Wednesday, September 11, 2013

And so it's begun:

"Mom, can't we just homeschool and not tell him?"

It's a week into school. She likes her teacher. She's not being bullied (yet? Hopefully at all). It all comes down to being able to work at her pace.

The crazy thing is, it made me think I would try again. And I'm so done trying. The man was an absolute nasty jerk (with a couple of other adjectives I don't like to say) last time. Downright horrible. I'm done. It's time for divine intervention to happen. One way or another, it's out of my hands. I'm determined it'll stay that way. By now, the damage is done, and I don't want to have to pick up the pieces. I've made my desires pretty clear. She'll know it wasn't my end that fell through.

But I hate that she struggles so badly.

I keep telling myself, "At least she likes her teacher. At least she likes her teacher."

And I'm sure she'll survive.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Gift of the Holy Ghost FHE

Purpose: To help family members appreciate the privilege of receiving the Holy Ghost and to recognize its holy guidance.

Possible Songs: When Jesus Christ was Baptized, Children’s Songbook page 102; I Know My Father Lives, Children’s Songbook page 5; Listen, Listen, Children’s Songbook page 107; The Still Small Voice, Children’s Songbook page 106; The Holy Ghost, Children’s Songbook 105; Search Ponder and Pray, Children’s Songbook page 109; Let the Holy Spirit Guide, hymn 143; Thy Spirit Lord Has Stirred Our Souls, hymn 157; The Spirit of God, hymn 2

Possible Materials: picture from Gospel Art Kit of girl being confirmed, wrapped up like a present; An illustration of stairs for the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel (From the Fourth Article of Faith); a picture of Christ in America; Cards discussing the ways the Holy Ghost can speak to us from the discussion. 


Preparation: Begin with prayer. Ask yourself how often you have experiences with the Holy Ghost. Do you feel satisfied that these experiences come as often as they should? Do you feel that you receive personal revelation to guide your life?  Read the suggested scriptures and any articles listed in Resources.
Children: Watch the videos about the Nephites receiving the Holy Ghost. Have a parent or teenage sibling summarize Doctrine and Covenants 138 for you and to help you understand the scriptures given in the discussion.

Lesson:

Introduction: Whisper. Quietly say things like, “if you can hear me, blink your eyes. If you can hear me cross your toes.” Etc, until you have everyone’s attention. Talk about how the Holy Ghost is like a still small voice, and if we’re not listening, it’s really hard to hear.
            Then make an illustration of stairs going up with 4 steps. On the bottom step, write “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Review Faith from the previous FHE lesson. On the second step from the bottom, write “Repentance.” Remind them about the lesson on repentance. On the next step, write “Baptism by emersion for the remission of sins.” Remind them that that was last week’s lesson. Ask the family what comes next (The laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost).
            Pull out the wrapped picture of the girl receiving the Holy Ghost. Ask the family to open it, and then to discuss why you wrapped it and what a gift is. Discuss that we do not have to open the gift, but that it is given to us so that we can open it and use it.

Discussion: Discuss how in a previous lesson, we talked about the Holy Ghost. Have the family talk about what they remember from that lesson. Briefly discuss who the Holy Ghost is and what is his role in the Plan of Salvation. Talk about how the Holy Ghost influences our lives if we will let him. It is by him that visions and dreams and prophecies usually become, but He doesn’t always speak to us in a loud voice, in fact he rarely does. He communicates with us by:
  1. Warning us of danger or evil (Remind the family of the story of President Harold B. Lee).
  2. Giving us our testimonies (Alma 5:46).
  3. Helping us know and choose the right (D&C 11:12).
  4. Helping us understand things (D&C 6:15).
  5. Helping us recognize truth (Moroni 10:5).
  6. Guiding us in important decisions (2 Nephi 32:5).
  7. Comforting us (Galatians 5:22; Moroni 8:26).
  8. Helping us remember things (John 14:26; D&C 6:22).
  9. Helping us know when we need to act for ourselves (D&C 58:26).
  10. Giving us words to speak. Helping us understand and communicate with each other. (D&C 84:85; Luke 12:12)
  11. Talking to us in our minds and in our hearts (D&C 8:2-3; D&C 11:13-14).
  12. Causing our bosoms to burn or giving a feeling of peace (D&C9:6)
  13. Causing a stupor of thought (D&C 9: 9)
  14. Weighing heavily upon our minds, ideas that won’t go away (D&C 128:1; D&C 6:23).
            Activity: Have cards labeled with the ways the Holy Ghost helps us and cards that have the scriptures. For really young children, tell of an anecdote describing each clue and have them point to the clue (I highly suggest taking quotes and anecdotes from The Unspeakable Gift of the Holy Ghost by elder Jay E. Jensen). For younger ages, have the clues already turned over, but flip over the scriptures. As a family find each scripture and discuss which clue it goes to. For older ages, have all clues and scriptures hidden.

