Homeschool Conference!!!

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

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

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wounded people...wound people

When dealing with hard things that come from people we love, I've found myself telling my kids to remember these words ~

Wounded people...wound people.

That doesn't make the hurt go away.
It doesn't make it not real or any less painful.
BUT what it can do
is to help us look at that hurt through new eyes, if you will.

I have found that the people who lash out,
the people who are the most unkind,
the people who say and do the nastiest things to others,
are usually the ones
who need
someone to love them
and care for them
and accept them
and find the good in them
more than just about anyone else on this planet.

They hurt,
they are wounded
and in turn
they do what they know --
they wound others.

Doesn't make it right,
but
it does help those hurt by their actions or words
to stay in the right frame of thinking.

I try to teach my kids (and myself)
that all we can do is be the very best we can.
We can reach out to others
extend our friendship
and love them.
But even through all of this,
others still have a choice.
Some of them
STILL WON'T CHOOSE
to like you
or accept you
or be kind to you.

And it's okay...
it really is NOT a reflection on you.


It just is the way it is.
(REALLY HARD ONE to remember when it the midst of it all)

The next time someone acts in a way that wounds you to the very core,
try to step back...
take in a deep breath.
And if possible
forgive and forget --
know it is not you
(unless YOU REALLY did do something, which often is not the case)
and be okay...
move on
and try to never become the wounded that in turn wounds others.

If it is true that
wounded people...wound people,
then I think it's pretty safe to say that:

Cherished people...cherish people.
Respected people...respect people.
Loved people...love people.

Ooohhh...I like that so much more!
Warm fuzzies happening here!  :)

We each make a difference every single day of our existence...
YOU have so much power over how others see themselves ~ especially the children you are raising...
Help them to see the beauty they possess,
the goodness that resides within their wonderful little bodies,
help them to feel surrounded by love and acceptance for who they are.

If we all did this, 
I really believe we'd start seeing the most amazing things happening in the world around us because
Cherished people REALLY do cherish people!


Much LOVE to you today!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Apologia...comments are closed...


Attached is Apologia's follow-up post after the strong reaction they received from writing their original post titled: 
I find much about this post quite sad, I also find it mighty interesting that Comments are Closed on this...why not allow others to Comment???  I'll be quiet and not go there...
In fact, I'll try to be as quiet as possible and let you draw your own feelings and thoughts from all of this...
I would like to share just a few of the paragraphs within the body of their post:
An important key to this discussion is how the word “Christian” is defined. A Christian is anyone who has faith in Jesus Christ and is His follower. The word Christian means “follower of Christ.” Therefore, we must consider this question: Which “Jesus Christ” does the person claim to follow? If the historic Christian definition and the Mormon definition of Jesus Christ are different from each other, then our definitions of Christian must naturally and logically mean something different. So even though we may be using the same words, how we define those words is key to the discussion.
SORRY...CANNOT BE QUIET HERE!!!!  
"Which Jesus Christ does the person claim to follow?"  What the heck kind of question is that???  To my knowledge there is ONE AND ONLY ONE JESUS CHRIST!  There is not a choice of which one to follow if there is only one (and by the way, there is only one Jesus Christ!)
Okay, climbing down off my box ~ back to their post:
Christians believe that Jesus Christ (i.e., Messiah) is the only begotten Son of God, is one in divine essence with the Father, was born of a virgin (i.e., not sired by a God-man), lived a sinless life, died on the cross to save us from our sins (i.e., we cannot save ourselves by doing good works), rose on the third day, ascended into heaven, and will return to claim His own (i.e., not everyone) to live with Him forever and serve Him in a new heaven and new earth (i.e., we will not become gods ourselves). However, official Mormon doctrine defines Jesus in a way that doesn’t match the strict monotheistic and Messianic exactness accepted by orthodox Christianity. I am not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings with this statement. But it is crucial that we define our terms precisely in order to carry out a reasoned and rational discussion.
Sired?  Really???  What are we ~ Horses?  Come on!
Okay, whatever...I'm just biting my tongue at this point!  
Now allow me to directly address some of the feedback we’ve received.
A few people have stated that their responses and comments were censored and/or deleted. Those posts that were removed were simply attacks with messages such as “haters,” “lovers of money,” and “doom on you.” I hope we can all agree that comments like these are unnecessary and unproductive. We welcome a discussion of faith and doctrine and believe it to be healthy for anyone to consider how his or her faith stacks up against the truth of God’s Word. We know that the Word of God will not return void and that by hearing the truth, people can come to faith in the true Jesus Christ and enjoy eternity with Him in heaven, thereby avoiding eternal condemnation, which is the unfortunate destiny for those who deny Christ and for those who put their faith in a false Christ.
Okay, kinda wishing I hadn't have gone here this morning...
I'm not very good at remaining quiet!  
Maybe it's just me, but I find this rather insulting!  
How does my faith stack up against the truth?  
And furthermore, IF I am reading this correctly, I should assume that Apologia is implying my unfortunate destiny of eternal condemnation by believing in a false Christ???  WOW!!!  
I think I am back to my original thought with these people ~ Jesus Christ (THE ONLY JESUS CHRIST!) cannot be pleased by all of this...how Christlike is this behavior?  Not so much, if you ask me.  
...
And, just a little more for you ~ 
My one primary goal for this article is to express my sincere love for members of the Mormon church. I honestly pray that you hear the heart in these words. My greatest desire is to stand on the solid foundation of God’s Word, love God, and love all people because they are made in His image.
My theology may be quite different from yours, but a good debate about issues (without slander or abuse) can be healthy. It is not hateful to state that a particular worldview is false or to give reasons why another is true, especially when backed up with evidence. The Mormon community has worked tirelessly to defend the conservative position on many of the important social issues of our time, and we applaud and support their efforts in these areas. Is it hateful for Mormons to give reasons for their positions and point out the errors of the opposing view? Certainly not.
Truth does exist, it can be found, and I hope we can all strive to seek God with all our hearts and consider carefully what is said by man and what is revealed from and inspired by God.

