Homeschool Conference!!!

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

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

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I can't breathe

Have you ever had one of those moments when your breath is taken away, but in not such a fantastic way...kind of like a huge blow to your heart and you can hardly take a breath in???

That is how I feel right at this particular moment...
someone I love dearly...
(I cannot reveal the identity of this person...)
has come to me and confided that they just don't buy it anymore,
they really don't think there is a God. 

A million thoughts running through my mind:  "What???  Oh my gosh...tears don't flow, keep it in. you can't really mean this...what happened?  Why do you doubt?  YOU are such a strength to me, I look up to YOU, you have such a beautiful testimony, I don't understand.  I don't know what to say.  How can I help you?  What words would help you to see how much you are loved?"

This sweet person feels that He hasn't been there in times of need.  I believe they feel that He doesn't or cannot exist (or possibly even worse, that perhaps if He did exist then He just does not care enough to pay attention.) 

Either way, I am at a loss. 

I am heartbroken.
I want to have all the right answers, but at times like this my mouth and my brain and my heart just don't mesh up and nothing comes out the way I wish it could.  All that seems to come out of me are tears...and they are far from helpful.

They have prayed and fasted to feel the Spirit, to know of His existence and presence in their life...
They go to church, know all the sunday school answers, but don't "Feel" Him...don't believe in Him...can't believe that it is all real and true...because if it were real, He'd have answered them, He'd have helped them to feel His Spirit...

I love this person so much and I hate knowing that they feel this way -- I feel like a little piece of my heart (acutally a really big piece of my heart is hanging outside of my body dying) 

I can only pray that Heavenly Father will hear the prayers that have been prayed, that He will touch this persons heart and shine His beautiful Spirit in abundance down upon them. 

I do believe it is time for my knees to hit the floor...

My wish (which I know cannot be) but it's my wish, so I'm gonna go for it...

I wish that I could just give my testimony right on over to this beautiful person...I would so willingly share it...I'd give it all to them, it would be done...I know I could gain another!  It might take time, it took me 27 years to get it the first time, I'd wait another 27 years if they could have it right now...

What I truly wish is that I would have been a better, stronger example to this person and then maybe we would not be crying all these alligator tears and I wouldn't be wishing for things that just can't be.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Race...

I re-read this poem today, and as I did, I found myself in tears...
This so perfectly describes the challenges my sweet daughter has faced with her horses over the past few years and the beautiful character she possesses because of them. 
I was certain she'd die at the hand of these crazy, lunatic horses
(I've covered my eyes more times than anyone could imagine, I've prayed my little heart out for her safety, I've sworn I would NEVER let her near another horse, I've wondered why she has to love them so much)...Each time they would throw her or run her into a fence at top speed, each time she had "too close of a call" with one of those little (actually big) buggers, she'd just pick herself back up...
NEVER, EVER giving up!!! 
Her love never wavering, her will never crushed...

She is a hero to me! 
Each year has been a struggle through her show season at the Fairgrounds...sadly this year at Fair is no exception; she has a beautiful, sweet, gentle horse to ride, BUT she is unable to actually place in any classes as this horse did not come to her until after the deadline to register the horse (unfortunately it was just a few meager days) but rules are rules and that is the way it is. 

Now I may have just thrown my hands up in the air, feeling defeated AGAIN,
but not this daughter of mine! 
She entered every class she could and didn't even think twice about it.  She didn't go out and give it a half-hearted effort...NO...
She goes out there and gives it all she has! 
She is beautiful, she is smiling, she is riding her little heart out

She has been pleased with how the week has gone, but today was a truly rewarding experience for her; even though she could not place, the judges spoke to her and told her where they would have placed her had they been able to -- oh my gosh -- she was the happiest girl ever!  It didn't matter that she didn't come home with a trophy (although I'm quite sure she would have loved to), what mattered is that those judges could see that she has never given up...they see her ability, they see her character, they see that this little girl is a winner and they let her know it!  

So, again as I read this poem, I couldn't help but think of my Danielle picking herself back up when she's fallen time and again...never giving up...

SHE IS A WINNER...and I'm so happy to be her Momma!
 
The Race
“Quit!” “Give up, you’re beaten!” they shout at me and plead,

“There’s just too much against you now, this time you can’t succeed.”

And as I started to hang my head in front of failure’s face,

My downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.

And hope refills my weakened will as I recall that scene.

For just the thought of that short race rejuvenates my being.

A children’s race, young boys, young men; now I remember well.

Excitement, sure, but also fear; it wasn’t hard to tell.

They all lined up so full of hope. Each thought to win the race

Or tie for first, if not that, at least take second place.

And fathers watched from off the side, each cheering for his son,

And each boy hoped to show his dad that he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they sped, as if they were on fire

To win, to be the hero there, was each boy’s desire.

And one boy in particular, his dad was in the crowd,

Was running near the lead and thought, “My dad will be so proud.”

But as he speeded down the field, across the shallow dip,

The little boy who thought to win lost his step and slipped.

Trying hard to catch himself, his arm flew out to brace,

And ‘mid the laughter of the crowd, he fell flat on his face.

So, down he fell, and with him, hope. He couldn’t win it now.