From the Book of Mormon: Read 3 Nephi 19:9-23. Discuss how important the Holy Ghost is. They really wanted its influence in their lives! How did Jesus feel that they wanted the Holy Ghost? Note that they followed the principles and ordinances of the gospel. First, they believed and repented, and then they were baptized. Then the Holy Ghost could come upon them.

From Church History: Discuss what we need to do to feel the Holy Ghost in our lives. Remind the family that we can lose the spirit by partaking in profanity, uncleanliness, disobedience, rebellion, sin, and anger. Just as we can lose the Holy Ghost, we can choose a lifestyle that will bring Him closer to us. President Joseph F. Smith set a perfect example of what is expected of us before we can receive revelation or promptings from the Holy Ghost. Read Doctrine and Covenants 138. What pattern did he follow (Make sure to discuss pondering, asking, worthiness and alertness)? Explain that Heavenly Father has given us the Holy Ghost to help us live our lives successfully. He was not meant to be a reward for when we are perfect. Learning to be guided by the Holy Ghost is, in fact, necessary to help us reach perfection.
Activity: Show the family a small object you will hide for this game. Have a family member volunteer to leave for a moment while you hide it. When they return, tell them that he must listen to find it. Use a quiet noise, such as lightly tapping a pencil to show the child which way to turn to look for it. Make sure that the noises you make are very soft and reverent. Tap more quickly as the child moves closer to the hiding place. A variation would be to have a few family members constantly giving bad directions or just plain making noise while a quiet family member gives correct information.

Further discussion: The Holy Ghost is not the only source of promptings in our life. Satan can deceive us with his own voice. We must keep these basic rules in mind when we feel we have received revelation:
  1. Promptings of the Holy Ghost do not violate any gospel principles, including the agency of others.
  2. The promptings are in harmony with the teachings of the scripture and of the prophets.
  3. The promptings are in harmony with the order of the Church. See D&C 28:2,6-7
  4. The promptings bring peace to the soul; they do not raise doubts and questions. See D&C 11:12-14, 50:23-24

Challenge: Have each baptized member of the family write down and act on any impressions they have received from the Holy Ghost this week. For any members of the family not yet baptized, challenge them to memorize Article of Faith number 4.

Resources:   Primary 3 Lesson 12;  Come, Follow Me lessons on the Holy Ghost; Gospel Principles Chapter 21; The Unspeakable Gift of The Holy Ghost by elder Jay E. Jensen (the whole talk is amazing, but this lesson only focuses on the second half. The first half is covered in The Holy Ghost Helps Me).Family Home Evening Resource Book lesson 15; True to the Faith section on the gift of the Holy Ghost, starting on page 83;

Friday, August 9, 2013

School Blessings FHE

We have found that if we don't make a specific Family Home Evening night dedicated to Father's Blessings before school that they don't happen, so we dedicate one Family Night a year for that purpose.

A father's blessing is a special time. It allows our children's father to receive revelation for his children and it gives the children a feeling of comfort and peace before school starts. It also is a guaranteed time for everyone to build a relationship with our Father in Heaven, on an individual basis and as a family. And since we are building our family an individual at a time with blessings, we DO grow stronger as a family.

But what about homeschooling? Does that change things? Nope. Well, mostly nope. I am guessing it changes the things discussed in the blessing, because circumstances would be different, but mostly, we feel it's still important to grow as a family whether its public school or homeschool. And they will be studying and learning, and could use that extra reminder that God is proud of their choice to do so.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Battle of wills

We're currently on our way back from my  high school reunion (oh man, was that an eye opener), and jamming out to Hispanic music. Lest you think we actually enjoy it, let me explain:

I speak Spanish, and I think it's kind of fun to listen for words I actually remember. Ranger, however, can't listen without saying something about how it reminds him of circus music and changing the channel quickly. While we were flipping through stations on our drive and it tuned into a Latino station, I sarcastically said, " here we go, let's listen to this." Not to be outdone, he left it there. Well, I can't let him outlast me, when I'm the one that claims to enjoy it. And I honestly could probably stand it just fine except I keep expecting him to change it. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Milks...