I'm not going to spend any more energy on this...It just makes me too sad, so instead I will focus on who I am and what I believe and live my life the very best I can each and every day!
I know where I stand...
I love my Savior, Jesus Christ.
I know that He loves me.
I know that I am not facing eternal condemnation, 
in fact, that is laughable to me...
I know that I will see the face of my Savior one day...I know He will embrace me in His arms.  I know that I will stand next to my Heavenly Father and that I will know Him and He will smile down on me pleased with the way I have lived and loved.  
Of these things, I am confident, I am peaceful, I await the day I will see them and know it will be a day of rejoicing!

Now, I will be moving on to happier things!
Happy Thursday to you!!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Really, Apologia???

Seriously???

I just want to shout out a HUGE
SHAME ON YOU, APOLOGIA!!!

After my last two posts regarding the Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell and my addendum, along with the blog post Apologia published earlier today, I started looking a little further into what Apologia puts out about other religions.

Probably shouldn't have done that, cause I am fired up now!!!
So very disappointed.  :(

I have really enjoyed their Science Curricula and The Planner was pretty fantastic.
But I CANNOT and WILL NOT support a company that claims to be Christian, yet acts in such ways that do not at all depict being Christ-Like!

WHY, WHY, WHY??

I am looking at their catalog, page 63 to be exact; on this page is a listing of several online courses they provide to homeschooling families.

Are you ready for this???
Wow, I really was not!

WORLD RELIGIONS, CULTS, AND ISLAM
Semester 1:  World Religions & Cults
This is a survey of world religions, major cults, and other doctrines that challenge the historic Christian faith, including new religious movements.  Students will be trained to defend the exclusive truth of Christianity as they study the basic beliefs of major cults and world religions followed by biblical critique.

Semester 2:  Are Mormons & Muslims Christian?
Students will learn why Islam has grown to become the second-largest religion in the world.  This course will examine the Qur'an, Mohammed, Mecca, the history of Islam, and how Christians should respond to Muslims.  Emphasis will be on how to answer Islamic criticisms of the Bible and Christianity and how to share the gospel with Muslims.  We will also examine the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and its beliefs in many gods and universal salvation.

Whatever happened to teaching Christian values?
What has happened to teaching our children to love and accept one another?

I went a little further and found their Mission Statement, I find this interesting and entertaining considering the blog post they published to day and the online classes they provide.

Our Mission
Apologia Academy is committed to providing products, resources, and services that help homeschool families learn, live, and defend the Christian faith.  We offer online courses in apologetics for junior high and high school students - as well as adults - to provide the next generation with rational grounds for believing the truth claims of Christianity and to respond to objections raised against the true knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).  Learning to defend the Christian faith is a great way for young people to put their faith into action and become doers of the Word (James 1:22)!

I have no control over anyone else, so
I will just make the best choices for myself and continue on ~
I will move forward from this day
PROUDLY Proclaiming
that
I AM A CHRISTIAN!
I AM LDS!
I LOVE MY SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST
AND I WILL STAND FOR TRUTH!
I WILL HONOR HIM!
I WILL TESTIFY OF HIM!

AND I WILL LOVE OTHERS AS
I KNOW HE WOULD WISH ME TO DO...

I believe being a Christian includes exercising my faith and my belief and my love for Jesus Christ and for ALL fellow men...not just those who agree with my personal beliefs.

WE ARE ALL SONS and DAUGHTERS of our Heavenly Father, not a one of us is more precious in His eyes than another and the sooner we all start believing that and acting accordingly, the better.

Good night world...I'm going back to what I know and love best ~ being the Momma to all these wonderful children I've been blessed with!
I'm climbing off this big soap box and heading up to sleep with my little ones in their fabulous tent!


Apologia Review Addendum...

Sadly, I must share an addendum to my previous post,
The Ultimate Homeschool Planner.

It has come to my attention that
APOLOGIA has made a statement regarding the LDS Faith,
if you wish to read it in its entirety, please click below:
http://blog.apologia.com/blog/2013/04/12/is-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints-lds-mormons-a-christian-religion/#comment-10775

I am saddened by the misconceptions that are made by some.
As I read through the statement, the one thought that stood out to me above all was this:  How would Jesus Christ feel about this?  Would He approve of a group of people looking down on and judging another?  Would He wish to see this happening?  Would He feel this was Christ like?

Making FALSE statements about another group of people (for any reason whatsoever) is wrong; it is sad.
I know with all of my heart, that Christ would be wishing for us to all LOVE ONE ANOTHER, look for the good in one another and quit all the stinkin' nit-picking!!!

As I know many of my readers are LDS, I felt it only appropriate to share this information.
This is NOT in an attempt to convince you that APOLOGIA is BAD...
I just feel we all need to be informed and know exactly where they stand.
While I very much enjoyed the Planner, I cannot endorse a product from a company that so openly opposes the faith of another people.
I do not believe this is what Jesus Christ would want to see from us, and I cannot be associated with a company that is not open and welcoming and accepting of ALL people!

So...I will be spending a little time on my own putting together a planner that fits all aspects of what I wish to use for my family.  So sad, because it really had some good qualities.  (sad face!)

