Saturday, January 31, 2009

This is Torrey in HEAVEN


See that little red dot in the middle of the picture? That is my darling Torrey in his version of Heaven...even though with the picture quality it sort of resembles that OTHER place... Anyway, I have been filled with many tender thoughts lately that I have wanted to share about this wonderful man of mine. You will notice that in this photo he is only LOOKING (perhaps fondling) the golf clubs, but not buying. He won't buy new ones until the clubs he has have all fallen apart and gone back into mother earth from whence they came. (Does that actually happen?) He reminds me of that precious little story (or talk, or something) that I once heard and it is called something like, "Grandma loves the backs." It is about a poor family that lives on a farm and everytime they have chicken, they make sure that Grandma gets the backs because she has made it very clear that she prefers that piece above all others. Only later in life do they finally figure out that she always requested that piece because it had so little meat on it. It was her way of sacrificing for her beloved family. I am married to just such a man. He wears every single piece of clothing that he owns until it is threadbare and worn out. He will have the same dollar in his pocket at the end of the month that he had there at the beginning. He would rather come home and forage for leftovers (no matter how many times he has eaten them because the rest of us are sick to death of them) than stop and pay a dollar for a burger. Do not be mistaken-- he is not cheap, he is frugal, and I love him dearly for it. He is a man of rare quality in today's world. As the years go by, I am more and more grateful for the self-sacrificing qualities that he has. He really would do anything for our family. I know that there is no pride in him that would keep him from cleaning gas station toilets if it was necessary to provide for our family. I cannot even count the times I have been amazed at the sacrifices that he has made for one of us. He is the one we all turn to when the going gets tough. I honestly don't know anyone else that would do the things that he has done and continues to do for us. There are too many tender stories to even tell, but one that I know he won't mind if I share happened when we went to Italy to pick Shelli up from her mission. She had bought a lovely blue scarf that she treasured. It was beautiful and it was the perfect keepsake to bring home from her mission. As we were travelling by train one day, we got off and started to walk away, only to realize that she had left her scarf on the train. Torrey sprinted back to the train that was already preparing to leave the station, rushed back to our seats, grabbed to scarf, and leaped off just before the train pulled away. He came running back to Shelli and I grinning from ear to ear and waving the scarf above his head. Now was this life and death? Did this really matter in the big scheme of things? No. But for his little missionary daughter, it showed the depth of his love for her, and the lengths that he was willing to go for her happiness. And that just made that little blue scarf all the dearer to her. I loved him for it, too, and it is truly one of countless times where he has done literally all that he can to be the superhero for our family. I have such love, appreciation and admiration for him. I want him to know that I don't know anyone who can hold a candle to him in that way. He always goes the extra mile for us. He always sacrifices for us. He always makes us feel that we are the most important people in the world to him, and he doesn't just give it lip service--he does every single thing that he can to be our hero, day in and day out. One more story: Shelli was born while we were still in college, and it was necessary that I work to help make ends meet. I had graduated while pregnant with her, so my schooling was done. Torrey was still going to school full time and working a lot of hours. We both knew that it was imperative that I work, although neither of us wanted me to have to do it. We arranged it so that Torrey would always be home with Shelli when I went to work, and the wheels were in motion for my return. All the wheels in our heads were in motion, that is, but my heart was not cooperating at all. I was a mess. The thought of leaving my precious little baby made me physically sick. I could not do it! Each time I was set to go back to work, my body would exhibit all the signs that my brain was trying to push down, since it seemed there was no way for us to make it without my part time income. I was sick as a dog, body and spirit. I clearly remember the day that Torrey walked through our front door while I was preparing once again to force myself back to work. He walked up to me and put his arms around me and held me tight. He told me that he had gone and talked to my boss and explained that I just could not come back to work yet. He made arrangements for me start back to work in January, which was a couple months away, and he said that no matter what, he didn't want me to even think about going back to work until then. He and I both knew that financially we needed me to go back to work immediately, but his love for me trumped everything else. He told me that we would make it. He would make sure that we did, and that all would be well. I have never loved anyone on earth as much as I loved him at that moment. That was a gift that to this day can bring a tear to my eye. That is the kind of man that I married, and for that I am eternally grateful.
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Told ya so...