I've always disliked dairy. Especially some cheeses. It's not a lactose-intolerance thing, really, because it's usually not the heavy-lactose things that bother me. I have a huge problem with cheddar, but can handle powdered milk. that's totally backwards! Powdered milk is about 97% lactose, if I've done my google-searching correctly.I think it's a problem with the milk-fat. 2% kills me, but skim doesn't. Maybe something else, I don't know. At any rate, since I cut out cereal 6+ months ago (best decision!!! Haven't looked back), my daughter's been noticing that she feels so much better without cereal and milk. So, we struggle to finish a half gallon before it goes bad. As we were having rice for breakfast today, I couldn't help noting the types of milk we have in our lives! I have to buy so many varieties now!
  • we have powdered milk in our pancakes and for baking. And for cottage cheese if we ever eat it (SOO much better this way, I promise). 
  • we have almond milk or coconut milk for things that just plain need milk (like rice for breakfast).
  • we have 1% for my husband who REFUSES to join the "health kick." Little does he know he's being slowly converted. I haven't dared point it out, because that will halt all progressive change. 
However, instead of buying sour cream and yogurts and the like, we use no-sugar plain Greek Yogurt. Yogurts never used to bother me. But then I read the labels. Seriously! If you don't want to change your diet, don't research what some of the ingredients are. It's way too much of a catalyst for change. So that was enough for me to get over my desire for Yoplait. Now I can mix in my own fruit and honey at home. I used to hate plain yogurt with fruit on bottom or whatever. It was still nasty. But with honey and tons of fruit, I guess I just don't notice the difference. Either that or I've discovered what real food tastes like. And I do love that one container can fulfill so many needs like sour cream and yogurt and ranch and that sort of thing.

I know there are advocates for both sides of the milk argument. Some (like my friend Reta) think it's awful any way you swing it and are quite happy with their almond milk. Some (like news, media, and a ton of people with their own agendas and propagandas) say that milk is a required dietary need. I'd say I'm in the middle. I think most of our problem comes from pasteurization and homogenization, but I don't have any evidence to prove it. As a whole, I think that milk is enjoyable, but not a necessity. I count it as a blessing, not a need.

How do you view dairy? Are some things okay? Is it always good? Always bad? Let me know. (I know I don't have that many followers, but I was interested in whatever feedback I can get). 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Overhearing Songs of the Heart

I'm sitting at my computer right now giving my daughter some time to herself (she didn't feel well yesterday and I think I was being too involved as a parent. AKA hovering). One of my favorite things in this life is to listen to her when she has no idea I'm doing it. That is when I see her true self. She's so good at hiding herself, even to her mother. I can see through it, usually, but it still happens. When she's by herself, there's a peace and serenity. No one for her to impress, no one for her to fear. Just her.

Listening to her, I get such peace.

I see through people. I see what people try to hide from me. And when I find a true moment in a person's life, I soak up every ounce of it. Especially with someone I love as much as my daughter. I wish she could be this way all the time. I wish she wasn't so afraid of people. I wish she didn't already have a mask she wears. I love the girl behind the mask. It really cuts me deep when she hides behind it, when she sells out her core values in order to feel accepted. Ranger and I do it, too (me, not so much anymore. I'm working on it tirelessly), and I don't want that for her.

Right now, she's singing Primary songs, and my heart sings in response.

"Heavenly Father, are you really there?"

Yes, child! Ask that question! I want you to know.

"And do you hear and answer every child's prayer?"

I sure hope so. Especially your prayers you don't know you're praying.

"You are his child. His love now surrounds you."

Stay there, my daughter. Stay in His love. It'll go everywhere with you. Even where I can't.

"Of such is the Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven."

Yes. Yes, it is. 



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Results

I've had the results from the Praxis for a couple weeks, but I haven't posted. It seemed that everything I was writing was coming out negative, and I took my mother's advice on letter writing and stepped back for a bit. You know, because I am good at taking breaks from blogging. ;c)

But the results are in, and I just wanted to share! First, let me give you some points of reference:

  • To become a teacher in my state, I need a passing score of 143. 
  • ETS (The test administrators) deem anything above a 181 to be worthy of their own elite honors program. 
I got 177. Four points shy of honors! 

The problem I was having was what to do with that information. But I think I know my course of action now. I have one more avenue I'm going to try, and then I'll resign myself to my fate. It'll be set in motion halfway through the month, and I'll know by the time school starts. Let's face it, though, it's a pretty slim chance. But, it's in God's hands. I needed the Praxis for something, so eventually I'll understand it. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tender Mercies, Aslan, and Wrestling with God

I know I've been MIA, and I'm not going to apologize because I'm sure by now you've all started rolling your eyes at my promises to do better. And, truthfully, I was intending to stay MIA for a bit longer, but that would be remiss and ungrateful. With everything going on lately, I've been a pretty big Negative Nancy (my daughter's pretend alter-ego). I've needed some time to compose myself. And to whip my life back into the shape of ordered control. I've needed some time to deal with my feelings and not expose them to the very forces that created the hardships. But there are tender mercies. There are REALLY hard things, but I'm not so stuck in Negative Nancy that I can't see that there are still those blessings.