Happy Planning to each and every one of you.  :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner ~ ta da!!!

I have SADLY had to add an addendum to this post...
I can no longer endorse this product ~
For details, please click here to see my post in its entirety.

I have this battle that rages inside me...
one side determined as ever against the other.

The one side of me wishes so desperately to reach that point of refinement.
Oh, how I would love to say, "I have it all together!"
I dream of how fantastic it might feel to be completely organized, to have it all figured out, to have a plan for the day, the week, the month, the year...even the next many years that lie ahead of me...
How I would love to never have a freak-out moment because I failed to plan and then am left with the feeling of impending doom as nothing seems to be coming together as I had wished.  (if only I had planned)
Having it all together would be ideal as the homeschooling momma to so many kiddos, wouldn't you agree?

Then, I have the opposing side that wishes to fight the nastiest battle time and again!
Wishing for virtually NOTHING to do with "having it all together."
This side of me looks at all the planning and organization and screams out, "Why on earth would I wish to do such a thing, where is the FUN in that plan???"

I really do enjoy flying by the seat of my pants; it's exhilarating and refreshing!
AND
I also really enjoy having a plan; I love the peace that organization leaves me with, not as exciting, but just as rewarding.

A year or so ago I began to figure myself out...it has been quite a journey.
What I have found is that I love having a plan,
I love the stability that it provides.
What I don't love (at all!) is the thought that I MUST FOLLOW that plan;
it feels stifling to think that I can't wake in the morning and have some fabulous idea pop into my head and go for it!
I just have to remember that the thought (see above) is silly, I can still have the plan and improvise as I feel...isn't that the beauty of homeschooling and learning along side our kiddos, anyway???

When I was asked to review
The ULTIMATE Homeschool Planner, designed by Debra Bell, and sold through Apologia Press,
I had somewhat mixed emotions, that darn battle was raging away inside me again!

I am quite drawn to planners, I've probably given most of them at least one shot ~ they have tremendous powers that just suck me in ~ the problem is that they get me, but then can't hold me for long!
Would this one be any different???
Would I tire of it and move on,
or stick with it and see value in using it day after day, week after week?

To be honest,
I received my package in the mail and was really quite excited,
but then I put to the side waiting for Just the Right Moment to check it out properly...

It sat on my desk vying for my attention as I disregarded it for a substantial amount of time....
Then one day, I picked it up.
I'm certain it was the cover that finally got to me...I am absolutely in LOVE with the color Yellow!  Add in a few flowers, a hint of purple here and there and I'm hooked!

After adoring the cover, I decided to give it a shot; as I began flipping through the pages I have to admit I was intrigued.  THIS is no ordinary Homeschool Planner!  Debra Bell put some serious thought into this piece of work...

If I were to be speaking directly to Debra, I might be heard to say something along these lines,
"Debra, I really must tell you that as I opened the first page of your Ultimate Homeschool Planner, there was this quote, only three words in length, but those three small words have had the greatest impact on me:  'Order brings peace.'  It is those three words, along with the beauty you've created, that might just hold me.  This may very well be the ONLY planner that will keep me hooked.  Thank you for the time you've put into designing this ULTIMATE planner for me and for my kiddos!"

I think I should just make this official ~ time for introductions:
Debra Bell


meet Stacey Lytle
Meet Stacey
Stacey meet Debra...okay, that's better!

Moving on...

Going back to that little quote by St. Augustine ~ "Order brings peace", I have to say those words caused quite a moment of reflection for me...
I had to ask myself some tough questions, one I will share today was, "during which times in my 'homeschooling career' could I say I felt most peaceful?"
Well, during the times that I had a plan...
dang!
One side of me is winning over the other again!!!

Time to succumb and let the planning sessions begin ~ just add a little chocolate and a cup of tea and I can tackle the world before me!!!


Alrighty, I need to just tell you all that I love about the Planner and then toward the bottom I'll throw in some of my not so much in love with the planner thoughts!

What I LOVE about The Ultimate Homeschool Planner:

*  This is a PLANNING SYSTEM...not just the average, everyday, run of the mill planner.
Debra Bell has added so many elements to help walk the homeschooling mom through each and every step of bringing order to your home.
There are 12 pages of How-To Instruction along with visuals, so very helpful!  For a little sneak peak, click here!

* There is space to plan for 6 separate kiddos ~ being the Momma to 7 (6 at home now) this makes me happy.  Rarely do you find something that will compensate for a larger family.

*For each student, Debra provided a space for Mom to fill out goals for her children.  I LOVE that her primary focus here is Character Goals followed up by Academic Goals.

*There is a section for FAMILY PRIORITIES, followed by 3 pages of Resource Lists, with a space again for each child under which you can list the resources to use for each individually.

* One of my very favorite things about this planner is the number of inspiring quotes interspersed throughout its pages ~ here is one of my favorites ~

"The children should have the joy of living in far lands, in other persons, in other times - a delightful double existence; and this joy they will find, for the most part, in their story books."  Charlotte Mason
And one more ~

"It's a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally.  It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand."  Madeleine L'Engle

Okay, just one more...cause this one just makes me laugh:

"Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell, the name will carry."  Bill Cosby

Okay, I just have to share two more, but they are short...keep smiling with me here, they are worth it!
"A room without books is like a body without a soul."  Marcus Julius Cicero
and the last one...

