Homeschool Conference!!!

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

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

Monday, July 29, 2013

My Bishop Wears a Skirt...

More news from Danielle!!!

It's me!  Your all time, favorite ever missionary! 
(Or at least one of your favorite missionaries, I hope!)

(As I read this, this is what I pictured...
with a "ta-da" inserted!!!)

Life is gooood. 
Wanna hear why? 
Miracles happen every single day
And I would count the change in weather as a major miracle as well... 
It is so much easier to be happy when you're not sweating through your dress. *gag* 
Also, we got a new AC!! 
Thanks to Elder Dunn telling me about how Elder Matthews keeps their apartment at 65, and how it is "so cold I get headaches" and I said, "are you kidding me, it's hotter inside than it is outside!" and he spilled the beans on up the lines (AKA: to his comps, who are the Zone Leaders, who spilled it up the lines and then begged the mission office that we got a new AC) until we got a new AC. Hooray! 
Elder Dunn tells me all the time that I look like his sister back at home, so he always makes sure to take good care of me and Sister Boman.  The other elders are slightly afraid of us, so they usually do what we tell them to do; otherwise Sister Boman throws things at them, and the members encourage her along the way.
One of the mission rules is that the junior companion (me!) gets to back the car out of the parking space, which is kind of a pain. So Sister Boman always tries to park in pull though places where we won't have to back out. And the Elders always make sure to park illegally in front of our car so that no matter where we park, we still have to back up. We haven't found a way to retaliate effectively yet, besides leaving angry sticky notes on their windshield. Who knew sharing an area with a set of elders was so hard?!

This week, we had a baptism scheduled for a girl named Aimee. 
She is AMAZING. 
Her 8 year old sister was baptized a month ago, and the rest of the family is in various stages of investigating the church. They will be temple ready soon though, I can just see it. Her date kept getting pushed back from circumstances she couldn't control, and it almost got pushed back again this week! But we were able to keep it, and she was so excited! 
Then on Saturday morning, we finished getting everything ready, and she came down with HAND, FOOT AND MOUTH. 
But that wasn't going to stop her. 
She showed up to the baptism with a mask on her face, a gigantic thing of hand sanitizer, and she sounded like Bane (from voice at all!) And she was baptized. Her whole family came. It was so special.

The next morning Elder Dunn and I were supposed to speak. And the bishop told us, "Oh yeah, it'll only be like 10 minutes and it can be on whatever you want" 
(PS. I hope you read that in an Island accent, because he said that the week before during a meeting, in which he showed up in a skirt and was still fixing his tie. Haha) 
So we came to church with 10 minute talks, to find out we were the only speakers. 
(Good thing this little girl of ours has the gift of gab...I'm sure she had no problem at all filling the time...Undoubtedly, her Daddy would say she comes by it naturally.  ;)  )
So Aimee was confirmed (even sicker this day than the night before) and she was glowing. After I spoke, Elder Dunn got up and Looked right at her and told her, 
"Don't stop now, this is only the beginning." 
And I SAW her in the temple. 
She was so beautiful. 
I really knew at that moment that baptism makes people clean
because I saw it take all the past sins of her life away and she was pure. 

Miracle of the week:
Karrie is a less active returning to church. She has major issues that she is working through and really struggling with. But when I walk into her house, I feel like I'm home. And I didn't understand it until last night when she was given a blessing to help her though the hard times she is fighting with. Heavenly Father sees how hard she is trying, and even though He knows she is far from perfect, and knows she is still living in sin, He knows she is doing her best to over come it and she has the spirit in her home. I almost bawled at her house last night when I realized that. We don't have to be perfect to have the spirit with us at all times. We simply have to be doing our best to become better. Our homes can be a temple if we will put forth the effort to make them that way. 

Line of the week: 
"Yeah, I mean, it's tougher than a $2 steak!"

Meats of the week: 
BBQ beef on a roll... I did okay with it. 

