Homeschool Conference!!!

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

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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sweet, Tender Reminders...

Funerals...One today, one last week...
these usually come in three's, but I'm hoping like crazy this time will be different! 
I'm not ready for anyone else to go... 
But are we ever really ready to let someone we love go??? 
It is hard to say good-bye...
It's hard to know we will no longer see this person or share special days with them...
at least not here...but someday we will be reunited ~ and what a joyous day that will be...
The thing I love about funerals is celebrating the life of a beautiful person, I love the stories and feelings that are shared...I love the testimonies that are freely given...I love the love that is felt by all...I love that I go away wishing to be a better person than I was before I came, the resolve that I have to love deeper and to live life to its fullest.

A beautiful letter was shared during the service today; this special friend had written a letter in the last days of her life to be shared with her children and grandchildren, in her letter she shared a quote by Winston Churchill, simple yet so profound -- "Never, never, never give up."  She told them that her one wish was to never have any empty seats in Heaven...she reassured them that no matter what, they could always return, there was a way as long as they kept trying and never gave up...
As I sat and listened to the words she had written for her loved ones, I found it such a blessing to be present...her advice and her love were perfect, not only for her family members, but for all in the congregation.  Her life was an example of goodness and kindness and love, she radiated Joy!  She will be missed, but is now spending eternity with her sweet husband ~ I'm sure she is having the time of her life in his arms!

At the end of the funeral a dear friend of mine, Kristi Evans, that I haven't seen in over 6 years came up behind me...
Sweet, tender reminders
of days long gone flooded our memories...
The emotion we both felt at seeing one another took us by surprise...
we hugged and cried and cried and hugged and just looked at each other; after a few moments, we were able to speak...
years ago, we shared some of the most sacred, tender times together as we sat with another friend of ours, Jennifer, during her transition from this life back to life with our Heavenly Father. 
If you have never been present during the death of a loved one...
I don't really know how to describe the feeling...
the loss, the grief, the joy that her pain is over...
the bond of eternal friendship...
the bond of those present, indescribable...
that is what I believe Kristi and I have together...a bond that will forever be.

Seeing one another is such a sweet, yet difficult feeling. 
Today, it was as though we felt our loss all over again,
maybe we felt that all three of us should be there together,
not just the two of us...
I don't know quite how to explain the feeling.
It was as though, at that precise moment, Jennifer was right there with us, the Spirit radiated such an intense, overwhelming feeling of Love, of understanding, an unspoken bond that forever changes who you are...a reminder of something so much bigger than we are...
Perhaps that was the reason all Kristi and I could do was cry and look at one another...It took a few minutes to "gather" ourselves up to be able to speak and even then, the words were hard to come by.  Our times together were so REAL...unlike what many have experienced together...

Another tender moment that Kristi and I shared after Jennifer's death was preparing her body for her funeral. 
Jennifer's sweet husband, Alan asked us to dress and prepare her;
 I really felt I needed to say no, but how could I say no to someone who had just lost his wife and the mother of his child, not to mention I had the highest admiration for this man that I could ever have for any individual in this life...I placed him on the highest pedestal...the love and care he gave to Jennifer day after day was amazing and unbelievable, his gentleness was inspiring. 
 
It was the hardest thing I had ever been asked to do...I will never forget that day as long as I live...I remember Alan walking into the funeral home with a bag tucked under his arm, he slowly handed over a package containing a new dress and said to me "this is the last dress I will ever get to buy for my wife...please dress her in it, I want her to be beautiful." 
We all hugged and cried until we had the strength to take care of Jennifer one final time...

It was heart-wrenching to say good-bye to our friend...I felt she was far too young to be taken from this life, to be taken from us, but I know that there must have been some pretty special things that she needed to do...and I'm certain that she has given her entire heart and soul to the work that is asked of her.

Just this morning before heading out to the funeral, I thought of this sweet friend of mine and of her passing....occasionally she just comes to my thoughts...

I loved her, her strength and her love amazed me...she never complained ~ one day I remember asking her what was the hardest for her;  her reply struck me to my very core -- "Not being able to get on the floor to play with Tyler is the hardest."  She and I had babies at about the same time and I am telling you I think I hardly removed myself from the floor for the next several weeks after her comment.  I found myself so grateful that I could play with my babies and that I could do all the things that her body no longer allowed her to do. 

Sweet, Tender Reminders...
Celebrating the lives of those we've loved...

maybe these moments strengthen our resolve to do better,
to be better,
to appreciate the little things,
to show a little more love,
to share compassion abundantly,
to reach out and touch the life of another,
to be the person we wish to become...
to be the person we were meant to be...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

An amazing date!

Two weeks ago, today, my hubby and I spent the afternoon/evening together...might have been one of my favorite adventure days with him!   It truly was an amazing date ~ a perfect Valentine's "get-away" if only for 10 hours or so, I do wish we could have drug it out just a little longer, but I am thankful for the time we have together!!!

For just a smidge of background I have to share one little tid-bit...just after Christmas some of our Friends/Clients donated a couple of older snowmobiles to our family...they don't use them and they didn't run...great project for the boys!  Well, it was a great project for them and with just a little elbow grease and one new battery we were set for fun...Thanks boys for all of your work ~ You amaze me!

So with snowmobiles ready to ride, Chad and I decided we should go enjoy our day together, rather than going to get something yummy to eat and maybe seeing a movie or, or, or...we decided to gather our snow gear and a few snacks and head out for the day...and what a perfect day for a little Valentine fun! 
We got things together and left our house just a little before noon and headed to Garden Valley to unload the snowmobiles and ride back into Silver Creek Plunge (if you haven't been there, it is a hot springs swimming pool nestled in the mountains)  Pure Bliss! 



