Homeschool Conference!!!

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

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nothing but angels...

Do you ever have times in your life that you just have to shake your head and ask,
"What in the heck just happened?"

Have you ever had times that it seems that no matter how hard you try to show your love and concern for another, that it is rejected and dismissed as though you hardly exist?
Have you ever wished to be close to someone that just cannot see YOU for who you really are?

In those moments, do you struggle to keep believing You are something wonderful?

There are times in life that things just don't always seem very fair...
times when we are doing our best,
when we are going along thinking things are pretty good and WHAM!
Something smacks us right upside the head....
and dang it, it hurts!
But the hurt doesn't just go away quickly,
it lingers and then when you feel like it is beginning to dissipate,
it comes full circle and smacks you on the other side of the head
and then stomps on your big toe!
It's about now that I start wondering who I really am, am I okay, or am I just a yucky individual???

I've been dealing with something that breaks my heart, something that I have no control over, something that mystifies me and causes me to lose sleep...something that keeps coming back every few years or so, no matter how hard I try to keep it all good and whole and happy, I just cannot...

I have a person in my life that I so desperately wish to have a healthy, happy, joyous relationship with...yet, it seems impossible. She and I have struggled so many countless times and I am feeling beaten, I feel as though I should just give up, yet she is far too important to give up on. We have known one another forever, yet as I write that,
I wonder if we've ever Really known one another at all.
Each time I believe we are gaining some ground, I find myself feeling as though I've just been pushed down into a deep pit, trying to pull myself out and as I make a little headway, I am pushed right back down...as I hit the bottom, it sinks beneath my feet and I find myself even deeper than moments before, with no hope of ever reaching solid ground again, little hope of ever resting in a safe and happy place.

Over the past few days, I've tried to find solace in reading, in my search I came across this little children's parable...
it speaks to me and gives me a touch of the hope I've been searching for.
I'd love to share it with you.

The Little Soul and The Sun
by Neale Donald Walsch

Once upon a time, there was a little Soul who said to God, "I know who I am."

And God said, "That's wonderful! Who are you?" And the Little Soul shouted, "I'm the Light!"

God smiled a big smile. "That's right!" God exclaimed. "You are the Light." The Little Soul was so happy, for it had figured out what all the souls in the Kingdom were there to figure out.

"Wow," said the Little Soul, "this is really cool!"

But soon, knowing who it was was not enough.

The Little Soul felt stirrings inside, and now wanted to be who it was. And so the Little Soul went back to God (which is not a bad idea for all souls who want to be Who They Really Are) and said,
"Hi, God! Now that I know Who I am, is it okay for me to be it?" And God said, "You mean you want to be Who You Already Are?"

"Well," replied the Little Soul, "it's one thing to know Who I Am, and another thing altogether to actually be it. I want to feel what it's like to be the Light!"

"But you already are the Light," God repeated, smiling again.

"Yes, but I want to see what that feels like!" cried the Little Soul.

"Well," said God with a chuckle, "I suppose I should have known.
You always were the adventuresome one."
Then God's expression changed. "There's only one thing..."

"What?" asked the Little Soul. "Well, there is nothing else but the Light. You see, I created nothing but what you are; and so, there is no easy way for you to experience yourself as Who You Are, since there is nothing that you are not."

"Huh?" said the Little Soul, who was now a little confused. "Think of it this way," said God. "You are like a candle in the Sun. Oh, you're there all right. Along with a million, gazillion other candles who make up the Sun. And the sun would not be the Sun without you. Nay, it would be a sun without one of its candles...and that would not be the Sun at all; for it would not shine as brightly. Yet, how to know yourself as the Light when you are amidst the Light -that is the question."

"Well," the Little Soul perked up, "you're God. Think of something!"
Once more God smiled. "I already have," God said.
"Since you cannot see yourself as the Light when you are in the Light, we'll surround you with darkness."

"What's darkness?" the Little Soul asked. God replied, "It is that which you are not."

"Will I be afraid of the dark?" cried the Little Soul.  "Only if you choose to be," God answered. "There is nothing, really, to be afraid of, unless you decide that there is. You see, we are making it all up. We are pretending."

