Tuesday, May 30, 2023

I won't back down

This evening was the annual FFA banquet, where my boys were
recognized and awarded for all their hard work and dedication 
during the year. It was held in the local church building with
first-class Southern food and sweet tea. 
(Which we don't drink, but it's a Southern staple
and I really wanted to share that).
Both boys received several awards, and I was so proud.
But, this banquet was a mixed bag of emotions for me.
For one thing, Ollie wasn't there to receive his awards and cords
for his graduation next month, and since he's a senior, they
did a little spotlight on him, too.
I cried through it.
This was the only pic we got of his spotlight. Nailed it!

It's pretty incredible that he's in Brazil serving 
a full-time mission, but it makes me sad to see
all his buddies and friends graduating together without him.
But the truth is, he doesn't care.
He worked really hard to graduate early to get on his mission 
as soon as he turned 18 in January, and 
I know he's very happy where he's at right now.
So, I am too!
Gigs was a good brother to receive the awards on Ollie's behalf.
I remember last year at the FFA banquets talking about how
Ollie probably wouldn't be at this ceremony, thinking it 
would never come.
And here we are, and Ollie is gone.
There were quite a few awards that were given out that night
and lots of claps.
Lottie got a little bored, and so this happened:

I was asked several weeks ago if I'd share a little bit of my story 
which I was so happy to do!
(They introduced me as a "motivational speaker,"
well, sheesh, thank you!).

I shared about the hard times I endured and how I overcame them with 
the help of, first and foremost, God, my family, and my friends,
hard work, dedication, and perseverance.
This was the only photo (which was a screenshot from
the video that Lottie was talking while I spoke.
 (Thanks, Lod!)

I told them to keep pushing themselves up their mountains
that they will inevitably encounter in life.
But they will find tremendous strength and wisdom if they fight
for their happiness, for their future, and never back down.
Then I ended my remarks by quoting the legendary (and my favorite),
 Tom Petty and his song "Won't Back Down."
"Well, I won't back down
No, I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down
No, I'll stand my ground
Won't be turned around...
I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I'll stand my ground
And I won't back down".
I love that they call Nicholas "Gigs,"
I actually wonder if anyone knows his real name is, Nicholas?

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