I feel like many nights when I hit my knees, exhausted from a hard physical and emotional day, I found myself repeating the immortal words of Elder Cook's Grandson, "Hope Ya know, We had a hard time." When we took a leap of faith on Ranger finding a better work situation, we really thought we had adequate nets along the way to slow down our decent. And then people were less than honest with us (understatement), the government came up with piddly excuses for delaying our tax returns, and all of those safety nets either came way too late or never came (and I'm starting to see they never will). And then you add to that a past that was much easier to deal with when it was suppressed, causing every slight physical contact to send me off into panic attacks; an extended family not interested in learning personal boundaries; and a week with no vehicle, phone, internet, or washing machine, as well as relying entirely on food storage for 2 months, and "Hope ya know" was beginning to be too mild. I really felt like God had purposely left us hanging! There are all of these stories of tithing and having the money come in just in the nick of time... but those aren't my story. We didn't get those blessings. We have been given countless blessings promising us enough and to spare and a large family, and yet day after day and week after week (even month after month), we are left with the blaring proof that those blessings are not ready to  come into fruition.

And then my garden died.

The carrots are barely sprouting (now), the onions have been replanted, I had about 4 garlic plants in a whole 10ft row, the tomatoes and peppers were nonexistent (I never had time to plant seeds soon enough and starts cost $$$), the corn, squash, and cucumbers were started inside and I've learned the valuable lesson that seed-starting mix is the equivalent of caffeine in small children (great for STARTING growth, but then turns quite toxic), thereby stunting their growth and they've not grown in 2 weeks or have all died. the beans were all eaten before I even knew they popped their heads out of the ground, the lettuce, herbs, and spinach never came up, and the peas and radishes are the only things that haven't needed replanting this year. Too bad the radishes are for my sister.

That was pretty much rock bottom for me. At least with a garden, I had the promise of tomorrow. But when you see the jars flying off the shelves in order to feed your family, and the garden not growing, big rocks start forming in your stomach.

I was pretty grumpy. I'm not proud of it. I could have kept carrying my family along, but a person can only be strong so long, and I guess a month and a half is my limit.

I showed up for therapy last week (did I mention the ugly flashbacks?) and my counselor could tell it wasn't going to be a day of coping with the past. I was a wreck, and it didn't take a therapist to see it. I was mad at the world, mad at God (yes, I was. We have a relationship strong enough to handle it. He is my Father, and instead of punishing me for my feelings, He lets us talk about them), and emotionally  broken. I was the untamed horse too exhausted to keep fighting. I told her I almost didn't come, but that I wasn't going to let it win. I felt like the very storms of hell were raging against me, and that I could see the timing perfectly aligned with my working out memories - that the storms were coming from inside me too. My face looks like the craters of the moon with whatever is happening to my hormones. My head was constantly throbbing. Everything was trying to keep me from dealing with these suppressed memories and I wasn't going to let them win. If I stopped now, they'd just keep going; somehow I just knew it. And then she gave me an auditory pat on the back for coming and we talked. And peace finally started flowing.

She told me she thought God would be pleased in my determination, and I felt that she was right. Even when I give up, I still hold on. Even when I'm that broken horse, I stay standing. I suddenly knew it, and it was comforting to know that God knew it, too. And then, in the middle of talking, I remembered one of my favorite stories. By now, this story is a part of my soul. In The Horse and His Boy, by C.S. Lewis, I always loved the role that Aslan the Lion played. Throughout the whole story, Aslan is chasing the 2 talking horses and their riders. He guides everything, but is explicit in nothing. towards the peak of the story, it is left up to the 4 to save all of Narnia; if they get there in time. But they're exhausted. It's already been a long journey, and they are going as fast as they think they can. And then we meet Aslan again, and he chases them. Somehow their "as fast as they can," becomes ever-so-much faster with a lion at their heels. It gets them to their destination in enough time to warn the king, thereby saving Narnia and the surrounding kingdoms. When Aslan finally approaches them in the end of the story, everything is made clear. Without the trial of a lion chasing them, they would never have known how fast and how far they could really go. In an instant that story came back to me, along with the lesson. In an instant I saw that my feelings of abandonment by God were really Him chasing me so that I could get "there" in time. I knew how far I could go, and I knew that God was pleased.