"Oh," said the Little Soul, and felt better already. Then God explained that, in order to experience anything at all, the exact opposite of it will appear. "It is a great gift," God said, "because without it, you could not know what anything is like. You could not know Warm without Cold, Up without Down, Fast without Slow. You could not know Left without Right, Here without There, Now without Then." "And so," God concluded, "when you are surrounded with darkness, do not shake your fist and raise your voice and curse the darkness. Rather be a Light unto the darkness, and don't be mad about it. Then you will know Who You Really Are, and all others will know, too. Let your Light shine so that everyone will know how special you are!"

"You mean it's okay to let others see how special I am?" asked the Little Soul. "Of course!" God chuckled. "It's very okay! But remember, 'special' does not mean 'better.'  Everybody is special, each in their own way! Yet many others have forgotten that. They will see that it is okay for them to be special only when you see that it is okay for you to be special." "Wow," said the Little Soul, dancing and skipping and laughing and jumping with joy. "I can be as special as I want to be!"

"Yes, and you can start right now," said God, who was dancing and skipping and laughing right along with the Little Soul. "What part of special do you want to be?"

"What part of special?" the Little Soul repeated. "I don't understand."  "Well," God explained, "being the Light is being special, and being special has a lot of parts to it. It is special to be kind. It is special to be gentle. It is special to be creative. It is special to be patient. Can you think of any other ways it is special to be?"

The Little Soul sat quietly for a moment. "I can think of lots of ways to be special!" the Little Soul then exclaimed. "It is special to be helpful. It is special to be sharing. It is special to be friendly. It is special to be considerate of others!" "Yes!" God agreed, "and you can be all of those things, or any part of special you wish to be, at any moment. That's what it means to be the Light."

"I know what I want to be, I know what I want to be!" the Little Soul announced with great excitement. "I want to be the part of special called 'forgiving'. Isn't it special to be forgiving?" "Oh, yes," God assured the Little Soul. "That is very special."

"Okay," said the Little Soul. "That's what I want to be. I want to be forgiving. I want to experience myself as that." "Good," said God, "but there's one thing you should know."

The Little Soul was becoming a bit impatient now. It always seemed as though there were some complication. "What is it?" the Little Soul sighed.

"There is no one to forgive." "No one?" The Little Soul could hardly believe what had been said.

"No one!" God repeated. "Everything I have made is perfect. There is not a single soul in all creation less perfect than you. Look around you." It was then that the Little Soul realized a large crowd had gathered. Souls had come from far and wide ~ from all over the Kingdom ~ for the word had gone forth that the Little Soul was having this extraordinary conversation with God, and everyone wanted to hear what they were saying. Looking at the countless other souls gathered there, the Little Soul had to agree. None appeared less wonderful, less magnificent, or less perfect than the Little Soul itself. Such was the wonder of the souls gathered around, and so bright was their Light, that the Little Soul could scarcely gaze upon them.

"Who, then, to forgive?" asked God. "Boy, this is going to be no fun at all!" grumbled the Little Soul. "I wanted to experience myself as One Who Forgives. I wanted to know what that part of special felt like." And the Little Soul learned what it must feel like to be sad. But just then a Friendly Soul stepped forward from the crowd.

"Not to worry, Little Soul," the Friendly Soul said, "I will help you."  "You will?" the Little Soul brightened. "But what can you do?"

"Why, I can give you someone to forgive!" "You can?"

"Certainly!" chirped the Friendly Soul. "I can come into your next lifetime and do something for you to forgive." "But why? Why would you do that?" the Little Soul asked. "You, who are a Being of such utter perfection! You, who vibrate with such a speed that it creates a Light so bright that I can hardly gaze upon you! What could cause you to want to slow down your vibration to such a speed that your bright Light would become dark and dense? What could cause you ~ who are so light that you dance upon the stars and move through the Kingdom with the speed of your thought--to come into my life and make yourself so heavy that you could do this bad thing?"

"Simple," the Friendly Soul said. "I would do it because I love you." The Little Soul seemed surprised at the answer. "Don't be so amazed," said the Friendly Soul, "you have done the same thing for me. Don't you remember? Oh, we have danced together, you and I, many times. Through the eons and across all the ages have we danced. Across all time and in many places have we played together. You just don't remember."

