Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hope

Today, I was reading in my new Sarah Eden book 'For Love or Honor" (yes, I'm a sappy regency romance reader; let's just get that out of the way now) about a soldier who lost his leg in battle talking to the girl he loves and she confesses that she feared for his life in the months he was gone, and sometimes still feels it pressing down on her.  But it was her next words that struck me:

"I could not have lived if you were gone."

Multiple thoughts and feelings went through me at once....  

Understanding, resentment, empathy, envy, and even a small bit of hatred for this fictional character.

I said those exact same words; said them so many times I believed them.  I no longer have the luxury of saying those words, and haven't for quite some time. 

But, it's amazing what one can do when you are pushed --shoved is more like it-- far beyond the edge of what you thought you could not do. 

In November 2008, while Micheal was on one of his days long missions, I wrote him a four page hand-written letter (the only letter of all the letters I sent him that returned with his personal effects), telling him how much I missed him and that not hearing from him for days felt like what it would be like if he didn't come home.  Just the thought of never hearing his laugh or sarcastic wit again, never seeing him play with his sons or feeling his arms wrap around me again... it felt hollow, cold, and sterile.  It broke my heart.

Three months later, that fearful thought became my reality, and it didn't just break my heart.  It broke me.

That sentence I read in my book today vividly took me back in my mind to eight and a half years ago.  I'm standing in front of Micheal's casket in the RS room, 10 minutes before his funeral is supposed to start.  There are literally only a handful of people in the room with me.  We've said the family prayer, I've placed all his favorite things (M&M's, socks, shorts, book, and his Country Bear; it's a long story) in there to keep him company.  I want more than anything to just crawl in there with him and not face what is ahead of me.  Instead, I summon the courage to lean down and gently kiss his forehead.  His skin is cold and stiff, and I leave a small imprint of my Apricot Glaze lipstick on him; one last piece of myself I can give.

I stand back as they close his casket.  The barely audible noise of the lid settling sounds like a sledgehammer in my ears.  It is the sound of finality.  Everything inside of me splinters, and I want to run out the door and never stop.  

But I can't.  I'm one of the speakers on the program and I owe it to Micheal to honor his life, his sacrifice, and what he means to me. So I straighten my shoulders the best I can and walk in the chapel to do just that.  Micheal was a soldier, valiant and true, and in my own way, I feel like a soldier heading into the hardest battle I will ever have to fight.... and it will never stop until I am dead as well.  

Because the phrase "I could not have lived if you were gone," is what we say when we still have EVERYTHING to lose.  We cannot imagine it because we have not been placed there. 

When you find yourself on the other side of those words, you realize you can, indeed, still live.  Don't get me wrong; it sucks, big time, and there are moments, some short and some lengthy, that shove you underwater where you feel like you can scarcely breath.  But there are moments of beauty, tender mercies, compassion, and love that make it bearable.

The greatest one of all, though, is HOPE.

That is what the Savior does.  He gives us hope.  He gives me hope.  

He picks up all the broken, wounded pieces of myself and holds me together.  He gives me the strength to push on, always moving forward, always forward.  He gives me the hope of a sweet reunion on a distant day, in a far better world. 

That is a hope that is worth living for.







Saturday, October 14, 2017

First Pathway Reunion


I can't believe it has already been almost three months since our last Pathway Gathering!  Our very first week there, Brother Cannon (our missionary dad) told us that there are no coincidences and that we are here at this place, right now, for a reason.  Not that I ever doubted him, but boy, was he right!

I love these people and didn't want to lose contact so I decided to do a semi-annual get together.  We had a smaller turnout but that's the beauty of doing two a year continuously.  We can always meet up another time.  We had a great time, laughing about things from our class and catching up on what we've been up to lately.  The Lord truly blessed me with this group of friends in my life.  Till next time!!

Amy, Troy, Amy, Brother Cannon, Sheila, Sister Cannon, Ellen

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Region!


 Today was Region XC!  I can't believe it's already Kai's last race for the season.  He has really improved since he first started.  The alumni race took him about 36 minutes (lots of hills and it was HOT!!) and he finished Region at about 25 minutes and it was 0.1 miles longer than the usual cross country courses. 

I love this time of year!  I can practically smell xc in the air.  It brings back a ton of memories for me; when I was in high school running, going with Micheal to watch my brother, Jordan, run.  How I wish I could be cheering Kai on with Micheal next to me (yes, I know he is there, but when I say things like that I always mean in a physical sense). 