What a treat ~ the weather was perfect, the sun was shining brightly, the snow was shimmering in the sunlight, the water in the pool was outstanding ~ imagine floating around in a giant bathtub and you've got it...and the best part of all ~ we were the only two in the pool...How lucky could we be? 

After spending some time relaxing in the water we decided to go for a "little" ride...well our little ride turned into about a 100 mile ride!!!  We made a couple of extra jogs off the beaten path and ended up back at our car after dark...

Life is interesting!  Before this day I would never have thought that snowmobiling could have any symbolism to my life ~ But it does!  Not sure why, but these days my brain just seems to be going in high gear...always thinking, always dreaming, always pondering...
Well this day was no different, maybe just a little more intense; possibly because while riding you are not talking (well, at least not to anyone but yourself) with the exception of all of our little stops to "visit" and take photos here and there, oh and we cannot forget the snow angel moments; but then we were right back at it...




During our riding time... 
I found that I really do not like going down!
Going up ~ even though it is much more work, seemed so much easier to me. 
 UP vs. DOWN...such a strange thought,
yet I was consumed with this thought as we rode...why is UP easier? 
 I am IN CONTROL of the situation when I go up,
 I choose how fast to go,
 I choose how aggressively to maneuver myself back and forth to take the twists and turns in the trail,
I choose the pace; whether it is slow and steady or crazy and slightly out of control...
at times, it was hard to go up, I had to truly hang on -- my hands, wrists, arms would begin to ache  -- during the rather bumpy sections I'd have to work my legs like crazy to keep myself positioned where I wished to be (had I chosen to slow down a touch, this may have all been a bit easier, but it was a moment I enjoyed -- even through the difficulty) 
I found that when it came to going DOWN...
I felt much less comfortable,
 I felt out of control,
I felt somewhat helpless
(like I was just holding on for the ride as the snowmobile made its own way) 
 maybe the feeling too closely resembled for me the feeling of falling down...
falling down in the real sense of the word and in the sense of being down and feeling "down"...

Many people talk of the difficulty of picking yourself back UP after you're DOWN...
well, I think I'd much prefer being at the point of picking myself up rather than falling down...
Again, I am in control...
Yes, getting UP, picking myself UP, putting one foot in front of the other...all of those things are hard, they can be painful, but I choose; whereas, when I am falling i have no choice, it hurts, I cannot control how hard I might fall, I feel helpless and scared and unsure...
One thing that is sure is that I do know that I WILL PICK MYSELF BACK UP ~ although hard, I KNOW I can do it...but when I am going down, I have doubts....

So there was one crazy thought that raced through my mind for mile after mile...but I LOVED thinking about it...I LOVED realizing within myself that I am strong enough to pick myself back up each and every time I fall...I loved seeing symbolism in the little things...

Moving on ~ let's explore some of my other thoughts...this is kinda fun!!!

I much preferred following my dear hubby...
it was easy, I didn't really have to think about what I was doing or where I was going...
now, if you know me well, you might be thinking...hmmmmm, I would have thought you might prefer leading rather than following...
in many instances this is the case, but again I found myself fascinated at all of these fleeting thoughts racing through my mind...
Why is it easier, more comfortable to follow him than to lead? 
Well, my first answer that came very, very strongly to me is that I completely and totally TRUST my husband and so I know that I will be safe by following him, he will not take me where I cannot go, I really did not have any worries, I could watch and follow exactly on his tracks and I'd be okay...for me this was a lot like following in my Savior's footsteps, He will never lead me astray, just as my husband never will.  I loved thinking about all of this and I found myself loving my husband even a little more that day (didn't even think that one was a possibility!)
But then to put a little twist on this, Chad liked for me to lead because he was forever turning his head around to be sure I was okay behind him.  He kept a very watchful eye on me...he stopped often to check in with me to see if I was happy, if I was warm enough, if I was doing okay -- yes, he is very thoughtful!
He would encourage me to go ahead of him...If we were going down a well traveled area, I was okay with this, or if we were climbing I was okay, but that going down stuff would just about put me under...the beautiful thing was that each time I would feel frightened or unsure, he would encourage me, he would tell me how I could maneuver an area and then he'd watch as I did it ~ he had confidence in me and after I was successful, my confidence was strengthened...again, I could compare this to the way that our Savior "wraps His arms around us" and waits for us to see that we can do it.  Just as my husband knew I could do it (whatever "it" might be, so does my Savior).  They want to help us believe in ourselves...my husband has said to me a few different times that he wishes I could see myself through his eyes...I know our Savior feels the same way!  How lucky am I to have all of this love and others believing in me???!!!

One last little thing, hang in there with me, I know I am long-winded, but I had a lot of thinking time!  And I just have to get this all out before I forget!

It was starting to get dark, I was a little worried, what if I couldn't see, what if we got lost, what if I fell off the side of the mountain because I don't see where the trail leads, what if, what if, what if...
I know, totally silly, but sometimes my mind does these crazy little things...
Well, I have to admit, that I actually really enjoyed the dark, riding at night was a pleasure and full of so many new insights that I had never imagined!  It was not harder, I could see perfectly once darkness fell, it was the moments prior to the darkness that were most frightening, that were the most difficult to see...when the sun had completely set, the lights from the snowmobile lit the trail in such a way that I hadn't experienced that entire day...my focus was entirely on the trail in front of me...entirely on the section of glimmering snow that lay just ahead.  I was no longer distracted by an incredible rock formation, or a cascading stream of ice and water, or fallen trees...all that I saw lay right before me...all that I thought of or focused my attention on was within those few brightly lit feet...
It was sooooo easy ~ very little effort ~  I simply followed my husband and looked into the path that was illuminated ahead of me.  I just followed the light and as I thought of this, I thought of following the light of Christ...staying focused on the path, not wandering off or being distracted by all that is just off to the side.