Embarrassed, sad, he only wished he’d disappear somehow.

But, as he fell, his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,

Which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win the race!”

He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit, that’s all.

And ran with all his mind and might to make up for the fall.

So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,

His mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.

He wished he had quit before with only one disgrace.

“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”

But, in the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face.

That steady look that said again, “Get up and win the race!”

So, he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last;

“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”

Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight or ten,

But trying so hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.

Defeat! He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye.

“There’s no sense running more. Three strikes, I’m out…why try?”

The will to rise had disappeared, all hope had fled away.

So far behind, so error-prone, a loser all the way.

“I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought, “I’ll live with my disgrace.”

But, then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.

“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “Get up and take your place.

You weren’t meant for failure here; get up and win the race.”

With borrowed will, “Get up,” it said, “You haven’t lost at all,

For winning is no more than this–to rise each time you fall.”

So up he rose to win once more. And with a new commit,

He resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.

So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been.

Still, he gave it all he had, and ran as though to win.

Three times he’d fallen, stumbling, three times he rose again.

Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.

They cheered the winning runner, as he crossed the line, first place,

Head high and proud and happy; no falling, no disgrace.

But, when the fallen crossed the finish line, last place,

The crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race.

And even though he came in last, with head bowed low, unproud,

You would have thought he won the race, to listen to the crowd.

And to his dad, he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”

“To me you won,” his father said, “You rose each time you fell.”

And now when things seem dark and hard and difficult to face,

The memory of that little boy helps me in my race.

For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.

And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.

“Quit!” “Give up, you’re beaten!” They still shout in my face,

But another voice within me says, “Get up and win the race!”


To me, that little girl of mine, won the race...
She rose each time, smiling all the way...
refusing to give up...
And Today
she showed us all what she is made of --
just who she is...
a hero...a winner!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

More summer fun :0)

Oh my gosh...
doesn't that smile just make you want to smile right back??? 
That is my little one and her smile is so contagious...loved this photo!!! 
On my last post, I promised a little more summer fun and it is time to produce...

THE BOISE ZOO!
We, along with a couple of families that we have a little co-op with, met up for a day of fun and learning at the zoo. 
Our two top things to see ~
BIRDS & BUTTERFLIES!
For some reason, I don't have a single photo of the birds, but thanks to Jerusha, I have a list that we'll be doing a little more study from.  The birds there were marvelous!  What a treat for our kiddos and for me!

a shot of the whole gang...so relieved this thing doesn't really run...
cause I have no doubt they'd have come up with some plan
and they'd have been off and then I'd have been runnin'!

I am just pulled in by such beauty...and it's yellow...that makes it even happier to look at!
I need to plant some of these ~ haven't the foggiest idea what they are ~ gotta do a little research...
if you know, please do share  ;0)

Two little friends checking out their map...where are the Toucans???
Six years old navigating ~ there must be something wrong with this picture!

AND THE MOMENT WE'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR~
BUTTERFLIES!!!

Soooo amazing...
we've never visited the Butterfly Exhibit...
if you haven't taken the time to go ~ DO IT!!! 
You will not be disappointed! 
The Butterflies were beyond sensational to see...
I could have sat for hours just watching them ~
Each of us were pleasantly surprised when one would flitter by and take a little rest upon our arm. 
I tried to catch those shots, got a few, but those little hummers are fast!



When I was just a little girl, my Dad always called butterflies "Flutterbies"
As we walked among all of these beautiful little specimens of nature, I so enjoyed watching them flutter about and couldn't help but think my Dad really had it right.
Our kiddos laugh every time we call them by this sweet little name ~
just makes me smile!

This one landed on my arm...look at the size of that butterfly...it just rested on me for the longest time...
this photo doesn't even do it justice ~ the blue was magnificent!

All these cute little people are fully prepared for our boat journey...
we are off to AFRICA...
This was another attraction we had not seen or experienced at the Zoo -- FUN!!!
On our little expedition we saw something you can only see from this wonderful little boat ~
Black Mengabey Monkeys
Imagine a monkey that looks pretty much identical
(with the exception of coloring)
to The GRINCH
and you've got a picture in your mind of that little creature!
Positively Hysterical!!!


We spent some time inside the little education building ~
the girls weighed and measured up ~
This is what they found:
Cassie is as tall as a Kangaroo and weighs as much as a Baboon, while
Natalie is as tall as a Hippopotamus and weighs the same as an Ant Eater.
We had a good laugh at that one!


On another note:
Two of our boys made and mastered the art of using Marionette Puppets during Scouts earlier this summer.
LOVED their creations!
Shots of the whole puppet show turned out completely blurry ~ what a bummer!
I had to throw these photos in with our zoo days ~
WHY???
Well because it was just another bird moment!
Well, that and check out how cute those little boys of mine are ~ couldn't pass up the chance to look at their adorable little faces!!!



During our visit to the Zoo, some of our favorite winged friends we saw were: 
The West African Crowned Crane, The Bald Eagle, The Indian Sarus Crane, The Victoria Crowned Pigeon, The Rufous-Crowned Roller, Weaver Birds, The Turaco, The Trumpeter Hornbill, The Black-Casqued Hornbill, The Andean Condor, Temmick's Tragopan Pheasant, Laughing Kookaburra and the many adorable Penguins.  Oh and I can't forget our other winged friends, the Flutterbies...

