Friday, September 20, 2013

Summer 2013

Our summer was filled with blessings, despite our many trials. And for me, it's in times of trials that I really count my blessings. So, here's me counting:

1. Hiking. We are so lucky to live in a place with hundreds of trails to pick from. We love hiking with our friends.

Dead Horse State Park with Jo 

Huckaby Trail with the Bryant Family

Bell Trail with Daddy

Race, Witt and I did an eight mile hike with the Wimer family. It was the boy's farthest hike yet, and I was so proud of them. 

I don't know what it is, but I love swimming in the creek so much better than the public pool.

2.  Cub Scouts: We love Cub Scouts. Even more, we love how much Race loves it.

This is Race's scouting friend from Payson, Dayton. He also attends Connections Academy on-line. So we thought that was pretty cool.

3.  Music: The boys BOTH were in the Missoula this year. Yes, Witt agreed to try out if his Dad would buy him a dilly bar. And to be honest, he was a little bummed he made it, but he rocked his part as a lobster. Race was one of the Queen's cards. The play this year was Alice in Wonderland.

4. The Fourth of July: I am so grateful to live in this country. I love our little community and how patriotic it is.

5. Family: What can I say, I love my family.

Grandpa Armstrong has been in and out of the hospital for the last few months. We sure love this ol' cowboy. 

It was a sad day for us, but answered prayers for my parents when everything fell into place for them to move back up the mountain. We miss them being so close.

The boys miss playing with Tanner. 

The amazing Kissy and her music. We always love our summer trip to Kissy and the cousin's house. Lots of swimming and music. I love my sis.

My brother is also very talented with music. We had so much fun visiting his little family at their place.

And if there were every two funnier little boys. Lane and Logan have the funniest things to say all the time. Having them together is having entertainment for hours. 

6. Tae Kwon Do: We don't know what we would do without Tae Kwon Do.  The people there give us so much support and love. It's the place the boys and I spend the most time, next to our home. 

7. Education: John has felt an urgency to finish up his bachelors. After talking with some friends, he is now enrolled in the Pathway Program through BYUI!  He started classes this week.

8. The Gospel: I don't even know where to begin with this. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is such a big part of my life, it is who I am. I am so thankful to be a part the Lord's work. And I know it is because of Him, that we find the strength to fight through our trials. I'm striving daily to see the big picture, and practice faith in the midst of change and the unknown.

This summer, we had a Primary Birthday Party. We made home-made ice cream and played some good ol' fashion games. I love Primary.

9. My boys: They are my life.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Keep Calm and Carry On...

Hello blog, and my friends of the virtual world. It's been a while. I've missed writing.

We've had a very busy summer.
It's been a summer of trials, and I am tired.
 I am emotionally exhausted.
It's been a summer of putting my nose to the ground and plowing through affliction.
It has been a summer spent on my knees.
It has been a summer in the refiners fire.
I am an emotional wreck and yet...
I haven't felt more blessed.

There is a scripture that has been in my heart this summer. And I feel like I need to share it. Because these are hard times for so many people lately. It seems like everybody is dealing with something. And I am reminded of when Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail in Missouri and he was suffering much affliction. And though his trials were by far MUCH greater than mine could ever be... he was tired. He was emotionally exhausted. After crying out to the Lord with his "why's", this was the Lord's answer:

In Doctrine and Covenants 121:7&8
My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

The words endure it well keep coming to mind day after day.

I don't know if I've ever shared my favorite poem on my blog before. I probably have. But in high school I had a coach, Coach Allen who recited this poem to us many times. And after hearing this poem for the first time in the locker room before a JV volleyball game, I took the time in the weeks after to  memorized it also. And it has stuck with me.  And sometimes, to keep me calm when I feel like I've been dealt a bad hand, or when I'm driving, and I'm about to explode with my "why's", I say the words of this poem. They keep me calm.

The Race
by D.H Groberg

“Quit!” “Give up, you’re beaten!” they shout at me and plead,
“There’s just too much against you now, this time you can’t succeed.”
And as I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face,
My downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
And hope refills my weakened will as I recall that scene.

For just the thought of that short race rejuvenates my being.
A children’s race, young boys, young men; now I remember well.
Excitement, sure, but also fear; it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope. Each thought to win the race
Or tie for first, if not that, at least take second place.
And fathers watched from off the side, each cheering for his son,
And each boy hoped to show his dad that he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they sped, as if they were on fire
To win, to be the hero there, was each boy’s desire.
And one boy in particular, his dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the lead and thought, “My dad will be so proud.”
But as he speeded down the field, across the shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his arm flew out to brace,
And ‘mid the laughter of the crowd, he fell flat on his face.

So, down he fell, and with him, hope. He couldn’t win it now.
Embarrassed, sad, he only wished he’d disappear somehow.
But, as he fell, his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
Which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win the race!”
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit, that’s all.
And ran with all his mind and might to make up for the fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
His mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.

He wished he had quit before with only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”
But, in the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face.
That steady look that said again, “Get up and win the race!”
So, he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last;
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.

Defeat! He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense running more. Three strikes, I’m out…why try?”
The will to rise had disappeared, all hope had fled away.
So far behind, so error-prone, a loser all the way.
“I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought, “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But, then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.
“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “Get up and take your place.
You weren’t meant for failure here; get up and win the race.”
With borrowed will, “Get up,” it said, “You haven’t lost at all,
For winning is no more than this–to rise each time you fall.”

So up he rose to win once more. And with a new commit,
He resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been.
Still, he gave it all he had, and ran as though to win.
Three times he fallen, stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.
They cheered the winning runner, as he crossed the line, first place,
Head high and proud and happy; no falling, no disgrace.

But, when the fallen crossed the finish line, last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last, with head bowed low, unproud,
You would have thought he won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad, he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me you won,” his father said, “You rose each time you fell.”

And now when things seem dark and hard and difficult to face,
The memory of that little boy helps me in my race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
“Quit!” “Give up, you’re beaten!” They still shout in my face,

But another voice within me says, “Get up and win the race!”

I often call my mom when I'm upset about something. And my mom is always telling me, "Teddy, you've got to stay calm." In fact, my sis gave me this historically significant poster that is framed in my bedroom:

Endure it well. I have a choice. And so that is what I've been up to this summer. Striving to carry on and endure it well. And in the next post, I'll update you more on the blessings and memories of the summer.