And then I was walking through the barren gardening aisles at the hardware store. And there were tomatoes and peppers; on extreme clearance for $ . 75/fourpack, extremely root bound but still alive. The lady in the gardening section assured me that with a little root simulator, they'd be just fine and I'd get enough tomatoes to never notice the difference. I had hoped to grow my garden organic this year, but when faced with the choices of no tomatoes, or non-organic for one more year, I took what I could get. Just knowing I have 20 little tomato plants in my garden brings so much more peace. They look so beautiful in my garden!

And in the midst of all of this, I took the Praxis test. I would be incredibly ungrateful to not count it among my tender mercies. I wont get the results back for another 1-2 weeks, but I have complete confidence. I went in dreaming of what would happen if I passed and came out dreaming of what happened if I made their honors. Going in, I never would have thought it plausible! Somehow, I just knew everything I needed to do.  All of the chaos in my life fell away and I was left with just a clear train of thought. I opened my test booklet and knew the best course of action for me, personally. I was able to allot myself the perfect amount of time for each question. Most of the answers came easily. Of the questions I remember guessing on, I only missed one when I looked it up after the test. There is no denying that God had his hand in it.

So... I don't know where I'm going from here, and mostly, I don't like that. But God is in charge. I can't help but feel this week that God has some grand plans for me - that my life is not meant to stay quiet, that all of this testing and refining will somehow change the world, even if I never see how. I feel that being sick all winter and going through this chaos now is "all part of a grander plan," and somehow when the people I've connected with this year have taught me some valuable lesson, a little voice inside tells me to remember it, because I'm going to need to share the lesson with the world soon. None of that is sitting very comfortably with me. I'd be much happier moving to the middle of nowhere and living off of the land and never having to talk to people ever again.

The problem is... I got the same feelings about being prepared - "Get ready, Keira."... 2 weeks before I met Ranger.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mother's Day Printables

I realized I never posted the Mother's Day printables I found! I came across a site called LDS printables and it had many of my favorites! Take a look:


I picked this print, but I was strongly leaning towards the one above, too...

Then I had to go google searching...I was actually shocked by how little Mother's Day decor options there are. I know it's mostly women making them, but don't they respect themselves enough to decorate for Mother's Day too?

I found this one by Made From Pinterest:

I always loved this book... Printable by My Fabulous Life

I like these by Deseret Designs:


And good Ol' Abe comes up all the time. At least this printable is cute. By Kiki Creates.

Here's a garland someone made, though its not a printable. It's cute, though! It's by This Heart of Mine.

Saving for later and sharing:

I just found this printable while looking for Father's Day printables, and I think I like it better than the one I ended up printing off, so I'm sharing it with you, too. It brings happiness...


Father's Day Printables

You caught me... I'm super behind. Actually, I'm not super-behind, I'm just too busy to do the holiday festivities, so I've been in no rush. I'm JUST BARELY getting to Father's Day stuff and it's tomorrow. Hence no time for creativity. Hence, here's the printables I'll probably use instead of just steal ideas from...

If I wanted to spend $$, I'd send these to my dad. They're definitely his style. You can buy them at Alexa Zurcher's Etsy shop.



I absolutely LOVE these! I think they're a must from Mr. Printables

I like this quote, but I don't think it fits our family just Yet. I'm saving the idea for later. I found it at Shanty-2-chic

I love these ties by Amanda's Parties to Go (here's her website). I wish I had bothered looking before my printing center closed because I decided it was cheaper just to have things printed for me than to keep buying ink (it's true, too, for most things), and the prints are better that way. 

And I think that this printable will go in my frame. It comes from That's What Che Said.


I like this set of printables, especially because the frame art has deeper meaning for our family. ;c) From 36th avenue. Maybe IT should go in the frame instead? Decisions, decisions. 

I just printed this book off for Little Miss to print. Thank heavens it was simple. Thanks, Eighteen25. She's always got nice printables.


I would love to do something like this fish bucket, but I'm afraid I'm out of time. It comes from Lil Luna.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these colors (I think I've used that word a bit too much. But these are pretty cute).The set comes with candy wrappers, too. By Lauren McKinsey Designs

There's also this option. It reminds me of what I wanted to do for my dad... next year... that says "Grandpa's 'stache." This idea comes from My Sister's Suitcase (not my sister, though).

Same song, different printable... Found at Holiday Snobs.