"We have both been All Of It. We have been the Up and the Down of it, the Left and the Right of it. We have been the Here and the There of it, the Now and the Then of it. We have been the male and the female, the good and the bad; we have both been the victim and the villain of it." "Thus have we come together, you and I, many times before; each bringing to the other the exact and perfect opportunity to Express and to Experience Who We Really Are. And so," the Friendly Soul explained further, "I will come into your next lifetime and be the 'bad one' this time. I will do something really terrible, and then you can experience yourself as the One Who Forgives."

"But what will you do?" the Little Soul asked, just a little nervously, "that will be so terrible?" "Oh," replied the Friendly Soul with a twinkle, "we'll think of something." Then the Friendly Soul seemed to turn serious, and said in a quiet voice, "You are right about one thing, you know."

"What is that?" the Little Soul wanted to know."I will have to slow down my vibration and become very heavy to do this not-so-nice thing. I will have to pretend to be something very unlike myself. And so, I have but one favour to ask of you in return."

"Oh, anything, anything!" cried the Little Soul, and began to dance and sing, "I get to be forgiving, I get to be forgiving!" Then the Little Soul saw that the Friendly Soul was remaining very quiet. "What is it?" the Little Soul asked. "What can I do for you? You are such an angel to be willing to do this for me!"

"Of course this Friendly Soul is an angel!" God interrupted. "Everyone is! Always remember: I have sent you nothing but angels."And so the Little Soul wanted more than ever to grant the Friendly Soul's request. "What can I do for you?" the Little Soul asked again.

"In the moment that I strike you and smite you," the Friendly Soul replied, "in the moment that I do the worst to you that you could possibly imagine ~ in that very moment..." "Yes?" the Little Soul interrupted, "yes...?" "Remember Who I Really Am." "Oh, I will!" cried the Little Soul, "I promise! I will always remember you as I see you right here, right now!"
 

"Good," said the Friendly Soul, "because, you see, I will have been pretending so hard, I will have forgotten myself. And if you do not remember me as I really am, I may not be able to remember for a very long time. And if I forget Who I Am, you may even forget Who You Are, and we will both be lost. Then we will need another soul to come along and remind us both of Who We Are." "No, we won't!" the Little Soul promised again. "I will remember you! And I will thank you for bringing me this gift ~ the chance to experience myself as Who I Am.

