Thursday, November 28, 2013

Be Thankful!

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     It certainly has been a season to be thankful! We headed up to Milwaukee on Thanksgiving Eve to spend the night with Mike and Robyn and the kiddos. After games and lots of pie we went to sleep quite stuffed and satisfied. The next day Brian and Mike went and played football in the Turkey Bowl while I made cardboard box houses with the kids. I just adore these kids, I hope that we can raise a good group of kids someday like these little ones.
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Goofy faces! haha
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     After a delicious dinner and more games we took off for home to play even more games with our friends Natalia and Bryce Rich. They recently moved into our ward and are the only other students that are childless like us so we end up hanging out with these cool cats a lot!
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Ugliest face photo... and the boys just smile?!
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We are Thankful for....

  1. Each other.. We find out more and more every day just how much we love marriage and love each other through the ups and the downs in life.
  2. Our Parents.. I can't believe how much they did for us growing up and how much they still do to this day. We are forever blessed because of these wonderful people.
  3. Our Siblings and Relatives.. We are surrounded by love and wonderful people who bless our lives just by living and breathing. I love family!
  4. Our Friends.. Without good friends out here and in all the places we've been, I honestly don't know how we'd survive. Friends are the best family away from family.
  5. Jesus Christ.. All this happiness is made possible through God's Plan of Happiness and Jesus Christ's atonement. 
  6. Good Health.. What could we accomplish without this? We've been very blessed.
  7. School.. Though it is tough, boring, crazy, and exciting all at the same time, we are very grateful for education and allowing us a bright future with a lot of hard work!
  8. Books.. What would I do with myself if I couldn't get lost in a different world and adventure every now and then?
  9. Technology.. This seriously makes impossibly things a bit more possible.. like talking to our family in Utah or to each other when I'm at work and Brian's at school.
  10. Laughter.. It's what gets us through all life challenges and happiness. Laughter serenades joy into our lives.
Happy Thanksgiving! There is SO much to be thankful for!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My Grandpa Johansen

I’ve never quite understood the term “my heart is full” until recently. On Tuesday November 12, 2013, my sweet grandfather of 80 years passed on into the next life. The thought of him being gone aches my heart but I know that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ that I will see him again.
When my brother James who is serving an LDS mission in Seattle Washington heard the news he wrote my grandma and mom the most special letter about his testimony. I want to share a part of his letter that touched me.
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“I am so grateful i got that email from Grandpa last week!! That will forever be very special to me. I'm sure as you read in the email that he told me about a dream that he had had about him being young again and back on a mission. And that he and Grandma had started reading "Preach My Gospel" again. I think that Grandpa has been called on a mission again. And I am 100% sure he is going to come and help Me, Jason and Nate out on our missions! I know he'll be there for you too. I know it!! I love you Mom!!! You will see Grandpa again.
Alma 40:12 "And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow."
-Elder James Kendell
I think James said it much better than I ever could have. I think Grandpa is off serving another mission and this time he is with serving with my cousin Jared who passed away almost 2 years ago this month.
Below are my memories of my wonderful grandpa.
Grandpa took the time for me, though I am one of 21 grandchildren, I always felt special around him. Growing up, Grandpa and Grandma would let me have "sleepovers" at their house when they weren't off traveling. Grandpa would tell me stories of his childhood as we watched some sporting event and I recall being very fascinated that all that happened to HIM. I remember thinking that there was no way all those stories could happen to one person, but I'd listen intently as I could for a young girl. I wish I would have written all those stories down.
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Grandpa was quite the athlete growing up, when he wasn’t playing them he would watch them. He loved watching his sports on TV. Grandma would come downstairs and tell him to turn down the volume because he'd have it up so loud that his own comments that he would make about the game were heard upstairs. When she would come down and tell him to turn down the volume, he would politely turn it down. As soon as she would leave, he'd grab the remote, sometimes even wink at me, and turn it right back up again.
Grandpa loved to talk the grandkids to the Weber State Basketball games, and I loved going with him. I remember one time when the Weber Wildcat mascot was walking down aisles greeting people, I was so excited to meet him as he approached my seat. Well, he passed right over me and I was devastated, my whole 5 year old life felt over. I started to cry. Want to know what cute Grandpa did? He went right up to the Mascot and pointed at me and made sure the Wildcat came over and gave me a hug. He always was looking out for me.
Grandpa loved to take us on adventures. Sometimes our “adventures” just consisted of trips to Beus duck pond or the gas station for a treat, other times they were on little mini trips. We went to Mount Timpanogos Cave, Brigham Canyon Mine, and lots of different hikes. One time I choked in a cafe we were eating at and Grandpa had to do the Heimlich on me. I remember being so scared (though it was just ice that was stuck so it eventually would have melted) but then not being scared as Grandpa told me in my ear, "I'm here, it's okay"

