Sunday, November 21, 2010

Family Pictures!!

If we ever thought coordinating life with teenagers and toddlers was difficult, this week confirmed it when we attempted a family photo session with Lindsey Orton. It is difficult to believe that she got as many quality shots as she did, considering the crazy combination that was certain to be reflected in our pictures.

Much to our surprise (and gratitude), a screaming two year old and 3 females who could barely walk in the heels we wore were not the highlights that stood out in the treasures we sorted through this morning. Reminders in the images that these sisters truly do love each other deeply, a husband and wife who share lovingly "the dream," a sweet Daddy and son relationship, and Mom and daughters friendship will be forever valued. How blessed we should feel, and how appropriate to be reminded of such eternal treasures over Thanksgiving weekend.

Looking through the pictures that will soon be on our wall, it felt like time stopped and eternity overwhelmed the heart. There is nothing more satisfying or fulfilling than to look into the eyes of my husband, daughters, and son and knowing that we are forever there, for one another; to love and encourage, to uplift and rejoice with, endure and enjoy. Simply put, families really are forever. No doubt about it, family love and support and unity reaches throughout all time and into the deepest unending elements of existence.

Thank you Lindsey Orton, for the patience, professionalism, and talent you shared with our family, and for creating these keepsakes for us to look back on always!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

To Break 2 Hours

I love what president Gordon B. Hinckley once said in a General Conference "try a little harder, to be a little better." I think each day, I can do "a little better" in something.

Last week at the Halloween Half Marathon I finally met the goal I set at the beginning of the year. I wasn't the fastest or fittest nor did I have the best form. Regardless, I set a personal goal in January and after all year of thinking about it, and running a couple of races without training, I realized I would have to try a little harder if I was going to reach that goal. So I did. I gave a two-month training effort, dedicated and motivated. During those two-months, I found that the effort in and of itself, trying harder, brought me to my goal of being better. It wasn't what the clock said at the finish that made me better, and it wasn't my placement in my age division. Simply trying made me, well... simply better. I ran the half in 1:53, a new personal best.

Not every run was great. But every run I tried. I haven't lost all kinds of weight, or become super-fit or incredibly athletic. But I got a little better with a little effort every day. Now what? I met my goal for the year, so what good does it do to head out that front door now, as the mornings grow colder and colder each week?

What I love about running is not so much the run itself--I am not a natural. After multiple marathons and half marathons, I have never experienced a runner's high. I learn a lot from each run though, and I feel like the life-lessons I glean from them are well worth the steps I take, so I keep taking them. And the lessons keep getting better.

As I ran this last race I was pretty focused on my pace-per-mile as they came and went, one by one. Of course by mile 9 or 10, I was starting to feel it and was tempted to slow down. I reminded myself that 2 hours would come and go whether I met my goal or not. Would I be pleased with my efforts? Then my family suddenly came to mind. Dania graduates this year, and Tori in two years. Their time at home will come and go, whether I have spent time with them or not. Will I be pleased with my efforts?

I think I am generally giving a good hard effort in motherhood, but can I try a little harder to be a little better? Always. A game here, some laughs there, a little longer walk, a frozen yogurt run, more memories and more good times. Just as my running goal required daily effort to become better and find success, I will never regret the steps taken and the lessons learned during the allotted time I have been given.

I can't help but look back and realize how very quickly the years fly by. It seems the more I want to slow those years, the faster they rush, like wind on my face and in my hair... uncontrollable, but thrilling to experience. Momentum has certainly set in. May the next 17 be as fulfilling, uplifting, and blessed as the last. I will never forget:

Hospitals and baby smells
Quiet nights and my heart swells
Feeding, bathing, changing too
Singing nighttime songs to you

Finger paints and sidewalk chalk
Bare feet when you start to walk
Beaches, snowmen, sun, and spring
Puppies, kittens, favorite things

Coast to coast, we've seen it all
Oceans wide and mountains tall
History and future too
Little feet in little shoes

Backpacks hanging to your knees
Broken stick-wands from the trees
Nature paths and city streets
Walks and runs and tired feet

Books and bed and story time
Cloud blankets and making rhymes
Cookies, picnics, hikes, and dreams
"Soaring in the sky" it seems

Schoolrooms, teachers, smiles and tears
Growing pains throughout the years
Weddings, changes, growing up
Such a bitter/sweet-ish cup

Middle school and high school days
Friends and races, concerts, plays
Finding time to read a book
Fires, hammocks, cabin nooks

Babies, pictures, family games
Vacations, no two the same
Church and prayer and blessings too
Always saying "I love you"

Road trips, skiing, trampolines
Birthday parties, Christmas things
Good luck posters, wish-you-wells
All the stories you could tell

Dreams of future special days
Setting goals and making ways
Cutting ties and apron strings
Heading off to bigger things......