What a magnificent day this was for me...
I learned that each day there are things for us to grow from and they may come in the most unexpected ways, I learned that I have a love for my husband that will ever continue growing, a trust in him that I am so grateful to have; I learned that I am strong...I'm not afraid of getting back up, I'm not afraid of the hard work that it takes to put one foot in front of the other...I'm grateful for the magical moments that come and for the very magical times I have to spend with the man of my dreams! 
That was one amazing date ~
quite possibly, 10 of the best hours of my life!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Wonderful Story...




I "Borrowed" this story from a sweet friend of mine...
she posted this on her blog and I felt it was so worthy of sharing...so that is just what I am doing
(Thanks Jessica!) 
Please take the time to read this...
It certainly makes you re-think how you are spending your days ~
I think I'll be taking a trip to the toy store...

3900 Marbles

The older I get the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time.

Let me tell you about it.

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about “a thousand marbles.” I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.


“Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It’s too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital” he continued. “Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities.” And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a “thousand marbles.”

“You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic.. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.”

“Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I’m getting to the important part. It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail”, he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear.”

“Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life.”

“There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.”

“Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.”

“It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75 Year old Man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!”

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter.

Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss… “C’mon honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.” “What brought this on” she asked with a smile.” “Oh, nothing special, it’s just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”

Well...Enjoy your Saturdays
and for that matter your EVERYdays...
we only have one life to live,
we might as well make it
A VERY SPECIAL HAPPILY EVER AFTER!

Issues...

Just a little over 4 weeks and I am down 10 pounds (well, actually it is about 9 3/4 pounds), but the sound of 10 pounds is just really nice, so I'm going with that one!!!
This is an amazing feat for me...I've tried desperately to lose this weight for the longest time and have had zero luck...but this time it is coming off ~ I think I'm ready to have a party!!!
I do have to say that the last couple of weeks there have been a few times I've really considered sabotaging my success and indulging in the worst of the worst...
not because I've been craving anything
or even because I've been hungry...
again, I've learned a lot about myself...
I'm afraid I may have "issues"...
a horribly sad thing to admit!

I want to eat bad things when bad things are happening around me! 
When I feel sad, I'd truly like to drown my sorrows in scrumptious treats...
Sounds ridiculous I know,
but I have not given in to the indulgences I've so desired...I have remained strong! 
So maybe I don't have issues after all ~ oh happy day!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Where is my Magic Wand???

I've so desperately wanted and needed to be on here, but haven't had a spare moment to write my thoughts...so they just spin around in my head...leaving me feeling dizzy and indecisive...writing is my therapy session, my own way of picking myself up and putting a happy smile on, it is my way of dealing with the hard things in life and finding ways to make life just a touch happier...
This past week has been a little rough, luckily not with my own kiddos or hubby, but with another person that I love and care for deeply.  She lived with us for quite some time and I consider her one of our kids...the only problem is that I do not have her to love all of the time or to comfort in her times of need or to reassure her of what a wonderful little person she is...all of these things she desperately needs and I feel helpless in this situation.  It breaks my heart and I want to be able to just change everything in her world and bring her happiness, but the sad reality is that I do not have the opportunity to do that, at least not in the way she needs.  So, I will do my best to be here for her, to let her know every chance I have that I adore her and see her through eyes that magnify all of her many talents and abilities. 
These are times that I wish I had a crystal ball or a magic wand...
oh the things I would do!!!  
Maybe if I could just be her Fairy Godmother and whip up a magnificent gown along with a gorgeously ornate full-length mirror and let her look deeply into it ~ help her to see her true beauty...not that she needs some fabulous gown to accomplish this, but I feel she would take the time to look when she felt beautiful, without all of the ugly worldly stuff hanging around as baggage on her...
Along the edges of the mirror I would place the numerous amazing attributes she possesses and allow her all the time in the world
(none of this "until midnight" stuff!)
to soak it all in, to see it in herself, to believe it of herself, to remember who she is... 
but since in reality, I cannot do these things, I will do all I can and be there to pick her back up each time she falls...to wipe her tears and hold her when she feels lost...to reassure her that there is good in this world and that one day she will be surrounded by it.

I am so grateful for the wondeful relationships I have with each of my children.
I find myself more and more grateful for the blessing of having Christ in our lives...
without Him,
without a Knowledge and a Love for Him
 I think my own children could fall into the same patterns I am seeing with my little struggling sweet girl...
He gives us strength if we do not doubt that He can...
Because of the knowledge of the Gospel,
I believe that we can endure so much more;
 we know that our struggles and trials will be but for a time and then we will move on,
granted possibly on to a new trial; but again, we will make it through.
I am soooooo thankful that our children know who they are,
they know of their worth and of their potential...
they may doubt it at times,
but it so much easier to bring them back to a "good place" when they have these things as a Foundation...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Crazy Women!!!

This afternoon I was having a conversation with a few friends...well, one of them made the comment to me that she'd been reading my blog and then needed to confess that she later had to go to her husband because she was feeling so badly...???
Well, her reason for feeling badly is that she was comparing herself to me...
Hmmmm....well, I can look at this lovely friend of mine and compare myself to her and feel the same dismal, gray feeling toward me as she had experienced about herself.
Is that just crazy, or what???
We are peculiar, us women...
Why is it such a common thing for women (maybe men do it, too, don't really think so though!) anyway, why do women constantly compare themselves to others?
And it's not like we pick a comparison that makes us feel better about ourselves, we always pick one that we can really pick ourselves apart with...
I have found in myself and in sooooo many other women that we always
compare our weakness to anothers strength...
WHY???? 
Why do we do this?

