Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Power of Words

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, 
but words will never hurt me.”


I recall hearing these very words as a young child.  
I did not question their validity; 
I don’t know that I even gave them much of a thought.  
It was just something we would call out if we needed a boost of courage during an ugly moment.  
It would often end the dispute and all was well.  
As an adult, I take issue with this statement.

Words have lasting effect for good or otherwise.  
And once spoken cannot be taken back.
Words contain power; 
they have a force that penetrates deep within.  
When used correctly, our words build, support and encourage.  
When used incorrectly, the damage is far greater than any stick or stone could inflict.
Words can help us to achieve our best and highest aspirations or leave us feeling distraught and defeated.

All too often, we don’t consider how meaningful and impactful the words we share with the world may be.  
Are we building or demolishing?  
Are we cheering and sustaining 
or discouraging and condemning?  

This world needs a little more tenderness, warmth and affection…
and what better place to start than in our very homes?!

As we ponder the words that may come from our lips to the ones we most cherish in this world, we would do well to choose them wisely. 
In our home, I have the words, 
"The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice",

displayed where I see them many times each day.  
There is a purpose in this.  
I cannot say that I have always thought before speaking, 
or that I have always chosen the very best words to share with those I love.  
There are times of high frustration that I speak and wish I could take back the ugliness that flew from my mouth, but I cannot.  
Knowing all too well the lasting effect of harsh words, I strive to be better and to share words of kindness and encouragement with our kids. 
The words spoken to us 
as well as the words we tell ourselves, 
have a lasting footprint on our hearts.  
And just as the quote above states, 
the words we hear directed to us become our inner voice.  
I wish for the inner voice of my children to be filled with all the positives this world has and be spared the negative, heartbreaking thoughts they would be better off without.   

When I think of how my words impact others, I draw in a deep breath, and choose biting my tongue near in half, if necessary, just to spare the negative effects of a nasty word during moments of strife and contention.
As a mother, I would like the power of my words to be for good – to boost our children, to enlighten, to inspire, to motivate and invigorate, to embolden and fortify them against all that life may throw their way.  
The last thing they need is a mother to use words that might kill the beautiful spirit they possess, or to belittle and deprecate the amazing power they have within.  
So I will be shouting out all the beautiful words that come to mind as I think of how lucky I am to be the mother of this amazing family! 
What words would you choose to share with your kids if you had but just a few words to leave them with???
Wishing you a month filled with powerful words that will create lasting bonds between you and your sweet families!
Hugs!

Stacey

(Written as DHSA President's Message for April)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Singing, Baptisms, Bike Riding and Trials.....

News from Danielle...she has been having a bit of a rough time, sometimes girls are not the very nicest, but she is happy and doing well.  Check out her happy stories below.  :)

It's the best week ever!
I have way too many good stories to tell, and I probably won't get to them all, SO I'll start with the happiest.
>>>>SISTER SCHNEIDER GOT BAPTIZED<<<<<<
It was such an incredible day.
Brother Schneider had kept the program a secret from his wife, and had planned it all out for her.
The chapel was totally packed. 
She had family from out of town come in, 
all kinds of friends, 
and basically the whole ward there to support their family.

Sister Shumway and I sang Come Thou Fount. 
(What I would have given to be there to hear my sweet girl sing this song!!!)

It was a really pretty arrangement, but Sister Schneider cried through the whole thing. 
Afterwards she asked if Andy had changed the song on us last second. We told her that we hadn't, that it had been planned for several weeks. 
A few days before her baptism, they watched a movie with that song in it and she told us how much she fell in love with it. 
How perfect is that?
Once all the talks and things were finished, we went into the font room, (which was too full to fit everyone,) and her husband, Andy, baptized her. 
The feelings in that room were so strong. 
When she came out of the water, her face was just beaming. 
They hugged and basically everyone in the room who wasn't already crying, started crying. And then they all clapped :) it was so sweet.

