Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Legacy

howdy howdy and happy new year!  

2012 is gone... and 2013 is in. I have so much I want to blog, and have no clear way of starting.

I will start with this: I promised my cousin-in-laws that I would at least blog bi-monthly, and they promised they would too.

And now I will declare this: I love my extended family on my Dad's side.

I just love them. They are good, fun, righteous folk... that I'm happy to call my role models and heroes. Since I don't have any older siblings, I have always been grateful for my cousins who were and still are my spiritual examples. I have long-time been amused at the delightful characteristic some of my favorite cousins are blessed with of cracking off the wisest and cheekiest comments during family gatherings (making me laugh so hard), but then also, in the same day no less!, wiping tears off their faces as they participate in singing at a baptism, missionary farewell, or Christmas-party-talent-show (bringing tears to my own eyes). There is something honest and lovely about this quick display of emotion and response. Something about it leaves no room to doubt (in my mind) that my cousins, aunts and uncles all have personal testimonies of the truths we believe in. These testimonies, I've imagined (even as a young girl) to have come from deliberate study and prayer alone in their rooms, on their own time, through their own thoughts and conclusions, the sort of testimonies that can't be shaken... that's the sort of strength and example I have always received from my extended family.

If you aren't thick skinned enough you could possibly walk away from one of our family gatherings having cried twice. Once because the teasing went to far, and once because you were forced to feel The Spirit. That's the type of raw emotion we got pumping through our Orton DNA, that's the Gene and Joy combo that has percolated its' way down to their faithful descendants. We have a good blend going (some a stronger concoction than others) of Grandma Joy's firm mind, straight laced morals, and determined good intentions... and of my Grandpa Gene's sweetness, smooth approach-ability, and down to Earth repartee.

Grandma made family functions mandatory, and Grandpa made these functions function-able. 

Grandma stressed us all out before and after a dinner getting everything ready, and Grandpa relaxed and calmed us with a good joke at the table.

Both were interested in your life, asked questions, remembered things you told them, and hated when the visit was over. I can still feel the anxiousness of telling them it was time to go, my grandma rushing to shove food into some sort of container for you to take home... and my grandpa doing his fake lip quiver. Them both walking me outside, and watching me from their porch till I drove away.

Family bonds are an amazing gift and treasure. I love being cut from the same cloth of these great people, and for the love they freely give me because we share the same Orton heritage. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts my Grandparents gave to all of us is that they gathered us together often, taught us through example to be interested in our cousin's lives, ask questions, remember, and to pray for them. Even though my grandparents are gone, I feel of their love and care more than ever through my aunts, uncles and cousins. I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude at the acts of kindness, thoughtful phone calls, prayers in my behalf, and text messages I receive from my family that cares about me. It is the gift of Grandma and Grandpa's love that continues to be blessing my life.

I think of my grandparents often. They were such normal simple people in the grand scheme of things, but to those they left behind... it is quite a grand legacy. It's easy to follow in their footsteps. My own patriarchal blessing talks about how my own posterity will look to the legacy I will have left them one day, I hope it's like the one that has been left to me~

  • My cousin Cory telling me he and his wife had been thinking of me and praying for me and Dan, back when we were engaged.
  • My cousin Tyler calling me to check up on me, telling me he and Ashley had been praying for me in my new married life in San Diego.
  • Calls from the Standifirds on my drive home to California so they would know I was safe.
  • Texts from Connie.
  • Chit chats with Zach when I pay my car insurance.
  • Texts from Helen.
  • Comments from Sara.
And the list could go on an on. That is the network of support I have and the soft place I land when I fall, which has been bequeathed to me. I pray to leave one behind me that is as great. Dan and I have a lot to live up to.

Here's some photos of the Parowan cemetery that I stopped at on my way home from Utah, a couple weeks ago:

Love that red southern utah dirt.

1 comment:

  1. Whit what an awesome post. I'm so glad you are going to keep us up to date and you definitely brought a tear to my eye thinking of Grandma and Grandpa. I'm sad I missed out on so many awesome family moments in Utah but I'm glad we are all such good friends.


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