I do have to say that among all of these amazing creations, I tend to really find fascination in the Cranes ~ there is an elegance about them ~
One day our kiddos and I were lucky enough to see a large crane land in our creek and sit awhile for a rest...what a magnificent sight...I love living "out here"! 

As we checked out each of the birds during our visit to the zoo, I again found myself lingering to thoroughly check out these beautiful cranes ~ maybe I'm just wishing I had a set of those long legs ~
I know -- I'm a little whacked!!!

Well, until next time ~
wishing you a practically perfect in every way day!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Fun...

Some may believe that leaning ends when summer begins...That it's a break from learning time...
I, for one, completely disagree! 

We dont' have to be officially "in school" to have amazing learning opportunities. 

The libraries offers some mighty phenomenal activities during the summer for kiddos.  We've taken part in a few that have been fantastic! 

One of the funniest, okay craziest ones that we did was the Mother/Daughter Belly Dancing...Yeah, I know...what am I doing teaching my adorable girls to belly dance?  Well, I have to tell you, it was a BLAST!  Watching those little ones of mine dancing about was adorable...I gave it my best shot.  I had to laugh when the instructor, which by the way was totally decked out in all the fancy belly dancing attire ~ bells and all, told all of us ladies in the room that contrary to what we've been told we are not to "tighten our buns during this, we are to just let it all shake about."  And I do have to say that those of us who had a little extra to shake about could flat do the belly dancing, there was one woman in there that I would swear had done this her entire life.  We learned to do the shimmy ~ both top and bottom ~ pretty exciting stuff there!!!  Don't know where my photos are from this one and I'm totally bummed about that...they were stinkin' cute!


But I do have pictures of another dance day we attended just this past week.  It was a class called "Without Borders".  A very sweet lady came in to share the Andalusian Gypsy culture and demonstrated the art of Flamenco Dancing...Flamenco dancing was very moving to watch.  I would have to say that the intensity with which she danced was beyond what I've witnessed before.  Flamenco dancing originated from a blending of cultures that gathered in the southern region of Spain and started as early as the 13th century.  The dancers expressed such intense emotions that in the beginning, these dances were kept fairly private...it was around the early 1900's that gypsies started performing these dances in public cafes.  During her dance performance, there would be pauses in the music, this is where the audience yells out "Ole" and claps for more...again such a moving, intense form of dance.  I loved it!  My little girls were quite impressed as well and really wanted a photo shot with the dancer and their little fans they had made.  (The Fan that the dancer is holding was used so elegantly throughout her performance)
Here is another one of our fun days out...this little program was put on for kiddos who are in the midst of losing their teeth!  What a fantastic job they did...
I loved the fact that they took cultures and beliefs from all over the world and gave the kids some good laughs at what other children do. 
Not all children give their prized little teeth to the tooth fairy!
At the end of the program they had supplies for each of the children to make their own Tooth Fairy Pillow ~ Natalie was pretty proud of hers!


 And yet another fun day...
This was our Canada Mini-Camp...
This little Reindeer joined us for a bit of time, the most fascinating part of this little gal was when she would walk around, her knees "click".  It was actually quite loud.
She was deep into her shedding, so the kids were not allowed to pet her, but they were still delighted.

 After meeting the sweet little reindeer, they took us all in for a dance session, sorry cannot recall what form of dance this one was, but the kids had a great time.  I opted to take photos  :0)  At the end of this class, all the kids made "Rock People", actually called an Inuksuk.  A story was read to us about a little girl who had stacked rocks into the shapes of people when her Father and Brother had been lost.  She did this in hopes that they would be able to find their way home.  It was a beautiful little story (sorry, don't remember the name, really should have made myself a little note)  Anyway, the library had painstakingly chosen a number of rocks for the kiddos to make their own Rock People ~ they are now hanging out on my book shelf. 
 I'll be posting some more fun summer things we've been doing in the very near future  :0)

Hope you are enjoying your sunny days as much as we are!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Busy July Days!

Started my day off with some wonderful exercise...laps around the track and running the bleachers are a true test for lungs...the good news...I'm still alive!

After catching my breath, I came home, jumped in the shower, hurried myself along and got all the kiddos up and then out the door to the Buckaroo Breakfast for the Snake River Stampede
The older kids worked it, little kids and I ate the breakfast  :0)
My Big Kids were on Clean-Up detail ~ fun stuff! 
Well, while they were doing their thing, I took our three youngest out back to the amphitheater area ~ those kiddos took one look at the stage and made a run for it
How I wish I would have had a video camera!  Priceless moment!

Wyatt and Cassie are rocking out and Natalie is dancing across the stage ~ ballerina style. 
Oh my gosh, it was adorable!  Each of their personalities were just shining up on that stage...
I love the beauty of young children --
they are not afraid to just be who they are --
no inhibitions to stop them --
no worries about someone thinking they might make a fool of themselves --
just sweet, genuine indulgence of fulfilling every dream! 
Now, I say this, because as I looked at that same stage, thoughts also crossed my mind,
"Oh how fun would it be to be on top of that stage just singin' my heart out, etc, etc...." 
But then my "not-so-fun-side of my brain" stops me from actually acting on that impulse; the part of my brain that reminds me I am less than stage quality ~
I was not blessed with the singing or dancing talent,
I just love them both!
Makes me wonder what line I was standing in up there in the pre-mortal world when I missed out on getting these awesome talents! 
What did I think was more important???