Maybe next year I'll be this creative... It's so fun! The idea comes via Kaminski's Creations.


I'll even tie it in with these! They come from the Workman Family. Perfect. I'm set.. for next year...


Friday, June 7, 2013

Proving

This is it. Tomorrow I take the praxis test to show my personal ability to teach my child. I have felt calm about this up until this week, and now I'm more than a little nervous. How do I really expect to remember everything when 8th grade was more than just a couple of years ago? When it's been more than 5 years since I've been to a college class? And today it suddenly hit me: I am old. When I go to take this test, I'm going to be surrounded by kids that weren't even IN school when I was learning this stuff. And they'll all be friends who have taken classes together, and I will be that one misfit old lady that nobody knows. I mean, I'm not THAT old, but I'm not exactly straight out of ...anything, either. Will being green give them the advantage?

And what if I bomb it? Am I proving the judge right? Will I have to resign myself to going back to school and actually getting a teaching degree, just to exercise my rights to teach my child as I see fit? Will the judge pull an "I told you so?" 

And why on earth did I pick June? Yes, it's the best month to prove my abilities before next year while still giving me time to study, but it's also the month of garden crunch-time, yard crunch-time, family shifts after public school lets out, soccer practices, and I'm STILL trying to spring clean (maybe by now I should call it year-long clean? I'm on the last room, though. At least, upstairs. That should count for something). 

But, I have studied (and I didn't study for the ACT in high school and didn't fail), and I ate a balanced dinner, and have a perfect menu written up for breakfast tomorrow. I have taken a few practice tests (we won't talk about them, they make me nervous). And now I'm relaxing and zening out to music. I'm about to have Ranger give me a blessing and then get into bed. I even picked out my outfit and collected my number 2's. Am I missing something? Oh yeah. Pray really hard. And trust...I always forget that one in a crisis. I felt that this was what I should do. God's on my team. Guess it's time to let go. 

Good night, world. Tomorrow will be  a threshold to a new chance. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Letting Go

"Letting Go" From The Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll (put in my own format because I cannot find his original formatting) 
To let go doesn't mean to stop caring, 
It means I can't do it for someone else.

To let go doesn’t mean to cut myself off,
It’s the realization that I cannot control another.

To let go is not to enable,
But to allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is to admit powerlessness
Which means the outcome is not in my hands

To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
I can only change myself.

To let go is not to care for,
But to care about.

To let go is not to fix,
But to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge,
But to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
But to allow others to affect their own outcomes.

To let go is not to be protective,
But to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to deny,
But to accept.

To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
But to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them.

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
But to take each day as it comes.

To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
But to try to become what I dream I can be.

To let go is not to regret the past,
But to grow and live for the future.

To let go is fear less
And love more. 


This past week, 2 main concepts keep coming into my mind. Life does that, sometimes [Well, I'm not going to give life the credit, I'll give it to the divine plan and the powers of the human mind], giving you a theme for the day.  The two focuses of my life right now are letting go and agency. The two concepts are friends holding hands, really; walking side by side. Letting go is allowing others their agency, while reserving your own. It's sorting through what you do have control over and what you don't. All anyone really has control over can be summed up into 3 things: personal thoughts, personal feelings, and personal actions. Everything else is someone else's control/agency. 

I've been thinking about my daughter, and how she can ride a bike but wont let herself; and how she can swim, if she'd just trust the water. Letting to, to me, is like that. It's realizing that the water is not your enemy, but your friend. It's realizing that the bike works with you, not for you. Letting go is just...trusting. And not the "okay, world, I'm going to jump, you'd better catch me." but, "Lord, I know that you see what I cannot, and I'm okay with that." Letting go literally, physically, feels different. I had no idea! Letting go is a calming in every muscle, because when you are calm, the water lets you float. When you relax, the bike lets you balance. And when you let go... life does the same. I wish I knew how to spare the world of so much fear and negativity, because I see how hard it is to not let go (and quite frequently have to remind myself of the difference), but I never learned that skill. Instead, I ache for a world - for loved ones - and pray that someday, they can learn for themselves - 

To just let go. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Cleaning List

I'm going to eventually go in and add tips and care guides, but for now, here's the cleaning list I made for myself. Just thought I'd share. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Who I Used to Be

As I've mentioned, I have really changed in the past year and a half. I know who I am and I love myself for it. It all came about by removing shame from my life, which is why I have such a strong testimony of it. Once I got shame out, suddenly, I was allowed to love myself, and through that, I was able to let the Savior heal all of my festering wounds. And they were many!

