Stephenson Family Ties The Barn Burnt Down
And Now I See The Moon
Water is pure after flowing over 21 stones.
(My talk for my mothers funeral)

Our dearest mom, wife, grandmother, great-grandmother is no longer pounding her forehead wishing for a brain transplant.  She is new, she is reborn.  She is sharp, smart, alert and better than ever now.  We are so grateful for this knowledge that all is not lost…just added upon.
Those of you in this room knew my mom well…for you are pay honor to her and to my dear dad.   You loved her…and undoubtedly you admired her.  You have  probably wished, as I have, that you could be more like her.  Not many people we know were as truly selfless as she.  She did not care one wit for the things of this world.  She had beautiful homes and they were filled with beautiful things that over a liftetime had been gathered from all around the world…but those “things” weren’t important to her.  She loved the history behind them..the stories they held….but her joy in them came souly from sharing the stories about them with anyone interested. Mom was a most humble servant of  God. Serving God and her fellow man was where she found her peace and contentment.    
All of us learned what true religion  is by her quiet example. For true religion is nothing more than love. …unconditional love…utterly selfless love; a love that seeks no reciprocation, and  no thought of reward.  Her love impelled her to action…all of her life.  That is the love God expects us to hone and develop.  Pres. Eyring said it perfectly-  “God loves his children.  They have great needs.  Everything belongs to God, so there is not much you can give HIM, after you have given him a repentant heart.  But you can give kindness to His children.  If you were my earthly friend, you would win my heart by being kind to my children.  God loves His children more than any earthly parent, so think what your kindness to His children means to God.”
In the obit I mentioned that her middle name should have been “volunteer” and that  her mantra in life was…”how can I help.”  Whether it was across the fence with a neighbor or across the world in Russia…she took EVERY opportunity to help someone- somehow.  Im not exaggerating when I estimate that  she knitted or crocheted literally 1000’s of hats and scarfs, blankets and sweaters for  the needy. Her needles were always clicking away…and Joe and I were duty bound to find homes for the bags and bags of beautiful warm results.   She was resourceful and persistent in finding places for them to go. Mexico, Africa, Russia and who knows where else  these little hats can now be found. And of course there are a dozens to be found on our own shelves and on the heads of grands and great grands too.  And we mustn’t forget our beloved pumpkin hats. There is no possible way to calculate the countless hours of volunteering she has done throughout the world and in the communities she lived in. From the red cross to emergency preparedness with emphasis on Earthquake preparedness to using her nursing skills, standing on sidelines cheering folks on and I could go on and on and on…she just wanted to help.

Mom LOVEd to learn!  Nursing was a love and she graduated   with honors from the UofU…and she was filled with awe as she watched the practice of nursing change thruout the years. Watching the world change filled her with  wonder, especially the technology aspect.   Education was important to her and to my dad…and I  think we’ll never really know how many young people my folks have helped along the way to a better education.  I have found Letters of gratitude  tucked away all over the house.
Mom was always learning. My earliest recollections of this was, when we were little and living in DC , mom volunteered to be a docent at the National Zoo.  She came home with THICK note books…not one, but many notebooks full of amazing information about the animals at the zoo…and she was to learn it…for Im sure she wanted to be the best docent she could be.  Later in life she took classes  in sign language and became dang good at it…and helped people that needed  the translating.  Who does that in their 40’s…learn something completely new!? 
Mom LOVEd the great out doors and all things that God and Nature provided.  Im surprised sometimes that she didn’t turn out to be a bigger hippie than myself.   She was a conservationist without the rebel hair, and peacesigns  or the attitude.  She taught us quietly and by example to LOVE this glorious world in which we live.  All of our kids remember and loved the hikes we’d go on with her.  There were also the personal  trips that each of the grands were privileged to go with her to places of interest that were personal to each grand..  Those trips  were learning experiences and filled with good times.  When growing up it wasn’t  junk tv we were allowed to watch….at night we sat down.. sometimes.. and watched shows like Mutual Of Omaha Wild Kingdom  and National Geo and the likes.  Or it was the Olympics. Oh how we all loved to watch the Olympics together… the appreciation of the spirit of man  and  wonder of what the human body can do was instilled in us early.
Mom loved anything that came in miniature. Her home is full of all things miniature. And no one could make cuter things from an ity bity pine cone.  But as we all know, her heart was Huge.  I can confidently wager all I have that none of you in this room have ever heard an unkind word pass her lips.  Im betting that no unkind thought was ever  formulated in her mind either.  And I may have stumbled on more proof of this fact as dad and I have discovered some journals this week, of hers…that neither of us even knew existed. You’re gonna love these Joe. I don’t know what your journals look like…but mine are disjointed and a mess…AND sometimes full of angst…and some venting…But NOT MOMS!!   Her journals are full of peace and  calm and extremely reflective.  Just as mom was.  The pages  are full of the quiet ways she tried to help people and of her struggles of inadequacy as she tried to serve in the church…3 times as YW president and 3 times as RS president.  She was a wonder and a pile of anxiety about whether she was doing enough  and doing it well enough.  
Oh mom…you’re “not enough” puts the rest of us plebes to shame. 
She may have been loosing the present…but she certainly was clear and joyful about her past…she loved remembering her childhood and could recall things from her past that most of us with healthy brains couldn’t pull from our own brains even now. She loved remembering the time she had with her good, adoring brother. She loved remembering her ‘orchard’ in California, that produced the most amazing, delicious peaches. Oh how she loved canning and eating those peaches…and all the gallons of applesause she made from the apples they grew.  She loved to entertain…she loved a good dinner party and having people in their home.  She loved living so close to the temple here in st geroge…and loved serving there…in any way she could.   She loved watching Wheel of Fortune and Jepordy with dad every night…and was very skilled in coming up with the answers.  Dad was always impressed.
But moms greatest joy was her family.  Family dinners happened every night as we grew up…dinners often shared with fascinating people.  Family dinners were her pride and joy.  Her greatest joy was a table full of family…grands with their beautiful wives and husband, and greats on down. Her grandchildren brought her such joy and pride…the good kind of pride. Her great grands filled her with wonder…mostly that she could be so blessed to have so many. 

The blessings of Moms life and her  passing are disguised in our sadness today, this week, and for a while…but there is no doubt that moms wishes have been fulfilled…by a loving God and her adoring family.   This is our gift and blessing this day.  The plan of Salvation is real.  Thank  God for that. 

1 comment:

Jared + Carly Reid said...

I loved reading this, Aunt Cindy. Your mom is an amazing woman and was always very kind to me. So grateful for the things that you know.