Quote of the week: 
"I never aimed to hit the target 50% of the time; I aimed to hit it 100% of the time, and if I fell short, so be it." 
Even if we're only at 25%, we shouldn't aim for 50%, we should aim for 100% and if we fall short, so be it. At least our eye was on the target the whole time. 

I love the freak out of you all!! 
Keep being good! 
Sister Lytle

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What I've learned about life and motherhood

I've been keeping a little notebook and jotting down some of the most important things I've learned along the way and I thought I'd share 'em with anyone who might be in need of a laugh or a pick-me-up..

1.  Be patient with yourself.  You won't get it all right the first time, but it's okay.
2.  Never stop praying, hoping and believing.
3.  Chocolate fixes most things, at least for the moment.
4.  Ya know that dream you've been dreaming ~ today is THE DAY to make it a reality.  Stop waiting for the perfect time, it's here!
5.  Sometimes giving yourself a time-out is the best choice.
6.  Hug your kids EVERY day.
7.  Life isn't always fair; enjoy it anyway.
8.  To inspire a child, show them where to look, not what to see.
9.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive, then go do that!
10.  Bask in the sunshine and dance in the rain.
11.  Let your kids see you being their biggest cheerleader.
12.  Find that place inside you where nothing is impossible.  Believe in yourself!
13.  Your heart cannot be at peace without forgiveness.
14.  Falling in love is easy; the secret is to continue falling in love with that same wonderful person over and over and over...
15.  Laugh until your tummy hurts.
16.  God still performs miracles every day.
17.  There will always be people who will treat you wrong, be sure to thank them for making you stronger.
18.  Happy is a choice!
19.  If you wish to stay young, play with your kiddos; your inner child can't help but join in on the fun!
20.  Snuggle on the couch every chance you get, they grow up fast!
21.  Surround yourself with those that allow you to be your best YOU.
22.  Don't be afraid to Shine!
23.  Teach your children HOW to think ~ not WHAT to think.
24.  It's okay to like that super hot chick sitting next to you, even if she has more muscles in her little pinkie finger than you posses in your entire body!  Just because she is beautiful doesn't mean you should hate her.
25.  Always remember that the way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.
26.  Say "I love you" every day!
27.  A bad day does not equal a bad life.
28.  If you can't find the time to pray and read your scriptures, you are way busier than God ever intended you to be.
29.  Never prize what you do not have more than what you have been abundantly blessed with.
30.  Tears are our special way of leaking out stress...
31.  You don't have to attend every argument you are invited to; and of those you choose to entertain, it isn't necessary to win them all.
32.  Embrace the little kid in you ~ growing up is overrated, especially if you forget to love life and see the wonders that surround you.
33.  Don't allow those who do so little for you to control so much of your heart and emotions. 
34.  Let go of thoughts that don't strengthen you.
35.  Sometimes all we can do is "Just Keep Swimming".
36.  Remember, every situation has a bright side, it just depends which side you look at. 
37.  Your smile is a gift to others...share it!
38.  I want to be the kind of mom that my girls look at and say, "I want to be just like her!"
39.  Some moments in life are worth remembering forever.
40.  Teach your children correct principles, love them with all of your heart and then hold on for the ride!  They will make mistakes; this does NOT constitute failure on your part.  This is their time for growth and learning and figuring out what they are made of and what they will make of themselves.  You will both survive, I promise!
41.  You might not always like them...It's okay....Loving them is enough.
42.  Keep your promises.
43.  When you look at a field of dandelions ~ do you picture only weeds?  There is so much one stage there is a beautiful valley of yellow; in the next, a hundred wishes waiting to be blown in the wind.  Look a little deeper...
44.  Talk to yourself the way you speak to those you love...YOU deserve it!!
45.  If you're always racing to the next moment, you will miss enjoying the moment you're in.
46.  First and foremost, you must make yourself happy; then you can spread that happiness to others.
47.  Refuse to settle for less than you deserve.
48.  Creating, in whatever form touches your heart, is essential to a happy life.
49.  Kiss that sweet man of yours every single chance you get.
50.  You're not always the most popular when raising kids, some days they just won't like you at all. That is are here to love them through all of their stages of life and to help them become who they are meant to be. The good news is that when they begin to have children of their own ~ you, once again, are placed on that pedestal you stood on when they were young and adored every move you made.  
51.  In every day, there is a miracle ~ don't miss it by focusing on the negative.
52.  It's okay to let your children see you cry.
53.  It's even better to let them catch you loving each another, don't be afraid to kiss and hug and dance and be crazy together right smack dab in front of is good for their hearts to have an example of what true love looks like.
54.  It really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of you, in fact, you will be better off never knowing...go ahead -- sing and dance in your car, try new things, keep being as silly as you wish, live your life to the fullest and never waste a single moment worrying about what others might think.
55.  Remember that comparison is the thief of Joy...just be your best YOU, it really is enough!
56.  You are living your happily ever after...enjoy it and make the most of it!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Les Bois, Les Bois!!