Watching others "up there" fulfilling their dreams just makes me want to join in on that same amazing experience..  Their energy on stage is invigorating, makes me crave that same excitement.
I felt that same energy as I watched my sweet kiddos today ~
I am actually kinda kicking myself in the buns cause
I had the chance to run up there WITH THEM...
now that would have been a moment I'm sure they would always remember...
darn that not-so-fun part of me!

I really do try to be a fun mom...I didn't stop my kids from being on the stage, BUT I did stop them when they wanted to climb the rope ladder that leads to the lighting wayyyy up high.  That one just wasn't gonna happen!!!   Oh how I want them to dream and to not be afraid to act on their dreams,
but climbing up that crazy ladder goes beyond what I thought was okay,
if they were to get stuck up on top
 and be "afraid" to come down ~
who would rescue them? 
Not I!!! 
Not so sure I could make it up there without having a massive coronary attack. 

The rest of our day was pretty busy...felt like I never stopped the entire day!

We headed out to the library for one of their little summer programs for the kids.  We have made it to several this summer and I have been so impressed and pleased.  Well, today they had one for little kiddos, ages 5-7, who are in the losing teeth stage.  They read stories to them, told them different customs around the world for children who lose their teeth and then they each made a little pillow for their teeth for the tooth fairy.  Adorable!   Can't hardly believe I am on my last one to lose teeth ~ seems a little strange somedays!


This evening we were back to the Snake River Stampede...three of the kids volunteered to work concessions for 4-H...we've done this for many years ~ I was actually a little disappointed to not be joining them tonight, but my hubby wasn't able to be with us and it is just too much to do by myself with a bunch of little people running around, so the little girls and I came home and watched Tangled in my room while we folded and hung 7 baskets of clean laundry...
How and Why do we have sooo many clothes??? 
Ridiculous ~
I think I could be seriously rich with the invention of disposable clothing,
yes it would be nice fitting and fashionable and all,
but would not require laundering...
just wear it a couple times,
when it looks soiled,
simply toss it and replace. 
I know it's really not feasible, but one can dream! 

I talked with my hubby this afternoon, he and one of our boys have been up at Scout Camp...it's awfully quiet with them missing! Speaking of "missing", I am missing them both! My sweet hubby is coming home early in the morning and sweet son coming home on Saturday...I'll be happy to have us all back together again! Can't sleep when he's gone, so that is why I am rambling about on this silly blog of mine. Helps to pass the night away. I know I should be cleaning toilets or something...but this is much more relaxing...and hey the laundry is done, well it was done, until the kids took off their clothes tonight and now an entire basket is full again!  Oh well, such is life  :0)


The next couple of weeks hold much activity for this little family of ours...Rodeos and Fairs...here we come!
August ~ I'm gonna be ready for a really great nap!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Concerts and Canoes...

I am feeling pretty darn special...two date nights in one weekend...how lucky am I????

First date, Friday evening we were invited by some great friends to go out on our
Moonlight Canoe Ride
~ I have to tell you that this ranks right up there with my very favorite date nights EVER...I could do without the mosquitoes, but other than that, it is just about perfect!

This year was almost as eventful as last year ~ we had some yummy dinner then visited a new ice cream place...super fun...(note to self: gotta take our kiddos there) ~ it was called SUB-ZERO.  My only problem with it was there are far too many choices and not enough pictures or taste testers, samples come in handy when you aren't sure if you're gonna like it or not.   But my little ice cream creation was pretty tasty  :0) 

okay, moving on to the eventful canoe ride, sorry I get a little side-tracked at times...
Well, we were watching the sky, wondering if the clouds were going to pass on by or if they were something to be concerned about.  They were looking fairly harmless, so we headed to our destination, arriving shortly after 10 p.m..  Usually we are already on the water by now, so this was a new adventure.  The water was running much higher than it had in the past which added a new dimension of adventure to this already exciting trip, even loading into the water was different.

Now do not get me wrong that this was anything less than a pleasant night, it was fabulous!  I've just come to the conclusion that I will never again enter a canoe if there is a cloud present in the sky, because that cloud will certainly multiply and then dump buckets on  us.  The reason I know this is that we have now experienced this amazing little rendezvous two years in a row.  