So, I've been thinking about who I am now, and about this blog, and about what I said a year ago. It's time to update my Who I Am page. Because that's not me, anymore. But I didn't want to lose who I used to be. That's part of me, too.

So... here is the original. This is who I used to be.


Keira? Who's Keira?
Good Question. Next?

What do you do, exactly?
I have no idea. Next?

Why Seven?
Ah, good! One I can answer! Finally!
In college, I took a Religious Contexts class. I also studied an Old Testament Symbology class. And while taking said classes, an interesting thing came to my attention. The number 7. In the Old Testament, and throughout Hebrew religions, the number 7 appears over and over. We took a day discussing that biblical numbers are often symbolic, i.e. the number often tied to sacrifices is symbolic to help those following the Mosaic law in remembering the reason for the symbol. 7 is the symbol of perfectionwholenesscompleteness, and exactness. It sums all of these concepts up, and many more. They all go perfectly together, and yet are different concepts in my mind. I like that there is one word that can put them all together, even if it's just in my head. And I guess that's what I'm looking for. Perfect completeness. Whole perfection. to me, completeness means the project is done, but not necessarily perfect. I can have a complete object that has lots of nicks and dents. And perfection, at least in mortality, is rarely complete. I can be a perfect piano player, but by being so, I'm probably terribly imperfect at something else. In order to be perfect at something in this life, I will have had to sacrifice something else, creating imbalance, being incomplete.
Symbolism in a biblical context suddenly made sense. And made Leviticus and Deuteronomy a whole lot easier to understand! And enjoy, for that matter. Imagine my surprise when in my Religious Contexts class, the number 7 was still rampant! It's everywhere! And I've yet to find a time when discussion of the concept of 7 didn't fit into my understanding of it. Holistic religions, Ancient Egyptian, Chinese culture, art, it's everywhere!

No really, who's Keira?
Okay, if you must know, I'm a terribly inconsistent woman who tries to conquer the world before bedtime, and sometimes succeeds. I tend to channel Martha more than Mary, and constantly get so caught up in a single idea that I let everything else fall into chaos around me. I'm the queen of good intentions, but have terrible follow-through. I have a strong sense of right and wrong, and it gets me into trouble sometimes. I'm bold and have big ideas. In the past 3 years, I've gone through some seriously icky times and some amazingly wonderful times. And that's part of the problem. My identity has done a whole lot of changing lately. The woman I thought I'd be is not the woman I am, which is also not the woman I was even a year ago.
I love to socialize, but rarely convince myself to. I love to cook from scratch, but have to work up the motivation. I over-achieve, over-plan, and over-analyze, all the while never reaching my expectations of myself. I am great in a crisis, but make up for it when times are good (but I'd really like to change that, so I don't have to go through quite so many crises in order to progress). I love anything wedding, symbolic, or homemade. I don't have a favorite color, only favorite color combinations (and they change regularly, usually with the seasons or a current project). I have a knack for gauging what people are thinking before they ever say anything, which can get me into trouble if I'm not careful. I purge my house all the time, and yet it's still cluttered.  I love to research, miss college, wish I could always stay home with my child/children, and secretly wish that I could simultaneously change the world and crawl under a rock and hide.
If you'd like to know more about me (seriously? More? Wasn't that enough?) you can read posts labeled Pieces of Me. They're anecdotes I found personally relevant and decided to share.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Update From the Gallows...

Okay, that's a sarcastic title. I'm really just fine. I haven't been posting on my blog because I needed time for things to settle down.

It started with my computer acting up (it's still temperamental  but I've got a battle plan to tackle that... when I get around to it. The thinking part's done, anyway, and that's the biggest hurdle).

And then ... drama in "Salem."

As my testimony of empathy vs shame has grown, some people I love haven't been able to accept the change. I don't fit in the same family dynamics I used to, and that has caused more than one rift over the past year and a half. Some have healed and are stronger now, and I am SOO grateful and thank my Heavenly Father for that every time my heart goes back to the pain. And some... Some may never heal; and that deeply saddens me. Especially because I can't go back; I cannot undo the change. I know better now. In my own little allegory of the cave, I just can't bring myself to go back and stare at shadows on the wall when I have felt the warmth of the sun.  My eyes don't focus in the dark anymore and I don't belong.   I guess I tried a bit too hard to help others understand, and it's really caused some rifts I am deeply sorry for. Not really sorry for my actions - because they were calculated and balanced, and my heart has a peace in regards to what I did - but sorry for the loss of relationships. I don't care about being right, but I pity those that cannot understand that it's okay to be wrong. I grieve for the made-up happiness I had in my head, because it was never real. I was never where I thought I was in family dynamics. And that realization has caused more ache and sorrow than any I anticipated. It also brings healing, however, because now I can step back, not try so hard to stick to a false position, and can accept that I was never there to begin with. No matter how much you try, you cannot change how someone sees you. You  can only change how YOU see you, and then maybe (and only maybe) others will notice, too. And if they never notice, that's okay, because when YOU see you, their opinion wont matter, anymore. When you really get to know yourself, and accept yourself, the black and the white, other people's opinions slide right off of you.