Then we feel bad,
we tear ourselves apart,
we beat ourselves up,
we wonder why we can't be as good as so and so...

This has just been running through my mind all evening --
This friend of mine, that I love to pieces by the way, is such an incredible person. 
Her strength, her spirit, her testimony, her abilities, her courage, her sweet loving personality, her kindness, her tenacity...my goodness I think I could go on about her forever...I've watched some of the things she's done and I've marveled knowing that I could NEVER have the strength or the courage to deal with what she has been faced with.
I watch as she jumps in with both feet and tackles the world and comes out on top...she faces her fears like none other...just today one of her big fears has been to hold a co-op in her home and just a little over an hour before our co-op was to start (at my house) she called and said she just really needed to do this at her house.  I was so proud of her! 
I remember the day I found out she taught spin classes at the Y...and all I could think to myself was, I think I'm gonna die hanging out in the back of a spin class and I'm overjoyed with myself if I could make it through a whole class in one piece and she's up front running the whole thing...WOW!!!
I've compared myself to her countless times and yes, I've done the same thing she just did to herself, I found a strength of hers and compared it to one of my weaker points...
what good did that do me??? NONE!!! 
Just as it does her no good to find something I am good at and compare it to a challenge for herself.  It only makes us feel bad and none of us need that lousy feeling hanging around...we need to be thinking happy thoughts!!!

I just hope that as others read the things I put in my blog (or in anyone else's blog) that no one goes away feeling the way this adorable friend of mine has felt, cause I'm tellin' ya, I'm sure I have the exact same feelings toward you...I KNOW without any doubt that I can find something you are better at than me and I will beat myself up over it...I keep working on it, trying to see my good qualities and not worry about those things I'm not so great at.  It's a process and it takes time...
I think we all need to know what others think of us because we don't always see ourselves as quite as wonderful as we really are, we are our toughest judge!
Let me tell you how amazing I think you are ~ I'm ready!!! 
Give me a shot ~ if there is one thing I really love to do, it is to make other people happy...it just makes me feel happier. 
Wishing you the happiest, sun~shiniest week ever!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Putting an end to my sick days!

Okay this post is one about my journey to a healthier me…

If this is a boring topic for you, you might want to skip over it. BUT, if you are looking for some ideas on how to feel better yourself, I will share the research I have done over the past few months and the successes I am feeling from these changes.

Let me start out with a warning – ***Warning***

I am NOT an expert in any of this…I am just happy to share the wee bit of knowledge I have gained after looking for answers to questions that no one else seemed to be able to answer for me. It has been refreshing to come to a place that I can say I feel happier and healthier and day by day, I am feeling more vibrant and ready to tackle the world, or at least my little world in a very big way!

I will share all of the supplements and foods and stuff that I do and eat and take each day and why I am taking it…

First thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything, I take 1 supplement ~ Chlorella 1000 ~ when taking this one you need to be sure it is a high quality broken cell chlorella, which is a microscopic green freshwater plant (algae). Chlorella contains a high quality form of Chlorophyll that is intended to provide nutritive support for the bloodstream, bowels and liver health, also good for cellular growth and metabolic balance. I personally am focusing on this for my liver…a happy liver makes for a happy body. I also take this at night before I go to bed as it is best taken on an empty stomach.
I also take a swig or two of Chlorofresh, which is a liquid chlorophyll (make sure you get the Natural Mint Flavor and also make sure you go brush your teeth right after or you’ll be walking around sportin’ some great green teeth!) I do this because it helps to oxygenate my bloodstream, it is also a benefit for digestion and liver function. Both the Chlorella and the Chlorofresh aid in detoxification.

This may seem like over-kill to some to do both, but they don’t function in exactly the same way and what is important to me is that I now know that Digestion is key…it is a cornerstone of good health. During my research I found that 60% of auto-immune diseases comes from our digestional tract, which in turn produces immune problems.

I start my day out with a shake, I always call it my protein drink, but it is actually so much more than just that…take a look at the write-up on this one! It is called Pure-Fit and is loaded with so much great stuff, I don’t even want to try to list them all, but this will give you a great idea of what it can do for you. (Now I will tell you in the very beginning this was not a delicious treat…I had to choke it down, but only until I found the way I like it. I do a couple of scoops of the powder, a banana, water, a little add in blender they have that is chocolate flavored and I also add in a big ol’ Tbls of concentrated fiber. I find that now I actually crave this first thing in the morning and occasionally I will even do a second some time during my day.)

“Knowing you are what you eat, start your day with a rich, natural combination of minerals, proteins, herbs, efa's, pro-biotics and other nutrients designed to give you the energy you want and need. Pure~Fit™ joins the convenience and flexibility of protein shakes with the balance and diversity of a multi-vitamin. These are highly absorbable, nutrient dense, vegan/vegetarian, all natural whole food meal options. Whether you're busy and on the go or a renowned gourmet chef, Pure~Fit™ excites your taste buds.”
• ~Providing your muscles with highly absorbable building blocks, a combination of sprouted brown rice, pea and hemp proteins enhances physical ability, stamina, endurance and strength.
• ~Supporting healthy digestion with 29 different SBO pro-biotics and ginger root ensures that you get the energy and benefit out of everything you eat and take.
• ~We did not miss a beat when it comes to feeding your heart. The herbal potency of turmeric and cinnamon, the antioxidant effect of pomegranate, and the high levels of L-Arginine in our protein gives your heart a reason to keep on ticking.
• ~Taking out the trash has never been needed like it is today. In our toxic, highly processed world it's critical to have a regular, safe and mild detox path. A daily dose of the dandelion root, beet root, lemon peel, barley grass greens, coconut milk and chia seed are a natural cleaning crew that will have you looking and feeling like a million bucks.”