Twelve of these kinds of pictures to get one normal one. :)
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Lunching with the folks


Shauna is getting very tired of being the star of my blog....I will blame her for my giant void on the blog-o-sphere. :) She is starting to run every time I take out my camera. And moments like this might be why...Here we were having lunch in Walnut Creek when Shauna had the day off school, and Torrey was close enough to meet us there. I could not leave well enough alone, but had to whip out the camera and snap away... oh well. It was SO fun! We always have a blast together. I'm trying not to think about the precious moments like these that we will miss when she is gone.
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Coach Glen


Encouraging his wrestlers as always. We are sure thankful for him!
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Positive reinforcement


I miss the rah-rah-sis-boom-bah posters that are placed up around High School athletic events. This one grabbed my attention today at an Antioch wrestling tournament. It reminds me of the good old days when we spent nearly every weekend at one of those (stinky) events while our son Kevin was a mightly wrestler. I look back on that time with such fondness that I actually burst into tears today while watching our coach interacting with his current wrestlers. For one thing, he was an absolute blessing to have as a coach. He never demeaned or screamed or did any of the many other damaging things that we saw going on in other teams. Instead, he uplifted and encouraged and taught and taught and taught. Because he handled them in that way, he made his wrestlers want to do anything and everything they could to win those understated pats on the back that meant the world to them. I will post more about him in another blog, but I want to talk a little more about how much those years of wrestling shaped my son into the (gulp) man he is today. The benefits go far beyond the obvious--physical strength, endurance, self-control. They make a package that in my opinion cannot be duplicated. Kevin went without food, sleep, fun, and missed many other activities while he was in training during wrestling season. While trying to cut weight (which, I must admit, was the WORST part of wrestling) he had to exercise incredible amounts of self control and self discipline. Wrestling season just happens to be taking place over the major holiday season, so we are talking about Thanksgiving, Christmas, New get the picture. But the biggest area of growth comes during the matches themselves. You have to keep trying when you feel like you are going to die any second. You have to work the hardest you have ever worked when your body is screaming at you to stop. It's truly amazing. Your mind and body have to been working in complete harmony, and you can be permanently damaged if you or someone else does something wrong. It's a brutal sport, but it's also a beautiful sport. There is just something about a young person who is willing to work that hard at that age. You cannot be successful at wrestling without a LOT of hard work. And I don't mean hard work when you feel like it. I mean hard work day in and day out. Hard work when you are sick, weak, tired...that is the only way you can get through that third period and come out victorious. And that brings me back to Kevin. He put his heart into that sport and it changed an already wonderful young man into a superb wrestler. But more importantly, it taught him a lesson in life that says "YOU CAN". If you want to do something really well, work towards it and YOU CAN. If you want to get a 4.0 your freshman year of college, work hard, make sacrifices, and YOU CAN. If you want to be a wonderful missionary, work hard, stay focused, and YOU CAN. I could go on and on....I am so grateful for that example and that lesson that I learned right along with my son. I just need to remind myself when times get tough, that I need to dig a little deeper, resist the wrong and embrace the right, and say over and over and over to myself, "If you want it bad enough.....YOU CAN."
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Anyone need to move your prized possessions?


As Torrey and I were driving through Pittsburg this afternoon, we came upon this vehicle. For many, many reasons my own personal family will find it hilarious, but I just thought I'd publish it for any of you who need to move your cherished possessions. Good 'ol me--just trying to help a guy build up his business......
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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cheers, Grandma!


Celebrating the New Year with our beloved Mom/Grandma Lowder.
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Happy New Year


I totally forgot that I took pictures at our wild and crazy New Year's Eve party...Better late than never--HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Beautiful cousins ready for the New Year's Eve dance


These two are just the cutest, most fun girls you will ever meet! They are the dearest of friends--and hope to be roomies at college next year....Watch out, boys!!!!!!!!!!
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