" And so, the agreement was made.
And the Little Soul went forth into a new lifetime,
excited to be the Light, which was very special,
and excited to be that part of special called Forgiveness.
And the Little Soul waited anxiously to be able to experience itself as Forgiveness,
and to thank whatever other soul made it possible.
And at all the moments in that new lifetime, whenever a new soul appeared on the scene, whether that new soul brought joy or sadness--
and especially if it brought sadness--
the Little Soul thought of what God had said.
"Always remember," God had smiled,
"I have sent you nothing but angels."
~~~~~~~~~~~~


As I read this little parable...my heart ached,
I have forgotten,
I need to remind her of who she is
and remind myself continually of who I am...
and I need to look at all those around me with the knowledge that He sent me nothing but angels...
and remember always that Heavenly Father has a plan for me. 
All the experiences I have in this lifetime will only serve to refine me to who He would have me be...

D&C 122:7 "And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."




Friday, April 13, 2012

Passover Feast and a Little Grass...

For our Passover Feast...we tried it all!
Thanks to some amazing friends who are in our co-op, we pulled off one fine Passover Experience for our kiddos!

The menu included:  lamb, maztah ball soup, herbed passover rolls and white grape juice. 
Prior to our sit down meal, we listened to the story of the Passover and tried a variety of things on our Seder Plate... matzah, celery and parsley dipped in salt water, haroset and horseradish.

It was all followed up with a piece of uunleavened chocolate cake and another cup of white grape juice.
 
We were all dressed in our Sunday best...I have to say the kids were wonderful...they listened, most of them tried everything (doesn't mean they all loved it, but they were at least willing to give it a shot).
 
It was a special treat for our family to prepare some of the dishes for the day...these are items that we do not eat at the Lytle home, so it was a bit of an adventure and the kids were totally into it!
 
The Haroset was a yummy treat!  Here is the recipe ~ It's one worth trying!
(I doubled this recipe, but for just a family, I'd stick with the quantities below)
 
**4 medium apples, 2 tart and 2 sweet

**1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
(I actually substituted the almonds for sprouted sunflower seeds...so yummy!)
**1/4 cup sweet wine
**1/4 cup dry wine
(Okay, another substitution...I used white grape juice)
**1 Tbs. cinnamon

Shred the apples. Add all other ingredients. Allow to sit for 3-6 hours, until the wine (or grape juice) is absorbed by the other ingredients. Serve on matzah. Goes very well with horseradish.

So Matzah is very similar to a saltine cracker, without the salt, and just a smidge flatter. 
And believe it or not...The Haroset was scrumptious on the Matzah with a little horseradish!

The kids didn't think it was all that fabulous with horseradish, but oh it was...try it, you'll like it!  :)

The Passover Rolls were also a very big hit here! 
Imagine eating stuffing in a ball, nice and crispy on the outside and a little moist on the inside...
yeah, it was yummy!

If you want to give it a shot, here's the recipe...
PASSOVER ROLLS
Herbed Passover Rolls
A light unleavened dinner roll for Passover, with the fragrant aromas of thyme, rosemary, parsley, and chives!  This will make about 12 rolls, so you may want to double or triple it if you are feeding a crowd like mine.  :0)

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup oil (I used Olive Oil)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (didn't have any kosher salt, so I just used my Sea Salt)
2 cups matzo meal (alrighty, this one is a bit tricky to find, so if you have no success locating it, just go pick up a canister of the unseasoned bread crumbs over by the stuffing mixes)
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary*
(I was a little extra generous with the fresh herbs...so yummy and it smelled just divine!)

Instructions:

1. Combine first four ingredients in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and stir in matzo meal, stirring well until mixture pulls away from sides of the pan (about 30 seconds).
2. Remove from heat and place dough in a large mixing bowl (use a stand mixer if available). Cool slightly and then add eggs and herbs, beating on LOW until well-combined.
3. With moistened fingers, shape about 1/4 cup of dough into balls and place on a greased 11x15-inch baking sheet.  (These are super sticky, I found it easiest to use two spoons to get it onto the baking sheet...otherwise it just wanted to stay stuck on my fingers)
4. Bake rolls in preheated 375-degree oven for 55 minutes or until done. Be sure to fully cook the rolls, as the outside will be crunchy before the middle is completely done.

Cool on wire rack....if you can, as soon as they come out of the oven, everyone is going to want to sample them...they smell so yummy cooking!





The other super fun thing we did was to plant a little EASTER GRASS...
This is one weeks growth!
This is some amazing stuff...I swear we could walk by it, come back in an hour or so and it would be visibly taller than before! 

WAY FUN!

I teased my boys that I was going to go out and plant this grass all over our yard...they freaked..."NO, I don't want to have to mow every other day!"  hahahaha  I didn't really do it, but it was tempting!  :0)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Food's Just a Good Thing...

Food makes us happy, it fills our bodies, gives us energy...
AND