So, do let me share with you how very exciting this night was....
About half way into our little trip, off  in the distance were a few lightning bolts, not too much to worry about as they were not too close.  But that quickly changed as the winds came up and moved that lovely little storm right over the top of us!
 I remember asking Chad, "What is that noise?" 
I was becoming a little fearful, the sound too closely resembled that of fierce rapids, I had not remembered ever encountering rapids on this peaceful moonlight canoe ride,much to my delight, rapids were not part of the equation.  Just about the time that Chad said, "I think that is rain...", we were pelted by giant balls of hail...it's almost humorous to think about now as we quickly covered our heads with our paddles to save ourselves from the beating.  To add to the excitement of this night, the wonderful full moon that was to light our way, was now hiding behind the cloud cover making navigation a bit of a challenge.  With the high water, the sandbars that our hubbies had anticipated, were not located where they had been in the past.  We'd be paddlin' along when all of a sudden there was an abrupt halt...that dear hubby of mine would willingly sacrifice himself as he crawled out of the canoe pushing us to deeper water, all the while, I sat on my little seat.  Yeah, I got it made  :0) 

Just last year we had a very similar experience, but that experience came with a degree of naivety...the women (yes, myself included) were not really certain if we would die in a lightning storm on the water in metal canoes, our husbands assured us that we'd be just fine as they made up little things to make us feel better.  Well, those little stories changed after we'd hit shore and were safe and sound.  So, on this trip when the lightning started up, we knew we were not really okay.  I might just say this added a level of fear and anxiety that I had not anticipated. 
All I could think to myself was that Heavenly Father was probably up there saying something along the lines of, "Hey stupid, I already saved you once, why are you pushing your luck again?"  Well, after arriving on the shore safely again, I have now vowed that I will never, ever, ever enter another canoe if there is even a single cloud in the sky, there will be no wondering.

On that little note though, I do have to say, the adventures that I have had with my hubby have made for some pretty phenomenal memories ~ can't really think that I'll ever forget these two little moonlight canoe rides  :0)

Second Date ~ Yes, I know I am spoiled rotten  :0) 
Saturday evening we had free tickets to the
Stampede for the Cure Summer Concert...it was held outside, the evening was perfect, beautiful weather, fun music to listen to and I was able to be out with my hubby for the second night in a row!
 At one point in the show, the entertainer called out for us to all join him in singing and then said you probably didn't come here to sing, but to listen. 
That's when I leaned over to my hubby and said,
"oh not me, I definitely came here to sing and had I been born with an amazing voice, I'd be right up there on that stage having a good ol' time!" 
I'm pretty sure my hubby thinks I am crazy...
I had such a fun night singing along to all of the songs I knew. 
But maybe the very best part of the evening was when I looked over at Chad as I was singing along and he was just looking at me with the sweetest, most tender look and he leaned in to me and told me how beautiful I looked and that he loved the flower I had in my hair. 
How sweet is that???? 
I'm telling ya I was feeling like a million bucks about that time! 

Concerts and Canoes all in one weekend....Lucky me...  :0)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Big Day

I woke up this morning after a night of tossing about...
my mind kept returning to what this day was to hold. 
I had dreamed about it,
I had fretted over whether or not to subject myself to the feelings of self-disappointment I was bound to encounter. 
I wanted to just forget all about it and pretend this day had come and gone and not give it a second thought.  But as I lay there gazing up at my ceiling, enjoying a few peaceful moments of quiet and solitude, I came to the conclusion that I really have no reason to be quite so disappointed in myself. 
No, I had not achieved "THE goal" I had set out to do, BUT, I had achieved a small portion of that goal. 
And most importantly, I would not give in to the defeatist attitude that was desperately trying to take hold of me. 

So, I mustered up the energy, the courage and the will
to drag myself out of bed,
into the shower,
and then the hardest part of all ~
to stand a top the dreaded SCALE! 
The number that came across was not what I had dreamed it would be just six short months ago when I originally set my goal. 
BUT, it had budged, if only slightly, it had dropped little by little; I really needed to remain positive, I needed to be pleased that some of the weight had come off, even though I had reached a very frustrating plateau that I could not seem to change...But hey, I had in fact, reached that plateau, I had made a small change.

I don't do well doing things alone, so making my way to The $10,000 Weight Loss Challenge Finale this morning was truly a challenge! 
I really had decided this past week to not go, thank heavens for the prodding I felt this morning ~ I could do this...I walked up to the staff, showed them my ID, hopped on their scales and completed the Challenge!!!  They quickly tallied my numbers and enthusiastically congratulated me on my success.  I knew walking out of that room that I would not be the winner of the challenge, I would not be taking home a whoppin' check made out in my name, I would not be among the top contestants ~ truth be told ~ I was probably clear down in the lowest of the low, BUT I was still a winner and a loser...I am winner because I did not quit -- I kept on and I completed the challenge.  I am a loser, possibly in more ways than one, but I choose to focus on only the positive aspects of being a loser this time...Losing those measly few pounds has made a difference.  I took off and kept off over 15 pounds ~ a Faarrrrrrrr cry from the 50 pounds I had made as my original goal ~ but 15 pounds is 15 pounds and I'm going to be proud of myself for those and move on.  

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15 of these hummers are gone from my bodacious hips ~ that's my visual!!! 
One of these days I'm gonna take empty butter boxes and tape 'em to me and take some photos .. I'll be quite a sight with all these boxes hangin' off me  :0)

It might take me another six months to lose 15 more, who knows if that 50 will ever drop away or if it will stick around like a great friend, but the point is that I need to pat myself on the back for my successes and knock off the picking on myself for not being perfect! 
I want to feel okay about stopping and having an ice cream cone with my kiddos ~ I think it's okay to show them just how tasty dipping a salty fry into your hot fudge sundae can be.  My focus for losing the weight was so that I could enjoy my life with my family.  I want to be healthy, I want to run and play with them, I want to climb to the top of the mountain, I want to experience a lifetime of wonderful memories with them.  And sometimes those memories need to include indulgences of the hot fudge & fry treats.

