Thoughts on Being Grafted

12:30 AM

I love my family tree. I love all of it's branches no matter how crazy and wild. I also love my husband's family tree, a lot! I feel like it's mine now too. This feeling comes in part from how they have welcomed me into their fold and treated me as one of their own. There is no such thing as in-law with the Hullingers. I am a sister and I feel so grateful for that. I've truly been grafted into their family and I feel as much a Hullinger as I do a Griffith now!

Over the July 4th weekend we went to Hanna, Utah aka Hullinger Haven. This is a special place for me because this is where Mark asked me to marry him almost exactly 3 years ago. 

August 17th 2012 -The day he asked me to be Mrs. Mark Hullinger

It's a beautiful mountain retreat purchased by Mark's Grandpa, Hollis Hullinger for family gatherings and unifying the clan. He had a lot of foresight. It also comes equiped with a pavilion for socializing, hot showers, and flushing toilets. What more could a girl want?

The first time we went as a family this year was on the 4th of July, the weekend before the actual reunion and family members had gathered to work, paint, and prepare the place. Mark and I were the youngest couple there. We wanted to represent Mark's parents (John and Korinne) who are in Australia serving a mission for the LDS church. I loved sitting and listening to the stories of our elders.  In Africa, there is a proverb which states something like, "When an elder dies it's as if an entire library has burned to the ground."  I believe that's true. However, most of the "elders" in the Hullinger clan have done their personal history and have completed more than 5 generations of family group sheets.

The weekend was topped off with creek time, potato gun fun, sticky s'mores, and of course a hug from Uncle Gibb. Who showed up in just the nick of time to add a little life to the party.

Tooth-off with Uncle Gibb and McKenna at a previous family party
The Woodrow and Twila Giles family reunion was two weeks later and the first of it's kind! It was epic! We met in Morgan, Utah. I call it Brigadoon and fantasize about living there someday. Mark's mother Korinne grew up here along with her brother, Kirby. This is the dry farm located above the Giles family home.

Morgan, Utah

Morgan Daughters of the Utah Pioneer Museum

The day started at a museum which I am told is par for the course, if you're a descendant of Korinne or Kirby Giles. This is most of our group at the first stop of our progressive family reunion. Roger and KarieAnn Hullinger and family joined us later after lunch.

Bella fell in love with all of her new cousins... so many girls and so close to her age!  
I pretty much felt the same way. 

Bella, Anna, and Evelyn

The girls were quite intrigued by the antique bedpans and the framed hair art.
I was quite intrigued by The Curse of the Withered Hand story. That's a post for another time.

Melinda is sharing family history stories. 
Owen showing us his skills and playing the old favorite below.

Very patient boys waiting for the potato guns and 4-wheelers

John Henry Giles 1826
The kids were pretty excited to squeeze into this tiny pioneer cabin.

Anna and Evelyn decided that the straw mattress was pretty comfy.

Then off to visit the cemetery and the graves of our grandparents.
Mark and Bella

There was a lot of skipping, chatting, visiting, reminiscing, story-telling, and laughing. I think Woodrow and Twila were smiling down from above. They have quite a posterity.

Next stop was the Woodrow Giles Farmhouse. This is where Kirby and Korinne grew up and where my husband Mark learned how to work hard hauling hay and driving tractors.

In fact, all of the grandchildren worked  here (and played) during the summer months along with Grandpa Woodrow. Now the great grandchildren are here playing on the farm. 
The rope swing was a hit.
Jake, Anna, Brook, and Layni

Brook making some new friends

Bella and Anna made the day for these pigs when they found the hose and sprayed them down.
They were in hog heaven.
The Woodrow and Twila Giles Home in Morgan, Utah.

The dairy barn
Our next stop -  the local burger join!
Girls day out and J's Drive-In!
Next, we gathered at the Morgan park and visited while the children played. These boys are still waiting for the mountain fun we had planned for the next and last stop. 
Mark and the potato guns were a big hit up by the deer cabin. Izzy is taking a shot.

Good job, Ben (and Mark for engineering a double-barrel, transparent, potato gun)!

Here's our rowdy group at the end of the day. We are tired, but so very happy!

It was a perfect ending to a perfect day
Packing up the 4-wheelers and saying our good-byes

It was a wonderful reunion. I have been reflecting on the love that I felt that day and the connections that I made and that brings me back to my analogy of grafting. Gardeners graft the parts of two trees together in order to create a new complete tree that will be hardier and sturdier. They often repair trees this way or do it to make the plant more fruitful or disease resistant. I am grateful that through marriage a man and woman may become one and their family trees come together too. Through my marriage and the grafting of our families, I have been strengthened, my husband has been strengthened, and so have my children. This added strength we feel comes from each other and our family tree, with all of it's roots and branches. 

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  1. Oh Wendy! You make my heart swell! I was crying through most of this post! For many reasons, but mostly because it made me happy to think of Woodrow and Twila looking down on this happy family they created. Thank you for sharing all the details of this very special day. (I was dying for someone to do it!)

  2. Wendy! Even though I've never officially met you, I've heard you are just wonderful from Heather and Martha and Korinne, and now my sister Melinda. I was so sad that I was unable to attend this epic Giles/Hullinger adventure, as my baby was due then. Thank you thank you for documenting such fun and including pictures of places that hold such fond memories! I look forward to meeting you someday soon!

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