Truth- Sometimes being a missionary isn't very fun, or happy, or exciting. 
And sometimes you just want to go to bed forever.   :(
(This mom wants to hop on the next plane and go wrap her arms around her girl...but instead, I will love her from here and encourage and uplift her every chance I get...
but wait for it, 
her strength shines through!!!)
But after seeing their family grow together and know that they can now become and eternal family, it's all worth it.   :)
Every bad day, 
every mean person, 
every disappointment, 
so what? 
NOTHING could feel so good as the spirit in the church last Saturday. 
I'd do it all again just for that. 
The church is so true. 
I know it. 
(are you crying, because I sure am...she is just amazing!)

Some other crazy things from the week:
We rode bikes! 
It was awful... 
(one of those "not fun" things haha.) 
My dang bike was falling apart on me all day long! 
The front tire and handlebars like to turn in opposite directions. 
The handlebars also like to fall off. 
The seat isn't stationary. 
The chain sometimes likes to go on vacation. 
BUT I LIVED! 
One of the many 'pit stops' I had to take took place in front of a house. 
On that house was a porch. 
On that porch were some men. 
The following narration depicts our conversation:
"Yaaaall like ta party?"
*ignore*
(louder) "Yall like ta party?"
*super ignore*
"WELL EXCUSE ME! GET OFF OF MY PROPERTY!"
Bahahahaha. 
Silly guy thought I had intentions of STAYING on "his" property. 
 
We also met our mailman this week 
(while we were locked out of our apartment...oops
"I'm John, John Bytheway" 
Either he's mocking us, or in disguise. 
We're not really sure which....
 
Quann Quote of the week:
"Where's that brother with the 8 kids?"
"They ALL have 8 kids..."
 
"The trials of life can be very deep and we are not shallow people if we struggle with them." -Elder Holland

So love this sweet girl...she strengthens me each time I hear from her.  Wow, do I miss her this week, must be because of Easter and knowing she has been struggling.  I love her testimony and her willingness to endure, stay true and keep pushing even during the hard times.  I think I'll go cuddle with my little ones, maybe that will help the ache in my heart a little.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Holy Magical Taco Bell!

The latest from sweet Danielle!
She sounded soooo great this week...just made my heart sing to feel the happiness in her emails.  Enjoy!

Transfer week!
Well, Sister Anderson was finally voted off the Island. 
And now, Sister Shumway is here! 
She is super fun. 
We're both redheads
and we get a lot of comments on that.
I think the ward is worried that we're going to cause trouble or something....

She is from Snowflake, Arizona, and we are having a ton of fun together!
We also got a new elder in our area. I managed to convince him I was from Canada. It was a pretty good lie, until I decided to tell him the truth. I'm shocked he believed me lol.

On to the good news: 
We got our car back!! We did fairly well without it for a few days, but it sure rained a lot this week! We were super grateful to have it back Saturday and Sunday though... that's when the rain was the worst. 
On Sunday the drizzle turned into a huge rainstorm, 
then to a huge snow storm, 
then to hail, 
and then back to rain... 
and I was so well prepared for it 
that I was wearing cloth shoes and everything. Haha. 
When I got home that night, they were so wet that they oozed every time I took a step and I had to ring my socks out :P

Miracle of the week! 
We were carpooling to Sykesville with the elders while our car was in the shop, and on the way home they decided they were starving 
(typical, they are always starving) 
and so we stopped at Taco Bell. 
Taco Bell is always a good place to go, 
but there's something special about this Taco Bell. 
Before we walked in I told them that EVERY time I go there, I wind up finding someone new to teach, or I meet someone important that gives us someone to teach. So they laugh and said yeah right. And we walked in. The cashier started talking to me and says, 
"There were some ladies in here earlier who were having a bible study. They go to the Church on Slacks Road." (THAT'S OUR CHURCH!) "I can't go this week cause I'm working, but she got my phone number and told me that she'd bring the sister missionaries over to my house. 
Are you the sister Missionaries?"

HOLY.
MAGICAL.
TACO BELL.

What did I tell those elders?
Did we find, or did we find?