I'm happy that I made the choice to go today, I'll be honest, the tears flowed as I thought of how well I could have done. 
As I stood and visited with the owners of a small gym,
I found myself feeling a little low,
well okay ~
I was down right upset and feeling completely sorry for myself
that I don't have more time to take for me ~
but then I had to step back and think that one over a bit...
I have choices and I need to be content with my choices,
I LOVE being the Momma and that takes a lot of time,
IF I wish to work out, I can find the time,
it just means sacrificing a little sleep ~
so I have the tipping scale to look at
SLEEP / EXERCISE ~
I'm quite sure this will always be a balancing act for me.  Day to day I will need to decide what my priorities are and then be happy with those decisions.

As I walked away today, I felt like I had accomplished something, I did not give in when I felt I hadn't done enough and it was wonderful to hear the encouragement that comes from others who feel passionate about health and such. 
No, I didn't come home $6,000,
$3,000
or even $1,000 richer from this challenge,
 but I did come home with a fresh perspective and a sense of well-being. 
I am a winner and a loser all in the same day ~ Hooray for me!   

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Obedience

I had the most amazing day at church today...
it was Fast Sunday, my hubby bore his testimony...love listening to him! 
Our kids were just sweet and cuddly ~ the biggest problem we have at church is that all of our kids like to play musical chairs, guess I really shouldn't complain because they are playing this crazy little game just so they can come sit beside either their Dad or me...  :0)  It's a good thing!

To end my day...I was lucky enough to teach all of the Young Women...I think I may have the best calling ever!  I love spending time with all of these sweet girls!  I feel like I grow every time I am with them...I only wish I had the confidence and the strengths I see in them. 
Today, the lesson I taught was on Obedience.  When I first looked at this subject, I was a tad bit horrified, how on earth could doing the subject of obedience be something to catch and hold the attention of 30 girls?  Well, after much deliberation, prayer, pondering, research, worry....it came together.  I loved teaching this lesson.  I had many of the girls come up and thank me and give me wonderful hugs after class was over...you can see in their eyes if you are touching them, if you are reaching who they are...I absolutely LOVE it when I see that little sparkle, it is the best!!!

I shared a couple of stories that I found on a wonderful site ~ if you haven't spent time here, you really must!  Head on over to Sugardoodle and take a look, they have some pretty fabulous stuff! 
One story that is much too long to post here was a fun one to share, it was titled Tragedy at Rayad.  The girls got a kick out of it and it taught a valuable lesson. 
All of the "Rayadites" lived a very happy life and there were really only a couple of things that they needed to steer clear of...one was Chocolate Cake
and the other was Red Clothing
...seems silly, but slowly they were tricked by an evil influence...
it came on gradually as chocolate was introduced in chocolate chip cookies and then cake was introduced, but not chocolate cake ~ every kind of cake other than chocolate but with the addition of creamy chocolate frosting....then the red garments...he knew that if he just put out a red garment, it would never fly, soooooo start out with an amazing pink and slowly they would begin to accept the red....We all had a good laugh as the story progressed and they were about to watch a movie, but then stated that they couldn't because it was C-Rated for Chocolate or R-Rated for Red....  again, a silly story, but a great lesson learned.

The other that I really enjoyed was the story of The Kite
I searched (and had my hubby and sons search high and low) and could not find a kite anywhere around this house, so my little Wyatt, came to the rescue and built me a little kite for a visual...what a wonderful little guy he is!!!!  Here is how it goes ~

How can we be free with so many rules and commandments to obey?
A simple story will illustrate the value of such guidelines.
A little boy and his dad purchased a beautiful kite. Never having flown a kite before, the little boy was excited. The day was perfect. They found and open field. They wound the ball of twine around a stick so the boy could hold on to it, and then they ran, pulling the kite behind them. Finally the wind caught the kite, and it started to fly. Then they stood still, holding the kite against the wind, and letting out more string. The kite responded by ascending higher and higher. It was exciting, and the little boy was delighted. After a long while they came to the end of the string, and as they watched the kite, now only a tiny speck in the sky, the little boy suddenly said, "Let's let it go. I want it to be free. I want it to go higher and higher, clear up to Heavenly Father." The dad replied, "It doesn't work that way, son. If we let it go, it won't go higher. It will fall instead." The little boy didn't believe him because the tension on the string made it seem like the string was holding the kite down. To demonstrate what would happen, the dad opened his pocket knife and handed it to his son. The little boy cut the string. In moments, just moments, the kite lost control. It darted here and there, down and down, and soon they had to walk a long way even to find it, a broken heap on the ground. The little boy couldn't understand. The string had seemed to be holding the kite down. But it wasn't. The string provided an anchor for the kite, without which it lost its ability to fly. Like the little boy, some of us mistakenly assume that commandments, rules, and values restrict us -- that if we were only free of them, we would be liberated. The truth is, the guidelines provide the discipline that will ultimately lift and guide us to our Heavenly Father. Without the commandments, we would be left to drift aimlessly and eventually crash in a broken heap. As we develop personal, private, religious behavior in the form of prayer, scripture study, service, church attendance, and obedience, we strengthen ourselves against sin and accumulate the power we need to be victorious in our war against Satan.