"In Science we have been reading only the notes to a poem; in Christianity we find the poem itself."  C. S. Lewis

Just gotta sneak in one last one:
"If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself."  Albert Einstein

This is only the beginning of the quotes ~ YOU want this planner just for the quotes.  :)

*Moving on to a point that NEEDS to be made is the weekly planner part of this ULTIMATE Homeschool Planner.  The Weekly Plan takes up four pages to itself...I just have to say it is fantastic!
The time that is taken to plan your week is beautiful time...it is reflection time...it is spiritually uplifting time...it is a time to ponder your week and what you see happening, along with what you wish to make happen.  There is a section for recording the Memorable Moments of your week and a section titled Evidences of Grace ~ these are places to record the everyday little things that make your life so big and wonderful!  One section that I love in the Week Plan is a little section that is titled BATTLE PLAN!  In this section, you can arm yourself with a plan and a verse of scripture that you can fall back on when times get tough or out of control (IF you are the Mom, you know exactly what I'm talking about here!).

*These planners were designed with three things in mind, another reason I LOVE THEM!
1)  Count Your Blessings
2)  Encourage Independence
3)  Record Your Progress
This is listed on the inside front cover, which by the way is fantastic in that it has a handy little flap to hold all the papers you might wish to use for the week!

*Let's focus on #2 - Encourage Independence -
This is where the other two planners come in...
NOT ONLY does Mom have a planner,
so do the kids...
and the beautiful part about this is that they work hand in hand.

Start your kiddos out early learning to make a plan and see the benefits of having one and you will be encouraging that wonderful independence that we all desire our kids to have when it comes to education ~ I know we don't really love the independent little natures they sometimes throw our way, but trust me, it is a good thing.

When using these planners together, it is encouraged that Mom spends a little one-on-one time with each of her kiddos on Monday (or anytime at the beginning of your week) to set the plan into action for the week and then do a follow-up Friday or sometime over the weekend to see how the week went.  After a short amount of time, this will instill a routine and consistency that kids so crave from us.  I LOVE THIS PART!
I love the idea of my kids having a planner that they fill in
and then check off
and then report back to me...
we've done our own variation of this many times, but I'm thinking this one just might stick with us!!!

Soooo....
Now to pick on the planner for a minute and do a little critiquing...

*This is totally a personal choice and does not keep me from wishing to use the planner...the planner contains many Bible versees...no, I don't have a problem with that ~ I think it's lovely, BUT I do prefer using the King James Version and this uses another version.  But again...I can deal with that.  I just pull out my own scriptures and read it the way that fits my spirit and I'm good as gold.  Not a problem, in fact maybe it's a grand thing...one more reason to pick up my scriptures and go on the search.
See, we can find good in all things if we only wish to!!!

*And along the same lines, there is a section for "Prayers" on each weekly plan that I haven't used. I guess I don't really know what I'd use that for other than to check off that I had said my prayers???  So...I just utilize the space for whatever I may need.
I'm sure I'm just a little slow here and there was a fabulous reason behind this little section, so no biggie.  I'm just adjusting a little and there's nothing wrong with that.

*Cost might be an issue for some ~ this handy little tool for Mom comes in at $28.00
The Ultimate Homeschool Planner



The Ultimate Homeschool Planner

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner

Deb Bell's insights which crafted the homeschool classic, The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, have now applied to helping moms plan. Count your blessings while charting your family’s progress with this 48-week planner designed to help you document God’s faithfulness and activity during your homeschool journey. Features include: Unique Lord’s Day planning grid, Flexibility to help you prioritize and plan for up to six children, Customized daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly planning forms, Forms for setting goals, journaling activities, and tracking reading lists, Year-end review pages, Sturdy construction with convenient pockets and coated covers.
Now available in two different cover styles to coordinate with the colors of your life.

And for your teens, this one is priced at $19.00
The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens

The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens

Deb Bell's is the perfect planner for homeschool teen which allows you to customize the days, weeks, and months to your year and frame it within God's working in your family. 

And don't forget your younger kiddos, there's one for them as well!  Coming in also at $19.00
The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students

The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students

A great gift to start younger students on the road to academic independence! Students
meet with Mom weekly to record their daily assignments and mark their progress.
Helpful tips, extensive study aids and engaging trivia give this planner true kid appeal.

I don't really feel the cost is too prohibitive...
I believe I could justify it if I felt it was worth the investment.

SO...DO I FEEL IT IS WORTH THE INVESTMENT???

I'll give this one a thumbs up!!!

Give it a shot, I am certain you will be pleased as punch!

Just click here and you can start spending your pennies.






Saturday, April 6, 2013

Reclaimed...

After writing my last post earlier today, I have felt exhausted...not at all uplifted or fulfilled...

I went in search for a way to fill my cup.
I felt raw, I still feel raw.  Not good!

I watched this little video ~ Reclaimed ~
while it doesn't exactly fit with what I shared,
it fits in another way...

I have chosen to keep my past in my past,
not because I am ashamed of it,
not because I try to hide it,
not because I wish for others to believe I have never done wrong
but because I don't feel the need to dig up any garbage.
And the life I have now pretty much rocks in comparison!
I choose to focus on the here and now.


I find that when I dig up garbage from my past, it just hurts...
I feel burdened down when I re-visit hard times and I'd rather feel happy and light and full of hope.

I think this is okay
and it makes me feel peaceful,
so that is what I will continue to do.

Not hiding, just living a life that is new and happy and one that I can be in love with!!!




Raw and Unedited...

That title should be your warning...
If you are looking for happy, fluffy stuff, this post probably won't be the place to be looking.

My heart is beating wildly,
my eyes are filled with tears,
my mind is wandering in a million different directions as I sit at this keyboard with the hope that when I finish writing, I will have dumped all that hurts and that it will just stop and go away.