Who would have ever thought MONDAY could become my favorite day of the week???  
Crazy, I know, 
but when you are lucky enough to be hearing from your sweet child every Monday for the next 18 months, well Monday doesn't sound half bad, in fact, it has a mighty beautiful ring to it!!!

News from our sweet daughter, Danielle ~

I'm here!!!
And I've never seen so many trees in my WHOLE life! This place is so pretty!
I live in a little town called Hancock, in Maryland. 
My trainer, Sister Boman, from Ogden Utah calls it Radiator Springs, from Cars, but it is way bigger than Ktown.
Hancock is in the Appalachian mountains, and they actually do have some mountains here! You just can't see them because there are too many trees. You can't see anything because of the trees. But when you can see the mountains, it is wonderful. 

Have to write in a quick line she sent me in her first email ~ "I live in Hancock, Maryland and cover Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. 
Hancock = hiiick town. 
I love it!"
"Hick town" is the best thing I could think of for her first place to be...she will fit in mighty fine there!  :)  So long as all the cowboys don't distract her.  Just kidding!!!  Well, kinda...
Okay, back to Danielle!

It's hot, hot here! 
I learned this week what it means to sweat through an outfit. 
Like completely through it. 
It's an odd thing to do while wearing dress clothes. Haha. 
But it's getting better and the weather has cooled a bit the past few days. 
We live in the hottest apartment in all the mission. The elders live in an apartment that sits at 65 degrees no matter what. 
When I told Elder Dunn (MTC friend) that, he threw a fit for me and we will be getting some AC :) Hooooorrrraaayyy!!! 
The church is true!
(this ^ seems to be her "statement" each time something happens that she loves, like the chocolate milk being sacred liquid...crazy child!)

The language is coming along.  
(just a quick note here from me, she is NOT supposed to be learning a new language...English speaking is where she was sent, so this threw me for just a second and then I laughed.)
Turns out half the people here don't speak English...who knew?

Quote of the week #1: 
"Tomorrow I'm going to balmer to get surgery on my eyes" 
"to a balmer?" 
"Yeah to balmer." 
 *6 hours later* 
"OH! He said BalTImOrE!!!"

This weekend, we held "Buck Valley and Beyond!" out here in Hancock. 
Not kidding. 
This place is so Danielle, it's sick. 
I laughed so hard when I heard that. It was a history of the pioneers out here in MD. 
Which is funny, since they are in the east. 
But they told their stories differently than we do back home. 
They did a really good job with it and we had a lot of contact with non-menbers and investigators and less actives because of it.

Miracle of the week: 
Abe is an investigator that is working so hard to get baptized, but he is handicapped and has other health issues so he wouldn't be able to come to Buck Valley with out the weather cooling off. We prayed mightily over it. 
And we woke up SHIVERING! 
We always wake up sweaty, but not that morning! 
What the heck? 
It was pouring rain. 
Which was awesome, if it would stop before Buck Valley. 
We started our studies and kept praying. When we closed our studies and were getting ready to leave to go set up, we prayed that the rain would stop and the weather stay cool, and 5 minutes before set up, the rain STOPPED! and Abe and his whole entire family (big deal) made it to Buck Valley. Hooray!