These were some great stories, I also had a wonderful list of quotes on obedience that I had the girls read...my hope was that at the end of this lesson that these girls would look at the word OBEDIENCE in a new light...a freeing light, not a restrictive light....

My two favorite examples of Obedience were of course, the Savior and Joseph Smith...could there be any others (okay Emma Smith should be included) but other than this little list, could there be any other more perfect examples?  I think not... I shared my feelings and my testimony of them and shared some of my favorite quotes. 

“Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire”  Joseph Smith

Elder Boyd K. Packer said: “Obedience to God can be the very highest expression of independence. Just think of giving to him the one thing, the one gift, that he would never take. … Obedience—that which God will never take by force—he will accept when freely given. And he will then return to you freedom that you can hardly dream of—the freedom to feel and to know, the freedom to do, and the freedom to be, at least a thousandfold more than we offer him. Strangely enough, the key to freedom is obedience."


It was one of those lessons that you walk away from feeling that you've grown from the very experience...I'm sure it was the time I spent in study and preparation...but I also think it was the sweet spirit that these girls possess that helps to touch and mold who I am becoming.

In retrospect, maybe the reason I feared teaching Obedience is that I, myself, did not fully understand the simplicity and yet the complexity of this one word...
...The key to freedom is obedience!

Baptisms and Tears of Joy

Last night, we attended a baptism for a sweet little girl we love and while I was there, I suddenly realized or remembered (take your pick) that I still had not added a post on my sweet little girls baptism...

I am soooo awful about documenting the important things in life!  Only our two oldest daughters have baby books, the rest are out of luck, so sorry kids, I really wanted to be better!!!

Anyway, better late than never on Cassie's special day ~

My Sweet Casserific's Baptism day was beautiful, almost as beautiful as she is!




She was dressed in a sweet little white dress, which I might add, she was mighty disappointed she could not actually be baptized in...she really wanted nothing to do with the little jumpsuit, but reluctantly agreed that it would be okay and she could quickly change back into her gorgeous gown right after her baptism.

We had many family members and friends present, I loved that so much!  Makes my heart sing inside when we get to share the special moments of our life with others...

She was so pleased and so sweet, such a tender little person! 
Her Daddy baptized her and her Grandpa confirmed her...
My husband really felt that it was important for his father to confirm her and give her a blessing as he might not have the opportunity to perform such a special gift again.  It was really special. 
The only thing that could have made this day any better for me would have been to have my parents feel a bit more comfortable...I love them so much and appreciate their support...they are such a wonderful blessing and example of goodness to me. 
But I do know these are hard days for them....
the baptisms,
the weddings,
I'm sure the farewells of my missionary boys will be another very difficult one for them,
but they are supportive, even though they struggle to understand why these things are important to us.  I hope that I can always know the right things to say and that they will always know just how special and important they are in the lives of their grand kids...(( giant hugs )) 
They are truly magnificent parents and grandparents...
Our kids are blessed because they have two sets of grandparents who love them!  I think it's high time, I let them know how much I love and appreciate them ( a card will be made and sent this week! )


Quite possibly the most memorable thing about Cassie's baptism didn't come until many hours after it had been performed, not to downplay the beauty and significance of this special ordinance in any way, shape or form, but this is a moment I'm likely to always remember!

It was very late that night, all of our company had gone home, the kids were all in bed and I was ready to head there myself...as I walked down the hallway, past my daughters' room, I could hear a muffled little cry...I poked my head in to see if all was okay and found Danielle writing in her journal and crying.  I was very worried and asked if she was okay...her response was so tender and sweet!

We went back in time to eight years before this day...
to the day Cassandra Nicole came into this magnificent world...
now what you must know
is that Danielle is the second child
and the next three children after her are all boys, how she wanted a baby sister this time...(but since we've never found out the sex of any of our children, it was always a big surprise)

Now that I've given you the scene...
let me share what Danielle shared with me this night....

"Mom, when Dad and Cassie walked into the chapel
it was all I could do to not burst into tears,
she was so beautiful!
All I could think of was the day she was born,
and I wanted to sob today just as I did that day...
I was so happy, so happy that my little sister was being baptized. 
I could hardly keep it in,
I felt the Spirit so strong
and I knew that Cassie's decision to be baptized is exactly what she was supposed to be doing. 
It was so nice to feel the Spirit. 
I am just so happy."

Again, I would like to take you back to eight years ago...
To the day Danielle so vividly remembered on this special evening ~

I am laying in the hospital bed with this precious little baby girl bundled in my arms,
my children all walk in just minutes after her arrival...
(not knowing whether or not we'd had a girl or a boy). 

When we announced that this little baby was a girl,
Danielle burst into tears
saying, "I am so happy, I wanted a baby girl so much." 
She could not quit crying,
but kept insisting that she wasn't sad, she was just so happy. 
Tears of Joy! 
Tears of joy shed by Danielle for her little sister at two different times in her life, two different situations, both of such great importance...tears that will always be remembered with such tender feelings.  A bond that is so strong, it can only be expressed through these tears of joy... 