I look to my right as I sit in this room I call my office and see this staring back at me, giving me strength and the resolve to never give up.
























I have so many days that I must tackle a moment at a time...
This is one of my ways of dealing with it all...

This life-size poster of "my girl" hanging on the wall grounds me ~

At the top are the words
"We can ACT
or Be Acted on."

and
more importantly
these words:

I am BIGGER
than all these things!

at the bottom of my girls feet lay all the "things"
that I have to do or feel I must do...



















This visual helps me through tough times...

It empowers me
and strengthens me
It reminds me to Stay Positive,
to Just Be Me, to Never Give Up,
to BE Intentional, to Keep Dreaming,
to Believe in Myself and to Constantly Choose Joy!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Back to dumping ~ here goes -- taking in a deep, cleansing breath...
I can do this!!!


It has been brought to my attention that I am not very REAL,
that I hold back,
that I don't open myself up,
that I only share what others would wish to hear,
or what would make me worthy of being placed on a pedestal...

I am unrelateable because others view me as being on that pedestal ~
whatever the heck that means!!!
I guess my life looks a little too rosy to some???
hmmm...
Is anyone's life rosy?  Perfect?  Better than another's?
I think not...we all have our set of challenges and trials to deal with.

So today I hold nothing back
which may be scary
because my heart feels very raw
and
I feel
some other emotion I can't exactly put my finger on...
Life is stinking hard right now
actually, it's been that way for the past couple of years...
There just seems to be one hard, ugly trial after another.
Crap sakes!!!  Can I catch a break here???

Let's just start somewhere...we'll dig in with one that really stings right now...I'm dealing with the differing opinions and comments that are made about me regarding my religious beliefs and just who I am and how I fit into it all...

On one hand, I am told that it's nice that I'm not "too religious",
on the other I am told I have become very mainstream mormon, causing me to be judgemental of others who may not share my same beliefs.
Some view me as having had the gospel for my entire life
while others seem surprised that I go to church on a weekly basis.
WOW!!!!  What the Hay???
Can I just say that I am ME!
and that I'm just doing the best I can day in and day out...

I am LDS, yep that means I'm a mormon.  But guess what else it means???
I am a Christian and I love Jesus Christ!

Shall I say goodbye to some of you at this point?
Oh how I hope not...
but I am getting rather used to this happening in my life when it comes to my religious choices!

Some of you may now wish to never have anything to do with me again and you will click away from my page,
while others will think to yourselves,
"Whew, she's safe to spend time with."
And this response simply because I am of your faith.
I just cannot seem to win!

Why is something like religion (something as beautiful as it is) a wall?
Why does it stop others from loving and living and accepting?
I am a Christian, I love Jesus Christ, I truly stand amazed at His love, I just wish to be me and for that to be okay...
I know some would say I am foolish to believe that everyone in my life will like or accept me, but dang it, that is what I wish for and I don't think it's too much to ask.  I really think that's the way life should be...we should all look for and SEE the best in everyone else and forgive for the rest, not a one of us is perfect, so deal with it and just look past it and love one another.  Deal???

Even my own family (extended) views me as not okay...
I've lost family members (too many) because of my choice to have a relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Others I do still have in my life, but it feels nothing more than superficial -- which is heartbreaking!
I wish for so much more, yet I can't seem to have it.

So, let's just go there, shall we?
With every fiber of my being, I KNOW that my choices are the right choices for me and for my family.
I DO NOT try to get anyone else to follow what I believe...
for this I am thanked and scorned ~ just depends on whom you might be speaking to.

My extended family is grateful that I do not pressure them or try to convince them that I am right in going to church and raising my family with the gospel...
they know where I stand and I feel that is sufficient.
I can't say that the opposite has always been true.
There are those who believe I am damned because of my beliefs and have tried very strongly to convince me of such...
So, I will keep to myself and raise my family the best I can.
My reason for this is quite personal ~
but heck, why not just throw it out there for all to see?
I believe that nothing I will ever say or try to convince another of, will make an ounce of difference to them if they are not searching and seeking for a change in their lives.
I was introduced to the LDS church earlier in my life and disregarded everything that was ever said to me.
It was not until I was ready,
until I was searching for more,
until I was ready to seek
and give my heart and my effort
that anything was inviting or enticing to me.

I believe that if I just live my life the very best I can, that is what may at some point prompt another person to want to know more about what I have.
At that point, I will open my heart to them (as I have many times in the past).
But not until then...I just believe we have to want something enough to seek and then act.

Since I'm on this subject, I'll just dump a little more heartache out...
one of our three sons has no interest in church anymore.
He doesn't believe.
He doesn't even think that God exists,
he feels it is all a waste of his time.

I have so many feelings on this --
the biggest and the hardest is that I KNOW what my life was like without having the knowledge of my Heavenly Father and my Savior.
AND I KNOW how much better it is with them.
YES, I still have hard times,
yes there is still heartache and pain...
BUT I know where to turn when I am in need ~ I am never alone!
I have answers,
I have purpose,
I have a promise,
I have peace...

I don't want my son to be without this.  I don't want him to wander around aimlessly searching for what he thinks might bring him happiness one day.  I don't want him to deny the very things that will help him through his life.

I have many friends who have sons going out on missions...I used to think that was THE goal to reach for our kids ~ I have a new thought on all of that...
Now, I just want my children to have a love for Jesus Christ,
I want them to KNOW HIM,
I want them to feel that they can turn to Him when they are hurting or alone or questioning,
I want them to have a REAL Relationship with Him,
to view Him as their friend.
I know that I cannot make this happen for them,
which is evidenced by our son expressing his disbelief.
But it is my hope and my prayer...and I will never give up or stop believing in him.  I know that we've taught him well, I know that it is all in his heart and when he is ready to access it, it will still be there just waiting.

augh...

okay, ready for the next big ugly???

