Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not just a kitchen table...

Some say that with time, things lose their value. In many cases, this is true. But in other cases I believe that with time things not only increase in value, but eventually become priceless. Such is the case with my kitchen table.

We bought our table almost six years ago. When both leaves are put in, it can comfortably seat ten people. The only drawback to it was that it was a close-out and so it came as is...which meant no chairs. We got it anyways. For almost 4 years, we used folding chairs with it because, come to find out, chairs are really expensive when sold separately. Then one day, Cory and I were driving down the road and decided to check out an estate sale, and I'm so glad we did because that is where we found our chairs. Once we brought the chairs home, we decided that we were going to sand them all down and refinish them ourselves. A couple hour project (at least that's what we originally thought) turned into a VERY LONG project that I finally gave up on once I realized that I actually did like the original cream color. So we were left with three chairs that were sanded and four that were not. Which is why we now have three spray painted black chairs and four cream ones. I have always loved the chairs but this last summer I fell in love with them even more when my mom helped me refinish them all with the perfect fabric. Now, each day when I look at those chairs, I think of her. I think of the selfless countless hours that she not only spent last July, but that she has spent my whole life, serving and loving me.

The table no longer has the perfect finish across it, in fact, it is anything BUT perfect. It has nail polish stains, marker spots, scratches and dents all over it. It has been well used and well loved. Upon its surface, hundreds of meals have been eaten, hundreds of pages of homework have been completed, and hundreds of clothes have been folded. I have scrapbooked on it, sewn on it, and sat at it hundreds of thousands of times to read a book, lecture a child, prepare for a lesson, do my visiting teaching reports, make things for my home, school, community, or church. Upon its chairs I have bowed my head in humility as I have listened to the words of a prayer, I have felt gratitude in my heart as I have fed countless numbers of friends, family, missionaries, and neighbors. I have collapsed my head upon its surface as I have laughed harder than I thought possible, and also at other times, as I have prayed and cried for comfort, forgiveness, understanding and relief. Upon its surface, I have made gingerbread houses, rolled out play dough, taught joy school, cut out snowflakes, wrapped presents, and taught my children.

This morning as I wiped the table down for the ten millionth time, I couldn't help but smile as I wiped away the spilled water from Hailey's sippy cup, the cream of wheat from the girls' breakfast, and then put away all four sets of scriptures that were used last night as we sat at our table to read and study from the Book of Mormon. This table of mine is one filled with memories, memories of unforgettable conversations, good company, and millions of moments that have carved character and meaning not only into our table, but into our home, family, and hearts.

Yes, this table may be worthless to somebody else, but to is priceless.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Angels and Running

One of the greatest blessings of my life is and always has been my girl friends. Ever since I was four, I have always had a best friend. My very first best friend was Bree. To this day, I still remember what she looked like, her long beautiful brown hair and her green eyes. Then there was Monica. She had curly black hair, dark brown eyes and light brown skin. She was the first person I ever gave a Book of Mormon to. Then there was Angela. Angela was my best friend for a long long time. All the way from 3rd grade to 8th grade. We moved after 8th grade, but Angela and I continued our friendship. In fact, we still keep in touch occasionally. Then there were my high school friends. I couldn't imagine having gone through high school without them. And of course, I can't forget the best friend who has been by my side my entire life (all though at times I swore she was my enemy), my oldest sister Andrea.

Although Cory is and always will be my very best friend, Heavenly Father must have known that I would continue to need good girl friends in my life because everywhere I have moved, I always seem to find those kind of friends that come into my life and leave me a better person. Unfortunately, I am not very good at staying in touch like I should, but I think about each of my friends regularly...wondering how they are doing, where they are at, and if they have any idea the impact that they have made in my life. Each one has a special place in my heart and will never be forgotten. These friends have been angels in my life...teaching, supporting, and loving me in their own unique ways.