Life here is so good! 
I love being a missionary!
I became a runner the first morning I got here! Who knew?

I also learned how to breathe water/really heavy air. 
My lungs are becoming weak like those of the east coast! I miss our thin air! But I don't have to take so many breaths each day haha.

More quotes of the week:
In the MTC we were doing role plays where we were practicing street contacting, and it went like this: I'm in the middle of trying to make headway with some black guy in Baltimore (Elder Dunn) and I'm getting no where, but we had basketball at 8 at the church. so I ask "So, what are you all doing at 8 tonight?" "...*eyebrow raise* Are you asking me on a date???" BAHAHA Nooooo!!  Then the brat told the story at Buck Valley.
Next, someone says, "I've never hated either one of you in my life, can I have your address?" Whaaa?

"Is that the ocean??" 
"Sister Little, we're flying over the United States..." 
(this is the same Sister Little that was at the MTC with her...she made me laugh with her comment of how "beautifully confusing" it was to have Sister Little and Sister Lytle sitting beside each other)

Last night we had no one to talk to because no one likes sister missionaries and cancel all their appointments with us. So we were not sure what to do since we had done everything we could think of, so we said a prayer, parked the car and started walking. As we passed the gas station, I saw two bikers and decided 
I don't know why that hit me. 
So I trucked my way over to them and Sister Boman had to follow. 
Two new investigators. 

I ate a cow this week! :( 
it was AWFUL!! 
seriously though, awful chili. 
And then they started introducing us to the cow... I stopped eating. 
(I have to interject again here, for those of you who don't know, this little girl of ours has been a vegetarian since the age of 3, so this is a really big deal!!!)
I managed to avoid the huge pork stuff last night at dinner. 
But I hate dinners :) 
I'll be okay though, 
Heavenly Father is helping me to be able to avoid it :) 
life is going to go on.
I love you all! 
I will talk to you soon!!!
Sister Lytle

I am a happy Mom now that I've heard from my girl...she is still just as crazy as ever!
Later, I will share a very special letter she sent to me.  Being a missionary momma is hard but it is also beautiful!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Loving the unlovable...

In my studies over the past year and a half, I have spent many hours attempting with all of my heart to understand human nature -- what makes people tick, what experiences in life help to form who we become and how we treat those we love and maybe don't love so much.  In essence, how we perceive the world around us and how we react to the experiences we are faced with.
I will be honest, I have shed more than a few tears as I've read accounts of the tragedies of children and adults...the sad state that some are dealing with is nothing short of heartbreaking.
I look around me and I wonder WHY?
I see some of our friends, neighbors, acquaintances who are falling into bad places in their personal common thread in all is an obvious lack of "valuing" others.
I see hate and intolerance.  
I don't see love and forgiveness.  
I see grudges and resentment.  
I see little understanding and even less effort.
I see people who were once wonderful and kind and lovable become not so lovely to those they claimed to once love.
I am overcome with a thought that will not leave me...maybe I need to share it with a couple of couples that I have on my mind and on my heart:  
In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord taught:
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
“And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
“And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
“Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
“But I say unto you,
  Love your enemiesbless them that curse you
do good to them that hate you
and pray for them which despitefully use you,
 and persecute you” (Matthew 5:38–44).

Such STRONG WORDS!!!  Words that are meant for each and every one of us to hear and to act on and to be moved by.  
WOW ~ Love your enemies...that's not an easy thing to do.
Bless them that curse you...that's big!
Do good to them that hate first thought is WHY?  Why would I want to do good to someone who hates me???
Pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you...that's asking an awful lot!
Perhaps we'd see more happiness if we were loving, blessing, doing good and praying for our enemies rather than seeking out an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  That mentality only brings further heartache.
Do you have enemies?  
Have you ever viewed your spouse as an enemy?  
Is it possible to still love that spouse?  
Is it possible to love one who has cursed you, mistreated you, or expressed feelings of  hatred or contempt toward you?  
Is it worth your effort?  
If not your spouse, (hopefully not your spouse), do you have another whom fits in this description?  