This info comes from their website: http://www.fit-transformation.com/  If you have questions about this one, you can call a friend of mine to get the whole scoop ~ Matthew Hollist ~ 899-0095. Just tell him I sent you (not that I am getting anything from this, Promise, but I’m pretty sure he’d be happy to give you a good deal since we talked about all of this forever earlier today, he just wants to help people feel great.)
For Anti-Oxidants, I use a couple of different things, why not just use one? Well, having a couple of really powerful antioxidants in my court just makes me feel a ton better, that’s why. Remember, I am not a doctor, I just do a whole lot of research when it comes to my health and these are the two that I feel I benefit from most.
One is a little supplement called Pycnogenol – it is Pine Bark Extract and is a very powerful antioxidant. Since taking this one, I have noticed a huge improvement in the inflammation of my hands and the level of pain in my joints, especially my hands, wrists, ankles, knees, and hips.
The second is an orange liquid (quite tasty actually) called Tashi-Fit. It is made from a potent wild berry called the Sea Buckthorn Berry ~ Here’s part of the scoop on this one: (This one is also from Matthew Hollist and there is a lot of info for it on their website, I just gave you a little scoop, not the whole shebang!)

Among many other impressive qualities of the sea buckthorn berry is that it contains a significant amount of Omega-3 oil. This essential fatty acid, commonly found in fish, is rarely found in fruit. Omega-3 is understood to be a key building block of nutrition. It is a critical component in most soft tissues of the body.
Not only are these berries unparalleled nutritive qualities known for their concentration of Omega-3, 6, 7 and 9, but they also contain an abundance of other nutrients including: targeted antioxidant support, anti-inflammatory properties, diverse vitamins including essential A & C, minerals derived from its untouched native soil, flavonoids, polyphenols, carotenoids and over 190 bioactive compounds, making it one of nature's original superfoods!
Another supplement that I am taking that I feel I have received incredible results from is called Blood Sugar Defense ~ It is a blood glucose support with cinnamon and alpha lipoic acid. I was searching for one ingredient Chromium when I came across this. After talking extensively over the benefit of this particular supplement, I found that with the additional ingredients, it was a far better product for me than Chromium alone. If you are suffering from irregular blood sugar highs and lows throughout your day, if you are craving sugars, if you just plain feel crummy, this one may be one to put toward the top of your list. Since taking this, I have had zero, okay honestly I have had one day that I felt the need to have sugar or chocolate, the rest of the time the intense cravings for these things have vanished! My “3 or 4 o’clock feel like I’m gonna drop dead time at any moment” isn’t happening anymore…I feel “level” throughout my day, I am loving this! I’ve learned so much that helps me to want to be healthier…when our insulin levels increase, so does the inflammation in our brain and body…we must control this!  I am working on this through using this supplement as well as reducing all of my simple sugars. Rather than using sugar, I am only using Agave Nectar, I will be trying out Stevia. Our bodies can process these substances…This has been a lot easier than I imagined it would have been and I really believe that the Chromium is the difference for me.

I have some serious Thyroid Issues…I am lucky enough to have Hashimoto’s Disease, which is an auto-immune disease that attacks the thyroid…not good! Well, doctors have tried and tried and tried and tried to help the situation and it has only worsened, so again, I decided to take this into my own hands and find my own answers. I do two forms of thyroid support – Liqui-Kelp Daily Iodine and Liquid Iodine Plus with iodine and potassium iodide. Just a couple droppers a day of each and I’m good…just hold it under your tongue for a minute or so and swallow, virtually no flavor.

Here’s one I had never heard of before a month or so ago…Ashwagandha Extract…this is in a capsule form. I take it with my meals…Ashwagandha works as an adaptogen, promoting the body's ability to maintain homeostasis and resist stress. It prevents or minimizes imbalances. I take this mostly for the stabilization of hormone imbalance. This one does some amazing things for our body…it controls high cortisol levels by balancing our adrenal glands which are our stress glands…isn’t that a good enough reason to take each day…I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t have some form of stress happening. I have found with this one that I am much less restless when I go to bed at night…I used to have what my hubby and I call Jumpy Leg Syndrome…not that it is completely gone, but it is a whole lot better! It also helps with insomnia, anxiety and libido.   There is so much to highlight in this one...I should have just done it all, so make sure you look closely ~ it's a gem!
Flax Seed Oil is a blue flowering plant that is grown for its oil rich seeds. This natural oil (also known as Linseed Oil) is highly recommended for the general well being and whole body nutrition and is considered to be nature's richest source of omega-3 fatty acids that are required for the health of almost all body systems. Flax Seed Oil contains omega-6 and omega-9 essential fatty acids, B vitamins, potassium, lecithin, magnesium, fiber, protein, and zinc and also provides approximately 50% more omega-3 oils than what you could get from taking fish oil, minus that horrible "fishy" after taste. Sounded good to me already! Should you add flax seed oil to your diet? Some nutritionists, researchers, and scientists believe that it could be the most important health-promoting supplement next to a multi-vitamin. Nearly every system in the body can benefit from flax seed oil's natural properties, including the cardiovascular system, immune system, circulatory system, reproductive system, nervous system, as well as joints.
Another capsule that I take with every meal is Milk Thistle. It is an extract of raw milk thistle seed and has been used medicinally for over 2,000 years, most commonly for the treatment of liver and gallbladder disorders. When I was purchasing this one, the Very Knowledgeable Pro Lady at the health food store told me if she could take only one supplement the rest of her life this would be it!!! Again, our liver is vital to our well-being and cannot be overlooked…so this is one I will add for my lifetime as well!