I stinking love that Taco Bell. It's so nice.

Other than that, the General Women's Broadcast Saturday night was INCREDIBLE. If you missed it, watch at LEAST the last talk
You can find it on LDS.org. 
It was so good!
Have a happy week!
Sister Lytle

Monday, March 24, 2014

Punctuation Matters

This was a FANTASTIC MONDAY for this Mom!!!
I was able to email back and forth with Danielle for quite some time...she is such a crack up!  
She is not being transferred again, but is getting a new companion. 
She is happy to be staying with the families she is working with, sad to see her companion go, but also excited to meet a new companion.
Change is hard, but she is resilient.  :)

And she told me this was 
THE BEST WEEK EVER!
Read her news below:

Welcome to the week of all weeks!
This has really been one of the most eventful weeks of my life.
To start out with- 
I caught 
and killed 
a mouse 
that had snuck into our apartment, 
all by myself! 
It was terrible. 
I don't like mice...
but I succeeded and have taken back the apartment from the horrid vermin.
Sister Anderson was no help.
...Unless you qualify screaming her head off and pushing me off my chair (so that she could stand on it, instead of taking the chair NEXT to me) as being helpful :P

Then- March 22nd. 
The day that has been in my prayers for the past two months.
But seriously, 
every single prayer has included, 
"And please bless Sister Schneider that she'll get her answer to be baptized on March 22nd."
Every.
Single.
Prayer.
Even my food prayers.
Well, a week and a half before, she called off the date because she didn't feel ready yet, and we moved it to April 19th
Which was totally fine! 
But it did make me feel a little bit sad because we had PROMISED her that if she would set a date to be baptized on (3/22) that she WOULD get her answer to be baptized on that date.
So she set it and did EVERYTHING she was supposed to do. 
There was no reason she didn't have an answer.
But it was okay. We were just being patient.

"Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you."

So... 
we've been asking and she's been asking... 
and we were getting a little anxious over all this, 
cause it's a make it or break it. 
And this is kind of a big deal!
We knew she'd either get her answer and be baptized now, or else it was going to be a loooong wait for their family.
On Friday (3/21) we went to the DC Temple Visitors Center and did a tour. 
It was amazing... 
the spirit was so strong. 
I was in shock the whole time at how good it felt there.

The next day, Sister Anderson and I decided to go to Rita's for my first time.
(I am guessing Rita's is a restaurant???) 
Which was odd because we'd just eaten and it was still early, but... we went anyways. And as we got up to the window, the Schneiders pulled up!
Brother Schneider had to go next door to make some copies, and Krista talked to us for a few minutes. When he came back out he looked at her and said, 
"So, have you told them the good news yet?"
-WHAT-
--WHAT--
WHAT?!???!??!!!
And then she told us that she had decided to be baptized.
And we all started screaming and crying.

They're already planning on being sealed in a year.
When we asked her what finally did it for her, she told us, 
"Well it was yesterday at the temple, 
and I just knew I needed to be sealed to my family. 
So I needed to get baptized."

AMAZING.
Here's the tricky part.
We'd been praying for her to get her answer to be baptized on March 22nd.
She got her answer to be baptized, on March 22nd.
I need to start punctuating my prayers...
(Sooooo love the way this girl thinks!!!  :)  )

THEN, that night, 
I went to dinner 
and we were having 
ginger brown sugar chicken, 
AND I LIKED IT. 
I reeeeally liked it.
So weird.

3/22. Most monumental day of my life.
First time going to Rita's.
Sister Schneider's getting baptized
And I ate meat that I liked.

Pretty good, eh?
Well, lot's of other wonderful things happened  this week too... I wish I had time to talk about them all.
Here's a basic run down,
We met Sister Schneiders sister and mother (again) and they love us. She's such a little missionary already!
We went to Café Rio with the Schneiders!
Everyone and their dog came over to talk to us because they were so excited to see sister missionaries.
So excited, they even bought us our dinner!

