Monday, October 4, 2010

My Grandpa

My grandfather, Ralph William Kauer was remembered today for the great man that he was in funeral services held today at the Burton Churchbuilding and the cemetery.

He was born on January 12, 1918 out in Burton (just west of Rexburg). He was the fifth child of Ernest Ferdinand Kauer and Rosalie Karoline Beck, one of eleven children. He had five brothers and five sisters.

He was married to my grandmother, Bernice Hazel Clifford on August 17, 1942 in the Salt Lake Temple. And they enjoyed 68 wonderful years together. They had 4 wonderful children, 3 daughters and a son.

Grandpa worked hard for everything that he had in this life. He was a caring and supportive father, grandfather, and great grandfather. In his youth he worked on his parent's farm, and then served a mission to Germany just prior to WWII and then returned to the US and completed his mission in the Western States mission once the war heated up in Europe.

Both of his parents died by the time that he was 16 and he helped to support his younger siblings throughout their lives, as well as their children's lives. (He and my grandmother welcomed two of their nieces into their home and raised them with his own children at the death of his brother and his wife.) He ran his own farm out in Burton, Idaho, served in World War II in Europe, during which time he gained the rank of Captain, and taught 5th and 6th grades as a teacher.

Many of my favorite memories of my childhood all happened while visiting my grandparents at their farm in Burton. I remember sitting at a card table near his chair in his living room and playing Chinese Checkers on Sunday afternoons. Somehow I would always end up winning. Early summer mornings out picking raspberries with Lard cans hanging from belts around our waste, that started out empty and a couple hours later we would have crates overflowing with berries that would then be canned as yummy jam and bottled fruit. Sunday dinners that always ended with a bowl of bottled raspberries or peaches. Or french vanilla ice cream. BBQs on their back porch and splashing through their irrigated lawn on hot summer days.

And memories of scouring my grandparents' lawn on Easter afternoons finding the loot that the "Easter Bunny" had scattered across the lawns and hidden in the bushes, up trees and on the roof. And at Christmas time, our family FHEs at Grandpa and Grandma's house. That always ended with Grandpa reading the story of Christ's birth from the New Testament.

I also remember camping trips in Island Park, and fishing up by Medicine Lodge. And Grandpa's coat pockets always being full of peppermints from JJ Norths whenever he came to visit and McDonald's hamburgers after a long day of cleaning one of his rentals.

Grandpa and Grandma's headstone reads Families are Forever. I know that although my grandfather is no longer here with us physically in this life, I know that he will forever be a part of my life. He and Grandma have served our family past and present all of their lives. They have completed the temple work for the majority of my ancestors and they have set the example for our living generations with all of my married cousins being sealed for time and all eternity in the temple on their wedding day. I hope to continue that tradition.

If there was any one thing that I could say that my grandfather taught me, it would be to work. Work was and is expected in our family. We can have fun, but only after we had done all that we've promised to do. Whether it was on their farm, cleaning some of their rentals, or just doing your best in school or fulfilling your calling to the utmost of your ability. We were of steadfast German Swiss stock that did not shy away from hardwork.

I hope that when I find the man that I will someday marry that he can some day live up to be half the man my Grandpa Kauer is.

I know that Grandpa Kauer was greeted by a large gathering of relatives on the otherside when he passed away Thursday September 30, just after 12pm. And I know that he has now received a well deserved rest. Families are Forever and I know that I will see Grandpa on the other side. I am greatful for the example that he has set for me and the rest of our family.

"God saw he was getting tired
And a cure was not to be,
SO He put His arms around him
And whispered, "Come with Me."
"With tearful eyes we watched him suffer
And saw him fade away,
Although we loved him dearly
We could not make him stay.

"A golden heart stopped beating
Hard working hands to rest,
God broke our hearts to prove to us
He only takes the best."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Power of God's Chosen Servant

The last few conference sessions I have always tried to prepare myself for the conference sessions and to pray during the week before and ask that I might be prepared for the messages and that the messages will contain guidance for my life today. Sadly I really hadn't had time to prepare this time. The last couple of weeks have been extremely busy. I had been home mostly during sleeping hours. I had been working 10-12hr days typically leaving before 8am if not 7:20, and then working all day and then running to whatever other commitment I had had. Then I would return home around 9 or 10pm. Then I would quickly get ready for bed, quickly pray and grab my scriptures and quickly read a few verses, perhaps a chapter, and tumble into bed. And in the prayer I would mumble some expression of "please bless me to learn from Conference" if I even remembered to think about upcoming conference.

I had really taken no thought of what to pray about. I was just too busy to really think about what I truly needed. Or at least I allowed myself to be that way.

This year my roommates and I and a few of our friends from our branch were able to get tickets to Saturday Morning Session. We drove down the night before around 9:30pm and arrived at our hotel about 1am. And crashed around 2am. And got to wake up around 4 hours later at 6am so that we could get ready and take the Trax up to downtown and make it to the morning session. Thankfully we got to conference about 9am so we had about an hour to wait for conference to begin. We were able to get seats in the 3rd row of our section of the upper balcony. It was so calming to just sit there, without something else to day while I waited. To just listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir warm up and feel the spirit that was there. This time I truely had time to ponder and wait for the messages to begin.

Conference began and President Monson gave an opening address like none other. We were excited at the temples, but it was the topic that he addressed after those announcements that I know I and a couple of the guys that I was with, needed to here.

President Monson always uses some story or experience to share to help get his point across. But this time, this address, he did not mix words in anyway. This is what he said.

"Now before we hear from our speakers this morning may I mention a matter close to my heart and which deserves our serious attention, I speak of missonary work. "... "I repeat what prophets have long taught" ... "Young men I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary." At that moment there was no question that the prophet of the Lord had stated that it was the duty of each young man to serve a mission. Then he continued to say concerning sisters- "While you do not have the same priesthood you also make a valuable contribution as missionaries and we value your service. " Confirmation that I was making a wise decision to serve a mission. The song following that opening address was We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet I again had it confirmed to me that Thomas S. Monson is called as our modern day prophet and that he is our Father's chosen servant at this time.

There were so many amazing and powerful speakers in that session, and all of them seemed as if the topic was exactly what I needed. Especially President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's address about Simplicity and not adding business to our lives. A topic that I've greatly needed.

I am forever greatful for the tickets that we got to the Saturday Morning Session. This was the session that I and the others in my group needed to hear.