I REALLY thought I would be prepared for
ANYTHING and EVERYTHING
my kids could bring to me.
I felt that since I had experienced so many things in my past, that I would be able to deal with whatever they could dish out...
How wrong I was!!!

This started years ago with our oldest daughter...
I will NEVER forget the day she came to me asking what a particular "act" that a girl could do to a boy meant
and then WHY a girl would do such a thing.
She had been at a Soccer Tournament in another state and came back full of questions.
I was absolutely NOT PREPARED to discuss oral sex with my sweet young daughter.
This one had not even occurred to me!

So back to my being prepared for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, I wasn't and I'm still not...
This topic seems to be a BIG, BIG one for teens.

I am grateful that I have the relationships with my kids that I do...
although there are those times when I would rather cover my ears while singing
 "la la la la, I can't hear you!" 
 as they share the ANYthings and EVERYthings I thought I was so prepared for.

sigh...

I did not anticipate having to participate in conversations regarding oral sex...
I was fully prepared to discuss the ins and outs
and the why's and why not's of having sex.
I was armed and ready for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING with regard to teenage sex.
I thought I had all the answers ready and waiting, I was going to save my kids from the heartache I had once known.

WHAT heartache, you ask???

Well, let's just dig a little deeper!

I didn't make the very best of choices regarding myself and my worth as a young girl!
I didn't value who I was.
And since those days, I have been BOUND AND DETERMINED to not allow this to happen to my kids, if I could make any difference at all.

Becoming a mom and a wife
at the young age of 16 was hard.
I became pregnant at just 16
then married my boyfriend
who turned out to be less than a knight in shining armor,
honestly he didn't resemble one in any sense of the word.
We were young,
he was unkind in so many ways
and I refused to raise my daughter in an abusive environment.
So I left when my little Shealyn was just over a month old.

Divorced at 17,
still in High School
and being the mom to a newborn
was huge and hard
and not something I would ever wish on any of my kiddos.

Because of this,
I felt I was prepared,
I was armed with all that I could/would say to each of our children regarding pre-marital sex...
But I was not prepared for dealing with
how much the world has changed.
I was not / I am not
prepared to have conversations about how oral sex is viewed as the next step in making out.
It is viewed as okay because it isn't really sex...WHAT???
My kids have shared with me that this is an expectation...
My heart breaks that this is what our kids are faced with.
Life is so hard for them...
they have so many battles to fight
and we need to be standing on the sidelines cheering for them, arming them and picking them up off the battlefield when necessary.

I really thought to myself that my kids would be okay;
that they would not be faced with such hard things
BECAUSE our family goes to church,
because we don't do sleep-overs,
because I'm so involved,
because they have been homeschooled,
because I have been pro-active in sharing my story with them and "warning" them of all the stuff that is out there just waiting for them...
All of my "becauses" don't mean a hill of beans!

I really just want to scream and jump up and down and then I want to grab all of my kids and head for the hills.  I want to protect them and keep them innocent and unscathed.

Yet, I know that all of their experiences will be for their good...

Mine were.

I am not proud of my past.
But I am proud of who I am becoming...I like me.
I am proud that I have a beautiful daughter and I would never change that.
I am who I am BECAUSE of all that I have experienced.

So...
I have faith that our kids will be okay.
I know they will have struggles.
I know I will wipe away many more tears from their cheeks.
But I also know that I made it through it all,
I am okay,
I am happy,
I'm not perfect
but I am at peace with me
and that is big!

And now before I chicken out and edit out most, if not all, of the nitty-gritty, I will hit that PUBLISH button.

Funny thing is though, I don't feel any more "REAL" than I did before this post...

His Hands

For one of the most beautiful videos ever,
please click here to watch His Hands.

I take no credit at all for this...other than being lucky enough to come upon it.  And after that I just had to share with everyone I love.

I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I have!

And while I have you here, I might as well share one more that I love...again, no credit to me for either piece of work.  I just wish for you to see them.  :)

Click here for the second video ~ Mary Did You Know?

Giant Hug coming your way!!!

Can Soda REALLY do that to you???

During a Science class in our co-op this past week where we were discussing Chemical Reactions, a comment regarding the way our bodies react to certain foods and beverages was discussed.

Our science teacher, the wonderful Jerusha Smith, told a story of her grandmother who had "lived" on drinking coke for the better part of 40 years.













This poor grandma did not fair well with a copious amounts of soda raging through her body.  She refused to drink water...blah, blah, blah...

The point of the story, or of my sharing it with you, is that during her story of her grandmother, she told the kids that this poor woman ended up with a hole in her heart due to drinking too much coke.

I'm guessing this must have made quite the impression on my kids,
just this morning, one of my little girls asked me if her story was true?
Could drinking a lot of soda really do that to your heart?
I was just about to reply,
when my other little one chimed in with this,
"Well, no it cannot be true BECAUSE I have drank lots and lots of soda one day and I never got a hole in my heart!"

I'm glad to hear that they were listening (well, semi-listening)...had they heard (or listened to) the entire story they would have understood that the point being made was that the long duration of time and excess amount of soda was what contributed to this sad condition.

I couldn't help but snicker just a little -- my kids rarely drink soda and to them lots and lots of soda would mean they might have had 2 cups in one day!  ;)
I might think of this little conversation each and every time I enjoy one of those tasty bottles...
NO, I don't have one every day,
but every now and then I simply must partake!!!