It teaches us amazing lessons!!!

This year we have spent a lot of time studying the History of The United States of America!
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE teaching and learning all this great stuff...

We've also been enjoying reading some mighty fantastic American Girls books.
We finished up the series of Felicity...


Felicity Merriman is a spirited 9 year old girl who lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1774, just before the Revolutionary War.  She is one spirited little girl who'd rather be out riding her horse than doing any "sitting down kinds of things"...  Fantastic series!!! 
Love the historical content and the conversation starters between my kiddos and I...
definitely worth your time...
I would highly suggest doing them as a great read aloud!  You won't be sorry.  :0)

We are now in the midst of devouring Kaya...


"Kaya" is short for the Nez Perce name Kaya'aton'my'...which means "she who arranges rocks."  Kaya and her family are Nimiipuu, known today as Nez Perce Indians.  Kaya is an adventurous girl whose deep love for horses and respect for nature nourishes her spirit.  She learns some hefty lessons that have been great for my kids and I to discuss...one that is just perfect is the lesson of thinking of others before thinking of ourselves.  You'll want to know how she "earned" the nickname "Magpie"... so go grab the books and sit down for a good read with your kiddos! 
We also had some eye-openers when we discussed the limited food they survived on...a good winter's meal would consist of dried deer or elk meat, dried fish and dried berries...
one of our little ones piped up with just how grateful she is that she wasn't born in the "Old Days"...
They were also delighted that we don't have a "Whipping Woman"...
the whipping woman would whip and punish ALL the children when ONE would do wrong! 
Wow, that seems a bit harsh, but I'm willing to bet they didn't have much of a problem with disobedience!  My kids eyes were wide open when we discussed this one!  ;) 
I can't imagine having such a horrific job...I'd never be able to line 'em all up and proceed with whippings!  I'd be all teary-eyed and weepy...so not the job for me!


I love to have my kiddos "experience" as much of the life others have lived and one key part are the foods they enjoyed (or possibly more correct would be to say the foods that sustained life for them)  I have cause to doubt that they may have actually enjoyed what they morseled.

Well, this morning, just after a little lesson on Mary Ludwig ~ also known as Molly Pitcher (a heroine during the Revolutionary War) ...we decided to whip up some JOHNNY CAKES.  Now, I do have to say that I think they could have truly enjoyed this tasty little recipe...just imagine a cornbread pancake...the kiddos ate 'em up, almost down to the last crumb!  (Even yummier when you add just a smidge of butter and syrup!)

Yesterday, we sampled some jerky, berries and nuts...although it tasted pretty yummy, we decided eating it day after day after day after day might become a little boring!  We're pretty spoiled with all the choices we have for food.

I LOVE that our kids are learning and understanding that people (AND children) had to work for and preserve the foods that would sustain them...I love that they see "pickyness" really wasn't an option.  If you were hungry enough, pulling the bark back from a tree and savoring a little "tree meat" was a common occurrence. 

I have so many yummy things to share with you.

Possibly one of the funnest things we do each month is our END OF THE MONTH GEOGRAPHY PARTY!!!  How I LOVE a good party!!!  My next post will be our about our Passover Feast ~ Israel, being our Geography Choice of the month!  These are such a fantastic experience for not only the kids, but for the Moms as well!  We are able to sample a variety of offerings from each country we study.  Some are much yummier than others...some not so much!  But what an amazing bonus to our school days! 

IF I've failed to mention this...
I thought I'd throw it out there for all to hear (or read)... 
I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING MY KIDS! 
We have so much fun together,
we learn amazing things,
we explore,
we create,
we experiment,
we laugh and gasp together...
Life has to be fun when it's filled with one wonder after another! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

A little spark...

I've been contemplating lately just how very hard it can be to raise a family...
how difficult it is to keep all the bad, yucky stuff away...
I know I cannot REALLY keep it all away, but how I wish I could!!!

When I read the following quote by Harold B. Lee, I was very moved...
I hope I can do justice in words what I feel in my heart at this time...


"You cannot lift another soul until you are standing on higher ground than he is. You must be sure, if you would rescue the man, that you yourself are setting the example of what you would have him be. You cannot light a fire in another soul unless it is burning in your own soul.
You teachers, the testimony that you bear, the spirit with which you teach and with which you lead, is one of the most important assets that you can have as you help to strengthen those who need so much, wherein you have so much to give. Who of us, in whatever station we may have been in, have not needed strengthening?" 
Harold B. Lee - April 1973

I find myself wishing to lift some very special people in my world, it is hard when those that you love are suffering or struggling...If only I could give them what I have...I'll start over ~ I know I can find what I need again, BUT it is so scary when you are the Momma or the Wife or the Friend wishing for that special person to "get it"... 