Just a couple more, I know this is becoming insanely long:

Vitamin D!!! This one is a must for all of us! We simply do not get enough sunshine where we live, and our bodies need the Vitamin D. Make sure you have a Vitamin D3 with a combination of Calcium. A sublingual form is best…what does that mean???? Well, simply it means "under the tongue". However it actually refers to the route of administration in which something enters directly into the blood stream, they enter the blood stream via the absorption under the tongue. The main principle behind the sublingual administration is very simple, absorption into our circulatory system. I like to take 10,000 IU’s per day, spread out throughout my day.

Along with my Vitamin D, I take a Calcium-Magnesium with Vitamin D Complex. Calcium is an essential mineral, used throughout the body to protect and heal. Magnesium is necessary to maintain a healthy system and helps to regulate daily bodily functions. Magnesium aids in the absorption of calcium in the body. This allows the calcium to enter the system faster, resulting in a quicker response to any bone or tissue ailments needing extra attention. Magnesium works to relax the walls of the lungs when constricted, such as in the case of an asthma attack, allowing for easier breathing. Shortness of breath and wheezing can also be reduced through the use of magnesium. It works to help normalize breathing, allowing for oxygen to be taken in the body properly. Magnesium is also great for Pain Relief. Magnesium works to ease pain. It relaxes the constricting muscles causing the discomfort, allowing for lessened tension and relief. It also aids in prohibiting cramps and fatigue, which are usually brought on by a magnesium deficiency. Muscle spasms are also often signs of a deficiency that can be lessened.
Calcuim is essential for Heart, Bone and Oral Health. When looking for a great Calcium, it is best when mixed with Magnesium and Vitamin D Complex, with the calcium being 2x the amount of the magnesium and vitamin D. This is also a great one to take as a sublingual for better absorption.
I take this combination to help with healing and for memory and mood, it is also a great benefit for my lungs as they are working to heal and become stronger.
The last thing I take is B12 – 1000 to 2000 mcg per day – I do this as a sublingual as well.
Vitamin B12 has numerous benefits that can help individuals in different ways. The most common benefit of B12 is its ability to boost ones energy level, and speed up your metabolism. If you suffer Chronic Fatigue Syndrome you can make excellent use of B12 by taking 1000 micrograms per day. B12 has helped individuals feel less tired, and worn down.
The reasoning behind taking this for me: Brain function and fatigue

So there you have it...the long list of stuff!  I will add more over the next little while about the foods and results I am experiencing.  I hope this may have been of some help for you.

My advice to anyone suffering from different ailments is to take your health into your own hands...do not leave it up to someone else to decide what is best for you. 
Our bodies are our responsibility and one we should not take lightly. 
In D&C we are counseled to use all herbs with wisdom and prudence...
I believe our wisdom comes only from the effort and research we are willing to put in...this has been such a wonderful journey of learning for me...one that I'm sure has only begun, even though we've been on the path for many years now.  I look forward to all that awaits me and I so welcome your comments and suggestions for a healthier Me.
Have a fabulous weekend!

Chicken Tortilla Soup...Mmmm

Okay Melania, this one's for you!!!  And for anyone else who needs a new favorite recipe!

At one of my retreats last fall, I made a scrumptious Chicken Tortilla Soup!  I am FINALLY getting around to posting the recipe.  And the greatest thing about this one is that it just may be one of the easiest soups ever and people just rave about how yummy it is!

Now -- to start out with, this can be full of grilled chicken or if you'd prefer veggie style, just leave the chicken out.  (Most often, we have it without the chicken or I make two pots - gotta please the crowds around here!)

Here's what you need to have on hand:

Canned Beans - you can do any mixture you like...I'll tell you what I love and then you can decide what is yummiest to you.  I SHOULD use all my dry beans from my food storage and soak them overnight and then make this the next day, but to be quite honest when I get a craving for this, there is simply not time for such busy work.  So I prefer to just walk out to my food storage and grab the following:  2 cans of chili beans, 2 cans of black beans, 2 cans of white northern beans, 1 can kidney beans, 1 can pinto beans (whole, not mashed up).

Other Goodies - while I am out grabbing all my beans, I also find 2 or 3 cans of green chiles, 2 cans of tomatoes and either a couple cans of corn or corn from my freezer that we did the year before (I prefer the frozen cause it is just yummy), I also like to add white hominy (you can leave it out if that isn't high on your list of deliciousness).  You'll also be needing 2 large cans (I think they are 29 oz cans, something like that) of Green Enchilada Sauce -- this is a MUST have, it is what creates that heavenly flavor!

Chicken Breast - I like to grill up a couple large chicken breasts and then cut them into small bite size pieces.  I usually start this just after adding all the other goodies into my crock pot - or if you'd prefer to eat it sooner, just throw it all in your stock pot and it'll cook up in a jiffy...

Spices - You will need Cumin, Cilantro, Lime, Onion Flakes (or if you'd prefer to do an onion, just chop it up and grill it up with your chicken), maybe a little salt, pepper -- that should do it.