Friday, April 5, 2013

Are you LIVING or merely EXISTING?


Oscar Wilde once commented, 
“To Live is the rarest thing in the world.  
Most people Exist, that is all.” 

It’s a sad, even cynical comment; many of us may believe the words “live” and “exist” to be synonymous, but the difference is immeasurable!

So, what exactly is the difference between Living and Existing?

As I researched these two words I came up with only a couple of differing qualities—the one that stands out prominently in my mind is that living requires effort.   When one is really living, they are likely to be quite engaged, animated, vivacious, vigorous, active, spirited.  The primary requirement for existing is merely a state of being; to remain, to be fixed or set, to endure.

A proposal I would like to offer to each of us, myself very much included, would be to do a little introspection – be honest with yourself and answer the question:  Are you “Living” or merely “Existing”? 

Let’s explore some thoughts on the two, shall we?

I would like to suggest the following to be true – and don’t just take my word for it, but see if you agree and if you are able to relate in any way:

Living is Finding JOY and Happiness in your environment; existing is merely going through the day just surviving.

Living is reveling in the beauty and the creations of life; existing is being surrounded by these wonders, yet seldom noticing their existence and certainly not appreciating them.

Living is loving and serving others—it is reaching out to those in need; existing is the meaningless self-absorption so many fall into—it is turning inward.

Living is recognizing your dreams and goals and taking the steps to make them happen; existing is nothing more than wandering throughout life without any inkling of your purpose.

Living is waking each day and looking at the work before you with an attitude of enthusiasm, gratitude and passion; existing is viewing this same work as a burden that is drudgery and obligation.

Living is allowing yourself to LOVE fully and completely and unconditionally; it is the giving of your entire self and becoming vulnerable and exposed.  Existing is closing yourself off from all that is possible – building a brick wall in an effort to save your heart from any pain or possible disappointment.

Living is the realization that you only have this one life to live on this earth, and then embracing all that is out there, making the most of each and every moment.

Living starts the moment you make the decision to be comfortable in your own skin and love the person you are.  Existing is hiding behind all of the reasons you think you aren’t good enough and using them as excuses to not be living!

My question again is:  Are you Living or Existing?  
And if you find you are merely existing . . . 
WHAT are you going to do 
to start this beautiful experience of LIVING your life???

Wishing you a month full of the best LIVING you’ve ever experienced.

(Written as President's Message for DHSA...
Click here to see the April 2013 Newsletter)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring Flower Surprises

I LOVE Spring Flowers...














This can be a good thing
and a bad thing...

I have one little girl who loves me sooooo much
that she decided she should give me a bouquet of spring flowers as a surprise.

Surprised, I was.

She walked in the front door with all of these beautiful flowers in her sweet little hands.  When I asked her where she found them, she promptly replied, 
"Oh don't worry Momma, I didn't pick them all from one place, I only took one flower from every yard."

What can you say???

Love that little child.  
She grew up picking all the flowers her little heart could desire when we had our property, so how do I stop her now. 
 (just so you aren't all horrified, I did ask her to not pick their flowers anymore)

She's so stinkin' cute that I'm sure all the neighbors will just smile and let it go...but I will still give my apologies for being the lucky recipient of their hard work.  :)

The joys of living in a subdivision.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review for "We Choose Virtues"

Our family has had the opportunity to review a curriculum that has a beautiful idea behind it!

In my opinion, Character Development is essential when raising children and that is the focus of the Curriculum I was asked to review -- We Choose Virtues.
In the mail came a great little package containing the following flashcards...




We Choose Virtues Flashcards

We spent some time going through these.
I love the color and sweetness of the artwork.
It is inviting...I also love the feel of the card.

We also had the opportunity to download coloring book pages.

This is where my family took off!
I printed each of the 12 pages ~

Obedient, Kind, Helpful,
Attentive, Content,
Gentle, Honest
Self-Controlled
PatientPerseverant 
Forgiving and Diligent...

I split them up between my little gang and we went to town coloring away...
Moms camera 521.JPG
I was a tad sneaky about my choices,
making sure to give certain "virtues"
to certain kiddos
who might just need a bit of extra help
in a certain little area.
I know, I might seem somewhat rotten,
BUT...a Mom has got to do what a Mom has got to do!!!
And this was perfect!

My kiddos took the time to color these pages and then we took it a step further by backing them on colored cardstock and then laminating
Moms camera 519.JPG
the final product so as to hang in a most prominent location in our home...the kids must walk past them numerous times each day as they go up and down the staircase.
camera card 001.JPG
Yes, totally on purpose ~ I want to cement in every way possible the Character Development I see as vital for our kiddos.We choose virtues 010.JPG

We made a little sign that hangs above all of the virtues that simply reads:
We choose virtues 008.JPG
and then each virtue is placed below.

We choose virtues 001.JPG

Prior to doing our coloring sheets, we did a little TEST, if you will.
I gave each of our kids and myself a copy of The We Choose Virtues Family Character Assessment.  This came as a download with the Teacher's Handbook.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that my kids had the opportunity to do a little introspection.
The Character Assessment focused on the 12 Virtues allowing them to rate themselves in each area.  This was a great exercise and opened up wonderful dialogue between my children and I.

Alrighty...now, as a reviewer, I MUST be honest when doing "my job"...so here's the thing I didn't care for so much...