Do you have another who NEEDS YOU to reach out and 
find something worth LOVING, 
worth BLESSING, 
worth DOING GOOD for, 
worth your PRAYERS???

Are you willing to Find Something?  If you try, I promise it will be may take a little effort, it may even take a whole truckload of effort, but if you try hard enough, you will FIND SOMETHING worth loving, worth blessing, worth doing good for and worth your prayers.
People may be unlovable at times,
we all are...
none are perfect.
But even as imperfect as we may be, Not a one of us is disposable...
My hope is that we will all look at those around us with a bigger heart,
with more understanding eyes,
more forgiving thoughts,
and arms that are willing and ready to embrace and love those who most need us.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sacred Liquid

On Monday, we received our first letter from Danielle.

"Dear Family,

Life is good!  I am very happy here.  
The chocolate milk here is a sacred liquid.  
If I were the prophet, I would use it to replace the consecrated oil.  
Just kidding.
But it is wonderful.

Everyone here is so nice.  And I know so many people.

I'm in a threesome right now...
Sister Burke has not arrived yet, so I am with Sister Jeffries and Sister Little.
Sister Little and I sit next to each other in class...
it is a beautifully confusing thing.  :)

My district is the  
I love them all!
We have two districts in our branch.  
We are ALL Baltimore bound!
Our branch president says that almost never happens.
Everyone is from Idaho, Utah or Arizona.   Except two, they are in the other district.  They come from Nevada and California.

Life here is the good life!

I love you all to pieces...YOU are the best family ever!
Love, Sister Lytle

And her "line" of the week ~ 
"Be sure to use your man-ears."  
Haven't the foggiest idea...need to ask her.  

I was busy working in my office when all of a sudden across my computer I see:
and then I see 

I didn't want to get too excited, in case I was just seeing things...

I looked a little closer 
it read:
"Today is my P-DAY!!!"

My heart skipped a really was her.
She and I were able to converse back and forth for about 30 minutes.
It was so good to hear from her.  
She is happy.
She is loving every one there.

And another bonus to my day...
after I was finished talking with her I received another email
from her companion, Sister Little.

She wrote, "I absolutely LOVE your daughter!"

And she forwarded the following two photos to me.  
Oh, Happy Day!!!

Unfortunately, I'm not too certain who is who in this photo, with the exception of my Danielle, who is, of course in the brown with her FAV cheetah scarf!!!

 Here is her "District"...they will all be flying out together Tuesday, early in the morning for Baltimore, Maryland.  Danielle has nothing but the best to say about them.  She says she just LOVES them all.  It was funny to see this picture because Danielle often looks quite tall...not here ~ there are some BIG missionaries in this photo...I'm kinda dying to know how tall the guy on the end is.  I'm just a tad intrigued.  ;)
From her email earlier today:

"There are 10 in my district, 5 sisters, 5 elders. and 32 of us on our way to balti. The Elders here are taking super care of me. I still don't open doors, and now I don't clear my own dishes either. Haha."

I responded back to her,
"Still living the Charmed life...I am not surprised at all."

This girl just melts the hearts of everyone AND her Dad and I have always said that if there is anything in this world that she wants or would like to see happen, it will!  Thus, the "charmed life" comment.  

I am so happy she is being taken care of and is enjoying this great group she is with!

She has all sorts of funny little lines in her emails to me...
this one cracked me up!

"The church lies btw, 
you CAN bring headphones for working out in the MTC 
and you DO need a calling card and you DO need laundry stuff."

There were several other funny little things she said.
Love that girl!!!

The last thing she said to me was, 
"I will TALK to you on Tuesday,
Please be awake."

I think I'll get this phone call sometime around 5 in the morning.
Hope I get sleep that night...I might be too afraid I'll miss the phone ringing to sleep.