I remember before the road was built by the water towers in South Ogden, we would go on hikes to the little gas station where he would let us pick out a treat. I always got the Necco treats because they were his favorite and we would share them together (even though I thought they tasted like chalk).
Grandpa also loved the frosting covered animal crackers and I’ve always loved buying them for him though Grandma would have to limit his intake due to his diabetes. On our “great adventures with the grandkids” we would usually start out by buying a bag for the road.
Sitting with Grandpa and Grandma in the swing out front was part of our regular “visiting” routine. I love that swing.

Grandpa loved his hot tub. I remember when they got the hot tub and he was like a child at Christmas as he showed us all the things it could do. The best was to sit outside as it was lightly snowing in the hot tub with Grandpa as he told stories of their many travels. It only makes sense that he would have gone in his hot tub.
Grandpa served a mission in South Africa and when I got married, Brian and Grandpa would often talk about their missions together. Grandpa said when I got engaged and I told him Brian served in South Africa, "Well then, he's the one!"
 photo scan0014_zpse31dbf42.jpgGrandpa was so stubborn and that often got him into trouble---like the time we were in Spain and he drove on the wrong side of the freeway. Or when he insisted he bought the right dish washing detergent and it ended up being laundry soap and our dish washer exploded with bubbles.
Grandpa loved church history. He was quick to acknowledge God in all the creations around us. He was a constant reader (and published author) which I'm pretty sure I inherited that love from him.
Grandpa was and is a missionary through and through. He was always bearing his testimony to others and handed out Book of Mormon after Book of Mormon. I want to be a missionary like my grandpa has been his entire life.
He wasn't as in to card games as Grandma because he always wanted to win and knew he couldn't quite beat Grandma. Grandma loved to tease Grandpa. Her humor always made me laugh, but the best past is that Grandpa never said a word in protest.

Grandpa's breathy laugh is something I hope never to forget. He would laugh through his smile. Whenever I have read in books "the smile reached all the way to the eyes" I just imagine my Grandpa because his smile truly always touched his eyes.
Grandpa loved his family. More than anything else. Family reunions usually brought tears to his eyes, "We are grateful for all those who are here, except those that aren't" were the lines he would ALWAYS say at family gatherings. How hard it will be to no longer hear those lines come out of his mouth as he will no longer be with us in body. I am grateful he lives on in spirit.
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Grandpa always included the gospel in family discussions, he would invite the family to share their testimony and thoughts on different subjects and this always touched my heart. He was never slow to share his testimony and let us know what he believed. I have never doubted that he knew who his Savior was.
He loved sugar... I get my sweet tooth from this man if from anyone. This love wasn’t helped by the fact that he had diabetes that made his feet completely numb. He would walk really slow because he couldn't quite feel if his foot was touching solid ground. I never once... ever heard him complain. Even when he had to ride in a wheel chair at Disneyland, he didn't utter a single complaint, though I know it hurt his pride. He was so independent and self-reliant.
Even with his severe diabetes, he loved to travel.  photo IMGP0360_zps3b91c4b4.jpg 
I remember wanting to go to grandma's house and instead would usually hear the familiar "they are traveling and aren't home right now" I was disappointed, but I know that someday that will be me. Traveling like he has done with my grandma. They have a huge map of all the countries they have been to as well as their next planned trip and dream vacations. In fact he and Grandma were supposed to be leaving on a cruise the weekend after he passed away.
At Christmas time we always knew which house was Grandma and Grandpa's. Grandpa made sure to put their big lighted star on top of their roof every year. It was my favorite---driving up to Grandma's and seeing that star on the roof. Grandpa said that it would help us find his house like it helped the wise-men find Jesus.
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 I loved hearing Grandpa talk about what it was like to fall in love with Grandma. They were high school sweethearts. I have never doubted his love and admiration for her EVER.
Even with the sure knowledge that I have of the Plan of Salvation and the promise of families being together forever does not fully take away the loss that I have felt. It’s hard not to long for his smile and the presence of him. With my entire family here, I just expect to see Grandpa hobbling through with his cane and breathy smile. But I know that where he is at is all part of God’s eternal plan of Happiness.
Grandpa was truly a man who lived and loved life and everything about it. He was a missionary throughout his entire life, and he continues to serve and teach the gospel in the life hereafter, I am sure of it.
I can truly say that with all the love and support that my family and adorable grandma have been given, my heart is truly full. I love you Grandpa! I miss you already! God be with you ‘til we meet again!
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