After reading these words, I've gained a little strength...

I must make sure that I am standing on high ground,
to me that means that I must be living my life in a way that would exemplify goodness and charity, a life that I could say I had spent my days standing in Holy Places...
in my opinion, a Holy Place can be anything I make Holy...
my home, my life, my surroundings,
even my testimony ~
I must stand on it, for it, behind it...
I must be willing to share it with whomever, whenever...
it may be that very thing that will truly Lift another when they are at their lowest point. 

President Lee says that if we wish to "rescue the man" that we must be living the example we'd like for them to be.
Powerful words, yet calming...all that I must do is set the example for those that I love ~ that is the very best I can do. 

The next line that I loved so much is
"you cannot light a fire in another soul unless it is burning in your own soul."
Wow...how's that for a little personal reflection???

...he then moves on to share a statement that hits me with a great force...
"You teachers,
(Just insert your name here...
I go with Mom, Momma, Stacey, Wife, Sister, Friend...
because we are all teachers...
think of all the lives that you touch...
YOU are teaching those people by the examples you set,
by the person you are,
by the testimony you possess,
by the love and the charity that you share) 

"You teachers, the testimony that you bear, the spirit with which you teach and with which you lead, is one of the most important assets that you can have as you help to strengthen those who need so much, wherein you have so much to give."


So as I go off to bed this evening, I will lay my head down knowing that I really am doing all that I can to lift those special souls in my life...
I will forever strive to set the example they may need...
I will continue earnestly to strengthen and build my own testimony...
and I will pray fervently for the Spirit to accompany me as I teach and lead those in my care...
And I will also remember a few special words spoken by Joseph Smith when asked,
“How do you govern your people?”
His answer was,
“I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.”  

I feel I have done this with our children...now I must sit back and watch as they use their free agency and make choices in this life for themselves. 

"You cannot light a fire in another soul unless it is burning in your own soul." 
As I watch these kiddos of ours, I know they are also "watching" me...
I wish with all of my heart and soul
that they will see
a fire burning bright and strong within my soul
and that, if needed,
it may serve as a little spark
to ignite their magical flames!

Friday, April 6, 2012

What the heck???

So I think most of the time I am pretty mellow and understanding...
I try to see the good in everyone around me...
I choose to see the cup as half full.

But tonight ~
Hmmm...
Well, I kinda feel like doing a little screaming.
Wish I knew who would be the most appropriate person to scream at!

I was in Middleton tonight and decided to take a little jaunt on over to "my home"...
just curious how things are looking and if it has been taken over, if someone new was there...
What I really wanted to see were my flowers poking their heads up, all my beautiful trees as they begin flowering, all the wonderful green grass in the pasture.
I could see as we approached that it was empty, no changes, but then
As I drove down the lane, I wanted to cry...
someone has vandalized and painted on our horse stalls...things were thrown about all over the lawn...it is obvious that the screens have been messed with (my guess is there has also been entry into our home)  I couldn't stand the thought of going inside, so I did not.

Our house was supposed to have gone to auction in February, then in March and now???  I could still have been living in my home, trying to work things out, but they told us we had to leave and we listened...we moved on...and for what? 

To make matters even worse, just after leaving our home, holding in my tears so that my little ones would not see them, I receive a phone call.

It is THE BANK!
Maybe this is who I want to scream at...
But as I write that,
it is just some employee who doesn't know me,
doesn't know how much we wished to stay in our home,
I am just another account number with a name attached to it,
just another phone call,
just another person to speak to as they pass away the time of their shift...

I am baffled, astounded, shocked, disappointed, flabbergasted...
I guess I just see complete inadequacy!
Why, WHY, WHY???  are they continuing to call NOW?
They wouldn't even consider working with us.
It was a nightmare!
It felt completely unbelievable...
and now
NOW
They want to work with us.
We've moved...
We are in a lease that we cannot end.

We picked up our life
and transported it to a new location.
This doesn't even seem fair.
I don't know what to say or how to respond,
I did well at holding back my tears and my frustration.

And then I think about what SOMEONE did to our property...
WHY would they deface something that was wonderful?
Why do people do such mean things?

I guess I just do not understand...
I don't understand people
I don't understand the bank
I don't understand the whys I have in my heart.

I don't know what we are meant to do...
It seemed as though we received an immediate answer
and we left
we re-established as best we could
we are still trying to settle in to this "new life"
and it feels yucky and unfair
to dangle "my old life" like a carrot in front of my face.