Way to go Kai Kai!!  (Thanks also to my sister for getting these amazing shots)








Kai took Colt with him on his big run! 


These pictures were posted on the local newspaper, The Herald Journal.  We noticed an enthusiastic fan with long hair leaning over to get a good view of the Varsity girls finish. *Jamie* hahaha!



Jamie and I both noticed at earlier meets that the kid in the middle with the white hair sprints like crazy at the end.  It's insane how fast he goes in!  His hair color makes it so easy to spot him so we always joke that it looks like we have a creepy obsession with him because we are always watching him as he runs.  We used to call him "Blondie" but that was quite obvious who we were talking about and only upped our creepiness factor, so we let Jimmy Fallon make the final call and he's now known as Clint Gannon.  

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Alleman Family Dinner


I love the Alleman family dinner.  Grandma (91 years old) works so hard to keep our family close. We have family camp every year for a week and then this dinner before her and Peggy head to Arizona for the winter.  I have thought a lot of times that I am closer to Micheal's cousins (which are also mine, I'm just stating that they're from his side originally) than my own. 

  We had a soup bar for lunch and a caramel apple bar for dessert.  Oh boy, I ate WAY more than I should have but it was so good!

There were lots of activities to do and it was so warm I thought I would have to go put on sunscreen.  We did pumpkin painting and I did Gene Simmons from KISS just for Micheal.  Kennet did a Davy Jones pumpkin and I feel bad that I don't really have any pictures of Kai since he was off playing with his cousins. 

I also got to hold Gretchen for a little bit.  That cat is a fighter.  She is 17 years old and weighs next to nothing but she keeps going.  I think the time is close to let her go, her poor body is old and she can't really see out of one eye.  It makes me so sad to think about. 

We have an amazing family!











Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Spa Day

My sister, Kimberlee, was an absolute angel and surprised me with a trip to a spa for my birthday present!  I've never been to a professional massage place before so I was quite excited. 

We went to the Beyond Day Spa in Layton but we hit Krispy Kreme Doughnuts first and tallied up a dozen goodies that oozed custard and raspberry filling.  We needed our energy for laying on a table for the next 80 minutes. :)

To say that those 80 minutes were amazing would be an understatement galore.  We had a pre-massage foot soak with warm neck wraps and soothing music.  And the massage?  I've never had 80 minutes fly by so quickly!  It was really difficult for Kimberlee and I to get off our tables and find the energy to get dressed.  We ate at the Philly Steak Shop, which was a favorite place for Kim and Josh to eat when they lived in West Point.  Their Italian is divine! 

Of course I can't forget the part after our massages where we were driving to lunch and I had a chuck full mouth of water when Kimberlee said she needed a "McNapperson" so bad (that's code for "nap") and it hit a major funny bone with me and I spewed water all over her dashboard.  We could not stop laughing!

By the grace of the heavens we made it to my house in one piece because we were so incredibly tired and took a nap until it was time to pick up the kids from school. 

I would love to say that we have some awesome pictures from our adventures, but really, we have none.  I did get a few nice pictures from our drive in the canyon and one in my driveway, though.  Score!  Thank you, Bimby, for an epically awesome day! 





Sunday, October 1, 2017

General Conference Weekend

I always love General Conference weekend and listening the inspiring talks from the servants of the Lord.  I wish I had been like that for my youth.  I'm positive I could have spared myself a lot of grief and stupid mistakes. 

I try to have a few questions in my mind before conference and oh boy, President Uchtdorf's talk answered every single one of them, I was in tears!  Did I mention he was the very first speaker? The boys and I spent Saturday with Kimberlee and her kids since Josh was out hunting.  Spending any time with her always speeds by.  Josh got home with enough time to clean up and take my boys out to the Priesthood session with my brothers and dad. 

Jamie sent me pictures of her scrapbook that had mine and Micheal's wedding day and one from family camp when we were first married.  I can't get over how small her, Molly, and Andrew are!






Can't forget that awesome moment when you're going over your Conference notes and realize that you accidentally combined two separate thoughts.... haha!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cache Box

Cache Box is probably the biggest race outside of Region and State for the x-country season.  There were 10 schools there for it: Mountain Crest, Ridgeline, Logan, Green Canyon, Sky View, Bear River, West Side, Preston, Malad, and Box Elder.  That's a lot of kids!