Tears of joy are real,
they are special,
they are reserved
for some of the most intimate times of our lives...
possibly the times
when the Spirit touches us
in a way that is unlike any other.

This special day, Cassie's baptism, will forever be a day of significance for many reasons...
The love of family among the highest!

Wrappin' up June....

I'm feeling a little sneaky about now...my kiddos all think I'm enjoying a Sunday afternoon nap, when in reality I am spending some quiet time catching up here.

It has been a beautiful day, actually it's been a pretty beautiful last month, can't really complain.  We completed school just this past week and I am very pleased with how all of our kiddos did  :0) 
Also, did all of our planning for our "co-op world"...
wayyyyy excited for our co-ops this upcoming year...
fantastic ideas and fabulous ladies, what could be better???  (post to be coming on this later  :0) )

Our family had our little vacation...
actually just a long weekend,
but heck that's a vacation, right? 
We left last Friday afternoon and traveled in our big van to Lava Hot Springs, took a little dip in the wonderfully warm water...I could have stayed there ALL night long, it was so relaxing...but they had to close up the pools, so at 11 p.m., we were kicked out...darn it!  We spent the night in their little campground with the boys all sleeping outside and the girls and I spreading out on the benches in the van.  I struggle to sleep if I am anywhere but in my own comfy bed, but this was ridiculous...I tossed and turned (and there's very little room for such activity on those van seats)...and finally decided to hop up and go out to enjoy the fresh air....my hubby beat me to it and was already up and out walking, taking it all in. 
I'm a bit of a chicken, so I stayed close by,
too afraid of getting lost or taken
(I know, who would want to take me? 
But it's a silly fear I have...
so until I saw that sweet hubby of mine, I was close to camp, safe and sound)

When all of our kiddos woke up, we spent a little time taking photos...beautiful area...I will post them later, on the phones again (and yes, I am still incapable, aaauuuggghhh)
Then we headed out, stopped in at Soda Springs,
watched the geyser and then took a little sip of the soda water that bubbles up out the ground...
not a one of our kids liked it, can't say I blame 'em, it's pretty nasty tasting, but it's an adventure not to be passed up!

From there we traveled through some choice areas ~ loved the scenery ~ Idaho is a spectacular site!   And Utah is pretty phenomenal itself...going into Logan was a treat and then feasting our eyes on that magnificent Logan Temple ~ aahhh!  We pulled over and unloaded our coolers and enjoyed a yummy lunch just outside the temple grounds, wish we would have had a little more time, but it was time to hit the road again...
our destination ~ The Manti Temple Pageant ~ was still several hours away!

Everything was going along very smoothly,
no problems,
kids even being quite nice to one another,
(Yes, that should be large and bolded, doesn't always happen around here!)
an enjoyable trip all in all...
and then...
the car started acting a little strange...
Chad was having difficulty actually driving as it pulled violently to the side...
he pulled over and the odor was horrendous...
BREAKS! 
No!!!! 
We have a temple pageant to make it to...what to do??? 
Well, we quickly found the closest Les Schwab Tire Store ~ they were AMAZING ~ in just a couple of hours they had us fixed up with a new brake caliper on the drivers side (apparently it had seized up and was causing all sorts of problems) and we were back on the road on our way...Hooray for Les Schwab! 

We were a little behind schedule, but still made it to Manti by 7 p.m., the pageant wasn't to start until 9:30, whew!  As we drove in to Manti, it was as it should be, quite a site to behold...
The Manti Temple...standing high on the hill! 
I love that so much, each time I see a temple sitting atop a hill, my heart is just filled so many warm fuzzies!!!
 







The kids quickly thought it looked so much like Nauvoo...we'd already had many discussions about Nauvoo and now we were about to compare Nauvoo to Manti...
how can one even compare the two...
let it be said, they are both sensational, and something every person should experience in their lifetime! 
The Manti Temple Pageant, also called The Mormon Miracle Pageant,
very properly named if you ask me,
far surpassed all expectations I had...
AMAZING production,
beautiful spirit,
one of the moments in your life that you come away from a changed person...



I feel so blessed that we were able to take this trip, work has been very slow for us and finances a little less than one might like to have, but my hubby has stayed nice and busy doing many odd jobs
(he's quite the handy man...
I am amazed that he can truly do just about,
no not even just about,
he can do anything that is set before him,
I've never seen him give up yet, how I love that about him!)

Moment to pause as I think about this wonderful man I adore....big smiley face...okay, back to the story...

We scrimped a little staying in the van and eating out of our coolers, but sometimes I think that makes the trips even more memorable...this is exactly as we did when we traveled to Nauvoo last year and our kids have the funniest stories to tell of our adventures!  After all, it's not about staying in fancy hotels or eating at the finest restaurants, it is about the journey and the memories we make together...and we certainly know how to do that!

P.S.    Someday, I wouldn't mind making memories staying in fancy hotels and dining at the finest restaurants, but until that day arrives, I am perfectly content making memories out of our cooler  :0)