Dang people anyway!!!
Dang bank!!!
Dang economy!!!
Dang this heart that aches!!!

Okay, I think my fingers did all my screaming for me...
that was much better than my voice flitting all over the place.

I don't know why I feel the need to go clean up all the mess that some stupid person decided to do...
It just feels wrong to have my home looking yucky and unkempt and unloved.

DANG IT!  Where are the tissues?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Awards, Rewards and The Real Stuff...

Each week I attend meetings through the Boise Chamber of Commerce for our family business.   Each person in attendance has a few moments to introduce their business, tell some highlights and then address the specific topic of the week...

The topic for this week (which we find out just moments before addressing it) was to tell the rest of the Chamber Members about the most recent or most significant award you had received. 

DANG IT!!!

Not a darn thing to share...I've never been awarded with anything fabulous...what was I to do?  What could I say?  Was there anything to share?  Any thoughts?

As we went around the room, there were so many great awards that these people had received during their lifetimes...many had recently been nominated to receive additional awards...only a couple had as little as I did to share.  Some shared funny stories, some inspiring, some very recent and some from their pasts...

So as I left this meeting and started my journey back to my life at home, being the mom, doing my homeschool thing and running our business and family life...I pondered what this meant to me.

Does it matter that my walls are not filled with awards for this and that, does it matter that I haven't REALLY done anything note able, does it matter that I don't REALLY care? 
I kinda thought I cared, but only for a moment or two...
then I thought about the things that do hang upon my walls... 
Photos of the most adorable little people in the world, photos or paintings of things that make me smile and help me keep dreaming, calendars of our life, artwork from all my little artists...these are the things that make my walls and me happy!

My awards, my most precious of all things, are not REALLY things at all. 
And guess what,
I have done some pretty darn note able things in this world...I am raising some mighty fantastic kiddos and I am proud to be their Momma. 
I don't have awards that say I've achieved great things, but I have the reward of spending my days with the people I love the very most in the world.

I left my blog open as I went to a meeting last night and came home to this adorable message that I must share: 

Congratulations Stacey Lytle! You were nominated and after careful consideration, a unanimous decision was made, it is our great honor to award you with The Greatest Wife and Mother award. You earned it! Love your family :)

It is moments like this that I just have to smile...my life ROCKS!!!
It's the Real Stuff that makes me happy and makes life worth living, not the awards or the rewards or the trophies or the plaques...Just the sweet comments, the hugs and kisses and the smiles that tell me just how they feel about me!

BEING the MOM is the only AWARD I need and I got it day in and day out!

Bloom…Baby…Bloom!

As Springtime approaches, I find myself wandering around my yard surprised at the deep need I feel to get to know my surroundings in this new home of ours; I love seeing the flowers as they start peeking their little heads out and the trees with their wonderful little buds abounding. I find such joy in the daffodils that are brightly sharing their beauty, and as I do so, I cannot help but think of a quote that has touched me time and again…“Bloom Where You’re Planted”.

Many years ago, when I first set my eyes upon this little gem, I took it to mean be happy no matter where you might be.

Over the years I’ve come to understand that where we might be includes not only where you live, but it also means how you live, what you’re doing, and where you are at in life. Sometimes it can even be about where you can’t live, or what you may not be... It can be about a situation you are in, or a situation you long to be in.

No matter where you are planted, this phrase, “Bloom where you’re planted” is a reminder that you are strong and able to grow and blossom beautifully under any circumstance. No excuses. No more of the “if only…” or “when I…” Those phrases, those thoughts do not bring about blooming. They stifle the grandeur we each possess.

Blooming is a slow process. A full bloom comes in a slow and steady way. It’s about taking one small step in the right direction, every opportunity you get. It’s about realizing that sometimes life doesn’t always go the way we might wish, sometimes we may feel we cannot blossom in the situations we’ve been placed in. Unfortunately, there are many times in life when we are faced with these very real feelings. It is then that we have to make a choice; we can turn inward and shrivel in the soil, or we can open our buds and blossom beautifully in the sun. There are no guarantees in this life, so when we hold back we do so at the risk of never fully blossoming.

A flower doesn’t ask for perfection before blooming…it does whatever it can to bring its beauty to the world. We would do well to take note of that…

We can bring such beauty to the world around us…Enjoy where you are, what you’re doing and how you’re doing it! This moment will never come again, don’t let it pass you by. We can thrive and flourish as we turn our heads to the sunshine…we can abound and bring joy to others as we choose to bloom!