This morning, our family and three others drove down to the temple. Two couples did a session while the other two stayed with all the children. Then we switched. Of course it was wonderful, going to the temple always is, but there were a couple of things that made this time even more wonderful than usual. Two of them are too personal to share on a blog, but the other one happened while I was in the dressing room. I looked over and saw two of my friends in their white temple dresses talking to one another. These two friends are not just any friends. They are my 5:30 am running buddies. I have ran with them in pouring rain, icy wind, snow, and crazy cold temperatures. Why would we be so insane? Because we are training for a marathon. One morning this last week I missed our morning run and so one of them came over to my house with her children to watch my girls so that I could get my miles in for the day. When I tried to talk her out of doing such a sweet thing, she texted me the following, "You forget that we are in this together and the more you are trained, the more I am and the better we will run the big M." As I looked at the two of them in the temple, I thought of what she had written and I realized the truth of what she had said. You see, we really are all in this together. Yes, right now we are training for a marathon, but in the race of life we are training for something much bigger and much greater. We are running to win the greatest prize of all, the prize of eternal life.

As I looked at my two friends, they never looked more beautiful to me than they did right then, standing in the temple dressed in white . How grateful I am to know that I am not alone in this race of life. I am not only running along side my loving and devoted husband, I am also running with angels, some that I am trying to recruit, some that are running by my side, and others who I am following from behind. Angels who are here in my life right now for a specific purpose and others who have ran by my side through miles of intense rain, snow, and even the brisk winds of trial and suffering. In fact, I'm pretty sure some have even carried me for a time. Just as it has with all of my other "running buddies", the time will eventually come in our lives that our mortal paths will diverge into different directions, but I know that as long as we continue our "training" that one day we will cross the victory line together. But until then, I will continue my race, praying to get better with time, and daily thanking the Lord for all the angels in my life, those who are running beside me, and those who are cheering me on from the finish line.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Big Sister

I walked into the bedroom and found Makayla stripped down to nothing because Hailey had decided to change her diaper.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

While Cory's parents were here last week, Cory took me on an afternoon date to the "mountains". This place is BEAUTIFUL!! It is a park that is made specifically for road and trail hiking, biking, walking, and running. It is one of our favorite places around here. I have been biking and running on the roads but I've never been biking on the trails before. It was a first for me and I absolutely LOVED it!!! We had such a great time doing it together. Cory is actually really good at it. He and some of his friends go mountain biking at least once or twice a week together. He just loves biking period. He likes to road bike but recently he has become a huge fan of mountain biking. I wanted to see what it was all about. It is actually probably the most extreme sport I've ever done on land ( sky coasting and parasailing are the most extreme sports I've done), although I guess skiing can be an extreme sport for some, and I guess last year our date night on the Harley while I was pregnant was pretty extreme and probably completely crazy of me (although, it is one of my favorite memories ever). Anyways, it was such a fun date for us.

On Saturday, Cory and I took the girls back to this same spot to ride on the "roads" (paved trails) that wind through the "mountains" (more like huge hills but they are absolutely beautiful and covered with pine trees and deer). We decided to leave Makayla home with Grandma and Grandpa (the babies usually ride together in a bike trailer that Cory pulls), but it was so weird not having her with us. It's so funny how our family of five that used to feel so big, feels so small and incomplete without our little Makayla. I so look forward to the day when our family of six will be reunited and complete with seven, our perfect little Clairisa. In fact, did you know that in Hebrew the number seven is symbolic for complete and whole? Pretty cool, huh? Our family biking trip was the perfect way to spend the last day of 2011. It was a great year for us, and we are looking forward to another wonderful year in 2012. One filled with more memories, moments, and milestones that will not only matter, but that will mold us into the kind of people that we want to become. Here's to a wonderful 2012!

Five and a Half Months

She is rolling over like crazy! Last night while I was cooking dinner, she rolled over and over from one side of the kitchen to the other. It was hilarious. She is such a joy in my life. I love her like crazy!!! I took these pictures yesterday during the day. She had been so quiet in her crib so I thought she'd fallen asleep. When I went in to check on her she had spit up all over her face but looked up at me with the most precious smile ever. I tried to capture it, but of course the pictures just don't do the moment justice.

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