There was not a cloud in the sky but there was a cool breeze at least.  MC Varsity girls took first, barely edging out Ridgeline (61-65).  Kai did awesome, cutting three minutes off his time since he last ran this course!  We're so proud of him!  



Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tender Mercies

Today was one of those days.  

The kind of day where I want to pull the covers over my head and stay there (and I did).  A day that seems like I can feel each tick of my heartbeat and every one of them stretches out into oblivion.  The kind of day where it hurts to breathe and the pain of Micheal's death feels raw and sharp, like the first day all over again.  

It's hard to explain to people sometimes, so I seldom do; mostly because I've been burned way too many times by the commentary of others.  My pain is something that I keep tucked up close, disclosing the full array only to those that I trust it with.

I know that part of the roughness I'm feeling is the season.  Fall time is one of my favorite times of the year and I can't help but both remember the activities we'd do as our little family and long for the opportunity to continue doing so.  Fall also represents the looming season of holidays, birthdays, anniversaries that sometimes feel like a checklist of all that is different in my life.  Holidays are always hard.  This year will be our 10th season without Micheal and it never gets easier.  Harsh, but true.

My heart cried out to God for release, to help me endure this heartache of living this life without my best friend.  I can't do it. How can I possibly do this? Please, please, please don't make me do it.  It really did feel like the first day all over again because my prayer was equally as fervent.  

I needed an escape.  It took a Herculean effort to pull myself out from under the covers, get dressed into my workout clothes and get my butt out the door.  Going for a walk always brings me to the Hyrum cemetery; almost like I am on autopilot.  No matter where I start or wind my way through, I always end up there.  

I sat with Micheal and just cried.  I cried and cried and cried until I'm pretty sure I had nothing left inside of me.  I told him how much I missed his laugh and wit and the way he makes me smile, even when I'm mad at him.  I miss his towel on the bathroom floor and how he always sneaks cookie dough out of the mixing bowl.  The smallest things are what I miss the most, like waking up to see him laying next to me, or brushing our teeth together.  I wondered to him how long we'd have to wait to finally be together again.

Usually, I lean my body against our headstone, but today, I didn't.  I turned to look at our headstone, at his side, for what must have felt like the millionth time and wondered how I ever missed it.  Here's the thing, I didn't miss it.  Somehow, the Lord preserved my sight until this day to notice the "A" that is mixed in with his books and bike, two earthly things he loved.  Micheal's military journals had my name written all over in them and I knew this was Micheal's way of telling me he loves me and misses me just as much. 

Once again, the Lord pulled through for me and never leaves me comfortless.  This has been here all along, but today was the day He needed me to find it, because today is the day he knew I would need it most.  

I didn't magically skip home, whistling a jaunty tune, though.  It still was a difficult day to get through, but the Lord gave me that assurance that He is aware of me and what I am going through.  I love and live for those tender mercies.  



 And I've found that whenever I am feeling down a bit, all I have to do is look at this meme and I laugh.  Every single time. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Track Meet


Kai was supposed to be running at Bear River tomorrow but the weather made them change schedule and they decided to do a two mile track race at Ridegline.  It didn't even start until 8:00PM and we thought it would only be a boys and girls race.  Nope.  There were three heats for the girls and two for the boys.  Kai didn't even run until 9:00PM and the rest of us (Jamie, Kennet, and Sarah) were all wishing we'd gone to Little Caesar's to get that pizza because we were starving!

Kennet and Sarah spent most of the meet walking back and forth to the bleachers on the opposite side, Kennet playing his toy saxophone and begging me for a real one when he deigned to visit us, while Jamie and I tried to not become frozen by the cold breeze blowing.  Kudos to Kai for running in such weather!  

He had a good race and I was proud of his honesty when the race authority person told him he had four laps left and Kai told him he actually had five.  Little Caesar's was the first place we hit when it was done and oh boy did we enjoy those pizzas!







Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mountain Crest VS Sky View

Kai had his first cross country race today... yes, on the first day of school.  When I ran, the home course was at a park in Hyrum and involved a LOT of hills.  A couple of years ago, they moved it to the American West Heritage Center and while it's a bit more of a drive, it's a fantastic course to run on. Hills, dirt roads, corn fields, etc.  There's also lots of places for spectators to cheer on their runners without feeling like you're running as much as they are. 

Way to go, Kai! Great job on your first official race of your cross-country adventure!



#farmerstan