On the back of each of the postcards is a positve (which is fantastic) BUT it is then followed up with a NEGATIVE...(not so fantastic!)
For instance, on the I am HELPFUL card
you will find the words "I find things that need to be done and I do them."  I like this, it is reaffirming and positive.  BUT then they follow it up with this phrase, "I am NOT...selfish, lazy or unwilling to serve and I don't have to be asked!"  I am really not loving this.  I truly feel that if we focus on the positive we will reap the positive...if we put any attention toward the ugly ~ we just may end up seeing the ugly...
So that is my gripe about this program.

I still felt it was worthy of using and just left out what I didn't care for and focused on the POSITIVE when teaching/instilling these virtues with our children.

FOR ALL OF MY READERS!!!
I have a LIFETIME promotion deal for you!!!
Promo Code - Virtue 15
This is good for 15% off your shopping cart!

OR
through the month of April
I am able to offer to you a special limited time code for their Homeschool Kit
Promo Code - Home 20
This is good for 20% off the Kit, again only through the month of April...so act fast!

To check out the comparison of what they offer, please go here.

Heather also has a couple of freebies on her website...so go here and check it out!!




Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy and Sad Times...

What a weekend!

Started my Friday out with a visit to a sweet friend and her kiddos that we haven't seen in way too long...had a walk down memory lane as we visited her horses and cows ~ just a tad difficult and heart wrenching.  Made me wish for my days in the country again with our property and space to run.  BUT I AM GRATEFUL that we have a nice home and that all is well...so no more whining about that!!!

Later that day...

OH MY GOSH!!!
HOLD ON...

I didn't even add in the MOST EXCITING NEWS!
I can't believe I've forgotten to share...
Guess what I am now the very, very happy owner of???

Can ya guess???

Want me to give you a hint?
Well,
it's yellow!

That might be enough for some of you!

If not,
please let me go on...
and it's adorable!

And when I put the top down
my hair flies all about...

Do you know what it is yet???

Okay, let me give you some more...
People drive past me slugging each other
and I giggle...(i know that's horrible, but I cannot help myself!)
It is, by far, the very happiest thing on the road!!!

I am now (after so many years of dreaming about it!)
the very happy owner
of the happiest YELLOW SLUG BUG ever!!!!!!!!!

Pictures coming in my next post...
Right now it's just hanging out in the garage,
and garages do not offer the best backdrop for such adorableness!

Okay, back to my weekend...

Well, after leaving my friends house,
(all my girlies in tow...
little ones in the backseat, arms high in the air.
loving the wind blowing through their hair ~
Can't you just picture the happiness???)

Next thing on the agenda,
a wedding reception in another very happy place...

The happy couple was married earlier that day
and the reception was held at The Boise Train Depot ~
one of my very happiest memories is there...

My hubby and I were married
by the ponds,
so beautiful!
We went to the reception, mingled, enjoyed great company,
even took a ride up the elevator to the bells and looked out over the city ~
it was perfect!
And then we added to the PERFECTNESS of it all
by visiting "OUR ROCK" overlooking "our pond"...
and my dear hubby said,
"I did and I still do and I'd do it all over again!"

Oh my gosh, I love that man!!!

Then we had a date night.
LOVE THOSE!!!
We went with some friends, it was a blast ~
full of craziness...
I had best save that story for another post.  :)

Saturday...
this was a little bit harder day.
Beautiful in it's own special way.

I took my little girls to a musical titled,
"Through Emma's Eyes"...
This was the story of a Emma Smith  ~
she is someone I have grown to love and admire...
while at the same time I have not always understood her.
I can't even say that I should try to understand her heart after all that she was given to endure...my heart breaks for her when I think of the trials she suffered; losing one child would be more than any mother could stand and she lost many and then suffered the loss of her husband.
This musical was worthy of a box of tissues!

After seeing the musical of Emma, my hubby and I went for another visit.
We have a very dear friend who is giving her best fight against CANCER.
DANG CANCER anyway!!!
It is a tough fighter...not willing to give a break at all!
Can I just tell you how much I hate cancer???
I hate it,
I hate it,
 I hate it!!!!!!!

I hate what it is doing to our friend,
what it is doing to her family,
her children...

She has been given very little time left to live
and had always dreamed of going to Hawaii...
she was even given a trip to Hawaii as a Christmas present,
but her health prevented her from going...
SO,
her wonderful family
brought HAWAII to her!




















Saturday evening she was surrounded by friends and family ~
enough to fill an entire church building.
We saw so many old friends
there were enough tears in that room to water many a garden!
Tears of joy as we remembered times with Dorene,
tears of sorrow as we look at what Cancer is doing to her,
and more tears of sorrow as we know what is to come.

Yet, as I say all of this...
I hold out hope.
Her 12 year old son holds out hope,
he believes that Heavenly Father will answer his prayers and that she will receive a miracle...
I pray with all of my heart that her little son is right.
And if not, I pray that her family will find peace and know that they can be with their sweet Momma again.

Stupid Cancer!!!

Sunday morning brought more happiness...
Our little grandbaby, three weeks old today,
was blessed in Church yesterday ~ Easter Sunday.
He is so darling!

Then Easter Dinner at our home with all our kiddos
and my grandbabies
my mom and dad
and my sister and her family.

That evening we sat out on the grounds of the temple as our daughter (and the Boise Institute Choir) performed an Easter Tribute.  It was beautiful and a perfect way to end Easter Sunday.

And now...
it is Monday
back to school
and work
and life
and all...

As I woke early this morning,
my hubby said,
"Jump out of bed
and enjoy this beautiful day
because you can..."

And with all that I saw this weekend,
I will do just that...
I will enjoy another day
and be grateful for it
because I can...