honoring Our Grandparents

Summertime in the North is a beautiful time of year-- like heaven! We had a wonderful time visiting family, playing outside, and staying up WAAAYY too late.

We had some very tender and sweet experiences with grandparents-- the kids' great-grandparents-- that made big impressions and beautiful memories.

My beautiful Grandma Nielsen is so elegant!
 My Grandma Nielsen is one of my personal heroes. She works harder than any other person I've ever met, and her strong faith, her love of country, and her indomitable spirit hold our extended family together in a bond that is amazing.

She has some health problems and has been without my Grandpa for nine years, but she keeps herself busy doing Church Humanitarian projects, participating in the Daughters of Utah Pioneers organization, and-- most of all-- actively serving in her ward (church congregation). In fact, one weekend we were up North, she spoke in church. (And I understand from my mom that she did a great job!)

Her excellent example effects me everyday, and I know that I have my strong convictions about right and wrong in great measure because of her strong faith and example.

Grandma Nielsen with all the kids
We also got to visit with Russell's Pike grandparents. He was very close to them when he was growing up, and they have always treated me like one of their own grandkids. In fact, it was meeting his grandparents for the first time that made me see how much I loved Russell and how much I wanted the kind of relationship they have. (I often joke with him that I married him for his grandparents!)

At our first meeting they sat and told us how they met; singing in the county fair talent show. Russell and I met in a community production of "My Fair Lady" and used to sing together all the time. We occasionally sing together as a family, too.

Granny Pike, meeting her namesake Eryn Mildred
When they came over to Russell's parents' house during the family reunion, Brennan played a song on the guitar that Granny Pike had once sent us. And she sat there and sang along with him as he played.

When we visited their home a few days later, Russell, Lliam, and Brennan sat on Grandpa's bed and talked while Granny and I visited in the livingroom and the other kids chased around their two enormous dogs. Grandpa honored us in the sweetest way by bestowing one of his beautiful guitars on Brennan, who's been learning the instrument. It was so wonderful to spend time with them, yet it was so hard to see them struggling with their health. We love them so much!

Russell with his Grandma
At the end of our visit, they asked us to please sing for them. It's the only thing they've ever asked of us and we were so thrilled to fill that one little request. The feelings were so sweet and tender as we stood in their little bedroom-- Grandpa laying in his bed with Granny sitting close by, her eyes twinkling-- and sang our hearts out to these amazing people. As we left, Grandpa held my hand and thanked me, and then he asked us to send them a recording of all of us singing together. I said that we would.

We are so grateful for the heritage of love and faith all of our grandparents have given us! I pray that we will always honor them by the living the way they have shown us to live.


  1. How wonderful! It is so important to value our heritage through our grandparents. I will always have fond memories of my grandparents. As you know, my dad's parents both recently dies, within 10 days of each other. I know they are together and happy! I need to be happy for them that they have moved on to the next life without too much time apart.

  2. I love your grandma!! she is awesome and was always so nice to me growing up. I also love the socks in the front window at christmas time!


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