What a beautiful Thursday this has turned out to be!!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Your Wonderful Journey

I’d like to quote President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s recent talk, “Your Wonderful Journey.” He begins by reminiscing about one of his childhood journey stories, and then moves to reminding the young women of the Church of the various journeys others have walked through their lives. These include the story of Dorothy and Toto in the Wizard of Oz, as well as Ebenezer Scrooge and Bilbo Baggins, leading the young women to ponder their own journey. As I re-read this talk, I felt prompted to share it with my family as a reminder to them of all that they once knew; even more as a help to them in their times of need, and a boost for their spiritual self. It is natural for all to question, to doubt, to wonder and to ask . . . it is challenging and discouraging when answers and assurances don’t immediately come to guide us. I believe President Uchtdorf presents a beautiful picture of “our story,” and illustrates the realities and challenges we may be faced with, and just how we can master them and realize our goals in the end. 
story book 
“This story begins a very long time ago, long before the earth began spinning in its orbit, long before the sun began to reach its fiery arms into the cold of space, long before creatures great and small had populated our planet. At the beginning of this story, you lived in a faraway, beautiful place. 
We do not know many details about life in that premortal sphere, but we do know some. Our Heavenly Father has revealed to us who He is, who we are, and who we can become. 
Back in that first estate, you knew with absolute certainty that God existed because you saw and heard Him. You knew Jesus Christ, who would become the Lamb of God. You had faith in Him. And you knew that your destiny was not to stay in the security of your premortal home. As much as you loved that eternal sphere, you knew you wanted and needed to embark on a journey. You would depart from the arms of your Father, pass through a veil of forgetfulness, receive a mortal body, and learn and experience things that hopefully would help you grow to become more like Father in Heaven and return to His presence.” 
“In that sacred place, surrounded by those you knew and loved, the great question on your lips and in your heart must have been ‘Will I return safely to my heavenly home?’ 
There were so many things that would be out of your control. Mortal life would be hard at times, filled with unexpected bends in the road: sickness, heartbreak, accidents, conflict. 
Without a memory of your previous existence—without remembering that you once walked with your Father in Heaven—would you still recognize His voice amid all the noise and distractions of mortal life? 
The journey ahead seemed so long and uncertain—so filled with risk. 

which way sign 
It wouldn’t be easy, but you knew it was worth every effort. 
So, there you stood on the edge of eternity, looking forward with unspeakable excitement and hope—and, I imagine, also with a degree of worry and fear. 
In the end, you knew God would be just—that His goodness would triumph. You had participated in the great heavenly councils and knew that your Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, would provide a way for you to be cleansed from sin and rescued from physical death. You had faith that, in the end, you would rejoice and join your voice with a heavenly chorus singing praises to His holy name. 
And so, you took a deep breath … 
And a great step forward … 
And here you are! 
You have, each one of you, embarked on your own wonderful journey back to your heavenly home! 
Now that you are here on earth, it might be wise to ask yourself how your journey is going. Are you on the right course? Are you becoming the person you were designed to be and wanted to become? Are you making choices that will help you to return to your Father in Heaven? 
He didn’t send you on this journey only to wander aimlessly on your own. He wants you to come home to Him.” 
I cannot help but think of my children as I read this talk again . . . I find comfort in these next words he shared: “Life can be difficult, and it can harden hearts to the point where certain people seem unreachable. Some may be filled with anger. Others may mock and ridicule those who believe in a loving God. But consider this: though they do not remember, they too at one time yearned to return to their Father in Heaven.” 
Comfort, from the standpoint of being a mother, can be found in the last line: “But consider this: though they do not remember, they too at one time yearned to return to their Father in Heaven.” 
It may well be one of our most important and trying jobs to help those we love remember what they may have forgotten. We cannot give up on them. We cannot allow them to be unreachable . . . we may just have to reach a little further, try a little harder, love a little more, believe and trust a whole lot more, pray a little harder, even plead, if necessary, with all of our hearts, but never, ever give up. 