So since I scatter all over the place, here's the way to put it all together ~ gather all your ingredients, start grilling your chicken, open and rinse all beans (with the exception of the chili beans, they have a super yummy sauce in them, so don't rinse that away), add corn, chiles and tomatoes -- no need to drain any of these.  After my chicken is done, I chop up and add then I add in a few extra's for some seasoning ~ this is where I will drive you crazy because I truly do not ever measure anything in the kitchen, it's just not me!  So I throw in some Cumin -- maybe something equivalent to 2 Tbls or so, Cilantro -- I would chop up a small bundle and throw it all in, Lime - just take a lime or two and squeeze the juice in.  Then I would give a good taste test and add salt and pepper to your liking.  I love things to be tasty, so I usually go heavy on the spices ~ if it doesn't have quite the flavor you are looking for, add a little more cilantro -- it works like magic! 

When it is heated thoroughly, serve with sour cream and crushed tortilla chips. 

Oh my goodness, I think I have to go make a pot now just thinking about how scrumptious this soup is!  You will love it and the greatest thing is that most kids love it, too!  Mine gobble it up in no time ~ there is complete silence around the dinner table with this meal ~ gotta love that!!!

Happy Cooking  :0)

Friday, February 4, 2011

What to do with the older kids???

I've had a lot of questions lately from various moms who are struggling with what to do with their older kids...you know the middle and high school aged kiddos. 
Many moms send their kids to school about this time because it becomes a little too daunting to tackle the job of homeschooling. 
Well...I would like to share a couple of resources that have been lifesavers for our family.

With many children at home, all being homeschooled, it can at times feel like quite a heavy load!!! 
My first advice that I always give to moms is that if they ask, answers will come...
I believe this with all of my heart! 
There have been many instances in my life where this is not the case,
I ask and I wait and wait and wait. 
But...when it is in regards to our kids and their education, it seems that the thoughts and the answers come to me within a relatively short period of time....I ALWAYS pay close attention to answers I receive at these times because I know that they are the answers that will either fill the void in one childs life or help to cover me when I feel I am at my wits end. 
I ask of the Lord, I ask of my friends, I ask of myself, I ask of my children, I ask of my husband, I ask of complete strangers at times if the prompting comes to do so, but I ask...that is the key...
And then I act when I have answers that come to me...

This year I was in need of something for my two oldest boys...
I wanted them to have an independent learning experience, one that was self-driven yet at the same time holding them highly accountable and I wanted/needed the accountability to be to someone other than myself...Why??? 
 I can only say that I "Knew" that was a need that must be fulfilled...
so after much research, much asking, much praying I came to what I feel has been a perfect fit for them.  Vallivue School District has offered K-12 classes this year to homeschooling families...but the beauty of what they offer is that I do not have to do all classes, I can CHOOSE what I love and leave the rest behind.  And what is required of me???  It's pretty basic and easy...so long as I enter in attendance that my boys are working, they are happy, and the expectation for time is way less than my expectation is, so it is a positive in my world.  My Choices and My Expections are Vital in this little homeschooling world I have created for our family...I believe that is why this was a good fit for our family, because I still hold the cards, I still teach, I still instruct, I still am able to inspire, I still have the control to override a lesson that I might see as unfit or inappropriate in any manner.  I am a CONTROL FREAK especially when it comes to my kids and I must be the one in control, I do not turn this over to anyone else and never plan to.  But, this is a tool for our family.  It allows me to introduce a different kind of education to my kids, a different style.  Someone else can be the bad guy on days that I just don't feel like being that person...I know it sounds a little sheepish, but it is a reality, and I love that right now I have that to fall back on, I'm sure some of you think that is a bit silly but...well, it is the way it is... 
Moving on -- They are enrolled in two classes, History and Science.  They are two years apart in age, but I opted to have them study from the same grade level so that I could have discussions with the two of them and help them at the same time, this made stretching myself too thin a little less s t r e t c h y...
I have to say that I have been very pleased and the boys are doing well...it has accomplished my goal thus far.

The reason I feel compelled to share this is that I think many of us believe that WE must prepare and teach EVERY SINGLE SUBJECT to our kids EVERY SINGLE DAY and that our lessons should all be engaging and challenging!   TOO MUCH!!!  I feel that this may in all actuality be impossible!  Yes, I can make this happen for one group of my kids, but I essentially have three different groups or abilities going on here and I just cannot successfully and sanely pull that off.  We must look for what resources are available to us to meet the individual needs of our children...and feel no guilt whatsoever in doing this as it is only to benefit who they are to become.  Let's face it, in a public school setting, one teacher does not teach each and every subject...no one looks down on them for that...so why do we force ourselves into this thought process and feel we fall short of what is expected?  Look for Resources and then be ecstatic to put them to use!

Which brings me to our oldest daughter at home...I have turned over a portion of her education to what I feel is an outstanding program ~ Liahona Prepatory Academy.  I did not do this with our oldest daughter, our circumstances were different and there was a core base of friends that met together on a weekly basis for educational as well as social experiences.  I LOVED that and wish that it could be replicated, nevertheless, there are different means for different children and again as I stated above, I searched and asked and found Exactly what this daughter needs.  I could not be happier...the classes are outstanding and she is challenged and continues to challenge herself.  She takes three online classes with Liahona -- History, Science & English.  I highly, highly recommend this school.  Now I should add at this point, that Liahona is not a free online school, we do pay a monthly fee, but it is worth every penny.   

Now in a perfect world...I would love to see the fabulous co-ops that were around when we were homeschooling our oldest...we had the cream of the crop for mothers...their dedication was amazing and inspiring. I hope to someday have this again for all of our younger children as they reach those critical teenage years. My goal is to maintain the co-ops that come about for younger children well into their middle and high school years ~ that would just make my whole homeschooling experience all the better!