Then we had someone hit on us in Walmart (story of our lives) and he told us that "thick girls are in. Thick is what get's you a husband. You going out tonight?" .... rudest compliment of my life. #DietsAreForRM's

Sister Anderson is being transferred :( 
126 days... all coming to an end.

And also- here's a highlight for the coming week- We have no car!!! Extra prayers would be appreciated. 
 (And after emailing with her today, they are supposed to get hit with another snow storm tomorrow!  I sent her a little package today and did my best to wrap up some sunshine to ship her way.)  

Love you all!!!!
SISTER LYTLE!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Here's our Missionary Girl...

A few photos from the 
Sisters Conference
that Danielle 
just attended this past week.
Let's see how good your eyes are...
Can you find her???
I'll give you a hint ~ 
She is not standing
but is in the row just in front of those standing
smack dab in the middle
in a white shirt.
Do you see her?

 And here she is in the middle again.
 Love that girls smile...
 And here she is with Sister Stradling...
I really think they will be friends for life
after serving together!
Loving her shorter hair,
she is just beautiful!

Just wanted to share some of
my HAPPY 
tonight.
Seeing her makes my heart smile!

16 Snow Days and counting...

Received this letter from Danielle middle of the week...
I didn't hear from her for several days
DUE to the SNOW, again!
But all is well and happy in her world.
She sounds as amazing as ever.

PLEASE take a moment and watch the video below that she has shared for you...

My hope is to one day live up to being just this kind of person.
It's pretty fantastic when you have kids who push you to be more and to be better.

Now on to Danielle's letter ~ 


16 snow days for the Carroll county schools... 

and mind you that doesn't even count weekends!
I'd completely lost track of how many snow days we've had, but someone reminded us on Monday night! Add in a few more (for the days the schools didn't count) and that's where we're at for the year! YUCK! 

Where is the springtime???

Hopefully it'll be just around the corner :) 
I keep hearing about how everything blooms in the spring, and I can hardly wait to see it all. They talk a lot about the cherry trees. 
Those are suppose to be amazing. 

This week has been pretty fun! 
We had Sisters Conference last week. 
There are 90 of us in the mission, which is a TON of sisters! 
Then we had Stake Conference.
AND THEN Zone Training this week.
All kinds of meetings! But they have been good. 

On Friday we are going to go to the DC Temple Visitors center and then have dinner at Cafe Rio! We are so excited to go. We're going with the Schneider family. Brother Schneider has been a member for 5 years, and their 9 year old is baptized, but Sister Schneider hasn't joined the church yet. The sisters tried to teach her when Andy first joined, but she wasn't interested in having them over, but within the last year, she's been coming to church every week and staying for all three hours. 
Sister Anderson and I have become really good friends with her, and she started letting us come over to teach her, and she is making so much progress in the gospel. A week ago, we taught her the Word of Wisdom (which she already knew,) and she had a lot of questions about Green Tea and why we couldn't drink it. But she decided that she would pray about it and committed to live it. Later on, we talked about the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy, and she talked about how hard that can be at times, but she also committed to live that. 

WELL, fast forward a few days later: 
We went to Stake Conference with their family
 (her first time ever going to one!) 
and Sister Anderson and I were on kid duty. 
We had to keep them busy so that she could listen. 
It was fun :) 
but then afterwards we went to her mothers house to have lunch and do some yard work. While we were at lunch, her mom gave us this sparkling juice stuff, and then walked out of the room. Kamryn (their 9 year old) rushed over to us and told us, "DON'T DRINK THAT!" and then grabbed the bottle to show us that it had 3% green tea extract. Then she told us that she watched her mom check the labels of all the drinks in the house and dump out all of them that had tea in them. So cool!! Then later, we were out doing yard work and ran out of black bags. Her sister, who was also there helping, kept telling Sister Schneider that she should just go to the store and buy more,
"We can't go to the store on Sundays! We're Mormons!"
Her sister then agreed that, "Fine, I'll go get them."
"Ahh... I can see the blessings already."
Hahaha. She is so funny. 