never ever give up 
We are preparing to send our daughter out next week to serve a full-time mission. This sweet girl reached a point in her life a few years back when she needed a little reminding that she was not alone, that her Heavenly Father had not forgotten her, and that IF she would continue to fervently do the things she was asked to do, that she would again feel His presence in her life. This was a time of testing for her, it was a time of growth, it was a time of tears and frustration, and it was not easy . . . but, I can now say it was worth every moment. This little girl is prepared to share her love and her testimony, she will touch hearts and change lives as she helps others to recognize the Spirit and to pray for the answers of their hearts. Her trials, her struggles, and her doubts have made her stronger and more confident—She KNOWS! 
This line from President Uchtdorf’s talk screamed out to me as I read it: “Without a memory of your previous existence—without remembering that you once walked with your Father in Heaven—would you still recognize His voice amid all the noise and distractions of mortal life?” 
There is so much “noise” in this world…so many things to contend with, so many things that get in the way of recognizing His voice. 
As I look at one of our sons who is now struggling and doubting and questioning, my heart breaks and my prayers are more intense, more sincere, more pleading . . . but I do know that IF my son will do his part, and if I gently remind him of those things he may not remember, then he will one day reach the point his sister has. His spirit will spring to life, and even if it takes a 2x4 upside the head to wake it up, I know that his day will come. 
Until that day, I will find comfort, peace and solace knowing that our Heavenly Father is merciful and loving and understanding. He waited for me to come around, and He will wait for the many children we each have to recognize His voice. He did not send us here to fail; He sent us here knowing we would find our way back to Him. He has faith in each of us. He believes in us and sees the beauty we possess. We each have our own journey to take, some of us wander about a little more than others . . . but if we find the right path and enjoy the journey, all is well. 
Wishing you a month filled with beautiful journeys! 

(July President's Message for DHSA)

Life is full of bitter-sweet moments...

I've just experienced one of the biggest of my life ~
My Sweet Girl is off to touch the world!

Our daughter, who recently turned 19, chose to change all of her life plans after a prompting came to her to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In October, an announcement was made that has since changed the lives of many young people...all young women, age 19 and all young men, age 18 are now eligible to serve full-time missions.

I must say at this point, that I KNEW this would be the decision our daughter would make...

I was in attendance at a Psychology Conference for the Saturday portion of General Conference, much to my dismay, I LOVE General Conference and hated missing it that day...
To make it even worse,
it was on this morning that President Thomas S. Monson made the announcement.
All Young Women, 
age 19, 
now eligible to serve full-time missions....

My husband immediately shot me a text message to let me know of the NEWS and I had to excuse myself from the class I was in.
My tears wouldn't stop...
my heart was racing...
I just had to call our daughter, who was also unable to be watching that particular morning.  She answered the phone and I said, "I have something I really need to tell you, I'll be super quick..."
There was a scream of excitement on the other end of the line...
It was mutual...
We both knew
what was about to happen in this little girls life...

Had we been standing together, I just know we'd have been jumping up and down and spinning in happy circles and hugging each other while screams of joy came barreling out of us...instead,
we both cried over the phone together, secretly wishing we were hand in hand.

There were finally answers for her heart as to why NOTHING she was trying to make happen worked out...

The most beautiful part of it was that just a couple of weeks prior to this announcement she was visiting with her best friend, Justin, and told him how lucky she felt he was.
She voiced how she wished she could just be heading out for a mission like him.
I'm guessing someone heard that wish and granted it.
HE's just like that...
answering prayers for us when we need them most!

In no time at all, we were on our way to making her dream become a reality...
this did not come without it's share of difficulties and trials,
BUT those things that are right and are worth it, do come to be.
Here is our sweet girl with her official white envelope standing beside all the many, many guesses of where she would be serving....

Sister Danielle Brieanna Lytle,
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Maryland Baltimore Mission...Reporting on July 3rd!!!

Now we'll move back to today, well the past week or so...

So many things to share, so many beautiful photos,
I think this may have to be more than one post.