So to recap, the two resources that we currently use outside of the mountain of books we have in our home, are two K-12 Courses (History & Science) through Vallivue for our two oldest boys and for our daughter, Liahona Prepatory Academy for History, Science and English.  Other studies I give to them on a monthly basis just as I do for our little ones -- and I truly go off of inspiration to what it is that they Really need at that time.

I am very happy with the way things are going for them and I feel confident that they will be fully prepared for whatever their mission in this life is...I know at the end of our time with them in our home, I will be able to look back and say to myself,
"Yes, they are ready and prepared for this world and they are going to do Amazing things, they will succeed because they have a foundation strong enough to withstand anything this life can throw at them." 

I will smile on the outside knowing they are ready; while inside I will struggle to hold back tears as my time with them was much too short...  

February Goodies!!!

No I am not talking about the kind of goodies you enjoy eating, but the goodies that homeschool moms love...the ideas that help us create our own ideas for our families...

So here is the list of what the Lytle Family will be doing for February (Drum Roll Please!)...

Value for February  ~ Love, Relationships & Respect (What better month than February to focus on this one...it's definitely a goodie!!!)
Devotional Theme ~ Tell Me the Stories of Jesus  (one more month on this one)  Don't know if I mentioned this one before, but I just took out all of the pictures I have and hung them on the lower wall in our school room so they would be front and center in our minds.  Then we talk about the stories that go along with the picture...my kids are LOVING this!
Unit StudySeasons, Months, Holidays & Weather (At the end of the month, we, meaning our three youngest kiddos and myself, will be challenging the three older kids and Dad with their knowledge of Why we have seasons and weather and such...should be fun!!!)  We got 'em last month with the Penguins and Polar Bears...they totally thought they lived together and that Polar Bears eat Penguins.  Can't wait to find a way to stump 'em this month...hehe... I know I am rotten!
Focus & Memorization ~ The Living Christ
~ I saved this one for last.  This is BEAUTIFUL!  It will take us longer than a month to memorize, it is stinkin' long, but it will be so worth memorizing.  The reason for memorizing?  Well, for one, I truly believe it will build their testimonies as we focus each morning on the life of our Savior...I'll let you know how this one is going.  It will be a doozy for the little kids and for me.  My brain just does not retain everything near as well as it used to.  But I am one for making it happen if it is important to me ~ and this is...so watch out...I will be reciting to myself continually...so please don't think I'm a crazy lady if you see me talking to myself!  There is a fabulous link for this with the most precious pictures ever, you are sure to love 'em!  www.discoverthescriptures.com  This is a free download, just look on the sidebar for The Living Christ and you will have many choices of how you'd like to present this to your kiddos. 
I printed out the version that has 4 "slides" Memorize "The Living Christ" with picture helps
on each page and we memorize that over a week and then add the next block of 4.  The pictures REALLY help the kids to be able to memorize.

So, there you have the Focus areas we plan to work on for the month. 
Oh, how could I have forgotten this one ~ Field Trips ~
We've gone on one ~ To the McCall Winter Carnival...what a fun day.
We also have another planned to visit a bowling alley and go behind the scenes...don't you think it sounds awesome to see what happens to all those bowling pins when they go flying about?  Well we plan to find out!  Working on a couple of other field trip ideas...If you would like to join us for field trips, send me a message and I'll be happy to give you details...

Well, I think that is about it for our February Goodies...I may remember a couple more and if so, I'll be sure to add them on.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February 1st...what a great day!

This morning we did our little "New Month" thing...it was fabulous...got our new calendar numbers up (made 'em out of hearts for this month...adorable!), theme, values, focus, unit study, and memorization are all front and center in our minds for the month...looks great posted up in the school room all bordered in pink and red (such appropriate colors for this month, don't ya think?!)  and the kids had a great time helping out.  They are excited for a new month ~ and for the little ones ~ it's extra exciting when it's the LOVE month...they love all the sweet, mushy-gushy, lovey-dovey stuff, so it's gonna be a blast around here!

We started out the month in the best way possible ~ after our morning of school/party (heavy on the party side), we decided to head to McCall to check out the ice sculptures.  What a beautiful day...the sun was shining so brightly, at one point I actually put my visor down to block the sun from coming into my eyeballs and then I promptly pushed it right back up...no hiding any sunshine from me...let it all come in and I will soak up each and every drop!!!  My hubby and kids think I'm a bit weird, cause I not only did this action, but I had to make a "big deal" out of it, not really realizing I was doing it, until they were laughing at me.

We decided to park the car and brave the freezing cold weather, again, it was bright, sunny & beautiful, so we were totally willing to be a little cold...we made our way out on the frozen lake quite a ways (against my better judgement, especially when we could see cracks in the snow/ice, but my hubby assured me we would be just fine, so I put on that little smile and guess what, we were all fine ~ whew, I was glad to be back on ground and not on water, even if it was frozen!)  We then decided we had better head into town to walk around for a bit before we all became permanent additions to the Ice Sculpture show...I could hardly feel my legs by the time we returned to our van!!  And with my scarf wrapped tightly around my face so that I wouldn't breathe in too much cold air, I was ready for a little freedom...

As far as sculptures, there were few this year, but some of them were spectacular...














I always love this time of year and love our little tradition of heading up sometime during the week to take our kids for a day trip.  Maybe I love the spontaneity of it all ~ don't know that it's ever truly been planned, one of us just wakes up in the morning one day and says, "Hey, how 'bout we head to McCall" -- we proceed to pack it all up and make it happen...those are just the best days!

Tomorrow, sometime I am hoping to post what our plans for February are...
Was planning on it now, but it is time for prayers with kids and lights out...this is one tuckered momma!