This is basically one of the best videos you'll ever watch. 
So you should probably look into watching it.
It reminds me of the type of person I want to become and that one of the reasons Christ came was to be an example for us. It's super short, and it might even change your life. So for real, watch it.
Other than that, my life has been pretty great :) 
we're just waiting for the sun to come out 
and trying not to freeze to death in the meantime :) 
Love ya all! Have a great week! 
Sister Lytle

Monday, March 10, 2014

Aaaaadventure time! With Sister Lytle and Sister Anderson, Edition: Bus

It's MONDAY...more news from Danielle!!!!

Since moving to Randallstown, we've had the idea that in order to save on miles (we have restricted mileage) we would ride the bus from time to time, and that'd probably be pretty fun, and a good way to talk to people and stuff. And then we'd have extra miles to use elsewhere!On Saturday, we woke up and it was so nice and warm outside! We had planned to spend some time outside anyways, but after a little while, we had to go inside and change because we were expecting it to be freezing outside (like normal) but instead we were roasting to death.
Here's where our mistakes begin.
#1) We'd already walked a few miles
#2) When we got home, we changed our shoes. 
Her into white, lacy flats, and me into a pair of her shoes, that a a little bit too small for me.

So then we jump back in the car and start heading out to Della's home in Windsor Mill. A few blocks from our home, we decide, 
"WAIT! Let's ride the bus!!" 
So we pull onto a side road and ditch the car. 
Then we walked to the bus stop. When the bus got there, we found out that it only takes exact change... so instead of $3.50, it was $4.
We were on bus 54, going down Liberty, and we needed to turn on Rolling Rd. And the bus didn't turn! So we pulled the sting to make it stop, and tried to bail off the back of the bus, which we had JUST seen someone do... but for some reason the doors wouldn't open for us like they did for them. We panicked and ran to the front of the bus and jumped off. And were just a little bit embarrassed.
From there we backtracked back to Rolling Rd, and started down it looking for a bus stop. But we walked a REALLY long way before ever finding a bus stop! And unfortunately, that really long walk was walked ON the white line or in the mud. That road doesn't really have any kind of shoulder to speak of haha. I'm not sure how people do that out here, but people walk on the line like that ALL the time, and it's SO SCARY!
After several miles and a lot of mud (which found it's way all up our nylons) we found a bus!!! YAY!! It only drove us a block or two in the right direction though, and then we had to bail again. This time we figured out how to get the back doors to work... you have to push them (thank you random guy for yelling directions at us on how to get the doors open hahaha)
Then we walked again.
At one point, someone pulled over and asked us if we were lost. HAHA! Just cause we're a couple of white chicks walking around doesn't make us lost! Just confused on how to work the buses.
Then, WE FINALLY MADE IT TO DELLA'S! And had a whole 30 minutes to spend with her before having to leave to make sure we made it back to our car in time for our next appt.
So we're exhausted and walking back to the bus stop, when Sister Anderson looks behind us, and what did she see?
The bus.
And so we started running cause the bus out there only comes every 45 minutes or so, and we did NOT want to wait that long!
Sooooo.... we had quite the run, up the hill, to make it to the stop before it pulled away.
But we made it!! MIRACLE!!!
A lot of people were laughing at us when we got on.
Luckily, we figured out how to catch the right connecting bus back to liberty so that we didn't have to walk the 4 mile stretch between the roads.
The only problem was, where did we put the car?
We watched and watched the roads until it finally showed up! Then we jumped off the bus again, and did the Baltimore Shuffle, across 4 lanes (and a suicide lane) of traffic.
Hahaha. 
So tired. 
So sore. 
So muddy.
 
Lessons we learned:
#1) When riding the bus, wear walking shoes, in your size, that are NOT white.
#2) Carry exact change
#3) Don't carry your scriptures in your bag
#4) To get to Della's, get on the 54 UNTIL you get to the 77. Don't walk down Rolling Rd.
 
Anyways- we are alive and well! Love you all!!
Sister Lytle