So more to come ~ we'll just cover what comes to my heart and my mind right now.  :)

Just before Danielle left, we had an evening of family photos...
this was quite an interesting night since it was dumping buckets of rain on us...
GREAT memories and most of the photos have turned out beautifully!

Here's my hubby and I with our sweet girl ~
 And one of the Whole Gang!!!

And before you ask...yes, they are all mine and I could not be happier!!!
Aren't they just beautiful children???

I am one lucky Momma!!!

We threw a party for Danielle before she left...she LOVES the 4th of July and wouldn't be with us to celebrate it this year, sooooo, we just moved it to the 29th of June...worked out perfectly!  We made sure to have all the things she has always loved to do ~ a PINATA, a JUMP HOUSE, WATER BALLOONS, lots of YUMMY FOOD, so many family and friends and to end the night, FIREWORKS!

Danielle started her good-byes, these were so hard to watch.  I knew I would have the most time with her as I was to be driving her to Salt Lake City the day before she reported.  The first REALLY hard good-bye was to her brother, Myles...broke my heart and warmed it all at the same time.  Another bittersweet moment!  Then came good-byes to her older sister and her touching, they have become so close over the past couple of years.  On Tuesday morning, it was time to say goodbye to Daddy and the four youngest kiddos.
It is safe to say that investing in Kleenex would have been a very good move on my part...
Daddy, as Danielle still calls him, (Sooooo sweet!), thought he was pretty sneaky as he wore his sunglasses for the majority of the morning, inside and outside.  Danielle told me to let him know that he didn't fool her for a minute ~ not tricky enough, Mr. Lytle!

Danielle and I headed to Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 2nd for a day together before she was to report the following afternoon to the MTC in Provo.  MTC for those who haven't the foggiest idea what I am talking about, stands for Missionary Training Center.

We had a nice drive down, we didn't drown in our tears, I was a bit fearful of this happening.
In my next post about all of this, I'll be sure to let you see all her adorable baggage for the next 18 months.
The girl is Ready!!!
Had to laugh...
it was "suggested" 
that she take two good pairs of shoes along...
any guesses on how many she decided to take since it was only suggested.

She felt that number was a little too conservative when it came to shoes, so she ended up taking
not 1,
not 2,
not even 3,
we'll breeze on past 4 and 5,
yep, more than that...
nope, 6 was not enough...
the girl ended up taking 7 pairs of shoes!!!

SHOES are important in her world...
well, I guess they're important in mine, too.  But not like this crazy girl!  It was quite the ordeal to leave all her heels here...but she'll have something fun to look forward to wearing when she returns.  :)
I'm thinking 4 inch heels, bike riding and hours of walking may not be the best combination, luckily she felt the same way...and they stayed behind.

back to the bittersweet moments of motherhood...
leaving that sweet girl, knowing that it would be 18 months before I would wrap my arms around her or see her bright smiling face was a killer!  I think I just may have cried more buckets of tears than the buckets of rain we experienced during our photo shoot!
On the other hand,
I was also soooooooo happy for her.
I know this is what she wants.
I know she will touch so many hearts and so many lives.
I know she will have a fantastic experience.
I know she will be watched over and protected.
I know she is doing the work she feels called to do.
I know that I can do anything...
I can smile
even on the days I might feel more like crying as I miss her sweet smiling face.
I can encourage her
on the days she feels overwhelmed, homesick, even lonely.
I can write to her as often as I wish
and be thrilled to pieces that she loves her Savior, Jesus Christ,
enough to sacrifice a portion of her life to share her love and testimony with others.

Yes, this sweet girl will make a difference in the world,
she will bring a knowledge of Jesus to so many who may feel lost and alone in this world,
she will reach out in love to those who need it most.

I am so happy
and so sad...
not so sad anymore,
but I do miss seeing her face,
and listening to her play the piano.
I miss her funny laugh
and her quirky crazy little comments...
but I am happy to share her...

Bittersweet?  Yes.
But also the only thing I would wish for her at this time in her life.

Goodbye to you, my sweet girl!
I love you to the moon and back...