Yes, there's no denying... I have changed.

But in the midst of all of the drama, life has gone on.

  • My house is STILL being spring cleaned (never again will I endeavor to do it all at once. From here on out, one room a year! Or at least not by myself... And by myself I mean the one that has to stop and get people ready for school/work, the one who has to stop and cook breakfast/lunch/dinner, the one that has to stop when life happens so she can be of service to people.) I think I might put up some tutorials, or at least some after pictures, because that might make it all a little more worth it...
  • My garden is in... mostly... and mostly the way I want it. I really just need to win some kind of lottery that I don't even buy tickets for. That would be great... My dreams are still way bigger than my pocket book. It's pretty, though. I'll post pics in about a week, when the rest of my seedlings are ready for life outdoors (we always have that one freak frost after memorial day... I'm not gonna let it win).
  • I'm studying for the Praxis test that I will be taking very soon. And I KNOW it's what is right for me. I opened the study guide, and this immense peace washed over me! I had been questioning it, because I'm so tired of kicking against the pricks (meant biblically, not slang-ly) and pushing against a mountain that is not moving. And so many people have such a negative attitude about it! I know it's needed, but so much damage has been done this year in public school, I really don't want to clean up a mess I tried to prevent. And it seems as though I'm at war with the world whenever I even broach the subject, so I've kept my feelings in my heart.
  • My Angel Sister now has an angel in heaven. The whole situation has been too personal for me to write about. Soon, I will, though. I need to get some things out of me instead of locking them up inside. I just can't yet...
  • I'm having flashbacks of a childhood I don't remember and really wish didn't exist. But I can't talk about THAT either.
  • We are currently sailing off of a cliff of faith as far as jobs go and praying something will be waiting for us at the bottom. 
  • Ranger's family ... has a lot of pain in its future, and they think it's what they want. And I both refuse to get involved and refuse to stay silent while others are "burned at the stake" for things they may or may not have done. And it's causing personal conflicts. Where is the balance there?  It has also really shaken my husband, and I don't know how to deal with that while dealing with my own personal conflicts. 
All in all... I just couldn't bring myself to blog. I didn't want to be put on trial for how sad I felt over being put on trial. I didn't want to draw any attention to myself. I didn't want to stop what I was doing and sit at a desk when I was too overwhelmingly busy, and I just didn't have words to say what I need to say. But now is time. 

Now is time. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Child Highlight FHE

Purpose: To help each family member pay close attention to one another and to give each child a sense of belonging in a family. 

Possible scriptures: The Child’s Favorite scripture or John 3:16, Matthew 7:11, James 1:17, or Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 (God’s birthday present);  or Doctrine and Covenants 18:10, Psalms 8:4-6, or Jeremiah 1:5 (Individual Worth); or John 13:34, 1 John 2:10, 1 John 4:21, Doctrine and Covenants 88:123, (Love one another)

Possible Songs: The Child’s Favorite song, A Happy Family (Children’s Songbook page 198), or any birthday song.

Possible Materials: Any items that are significant for the child being highlighted (awards, favorite toy, a picture they drew or a story they wrote, baby pictures, favorite book, something they collect, any musical instrument). You could draw an outline of each child on butcher paper. If all else fails, this is a good printout to put in a scrapbook by A Day in My Life.


Preparation: Begin with prayer. Collect items that are significant for the child being highlighted. Really get to know the child being highlighted. Focus on what makes them who they are. If possible, conduct an “interview” with the family member.

Lesson:
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Introduction: Say that there is a special person in your family this week and you would like to focus on them. Ask the VIP member of your family to sit front and center (you could make the seat special somehow, if you’d like).

Discussion: Introduce the child being highlighted and what makes them so special. Include thinks you know about them, as well as any information collected during an interview.

From the VIP: Ask the child to teach the family something that they know, read their favorite story, or show a cool trick.

Challenge: Pass around a booklet with enough pages for your family, or an envelope with paper to everyone in your family except the VIP. Have each family member write something special or a good memory that they have had over the past year. Compile the notes into something that the child can keep safe and refer to over the next year. Challenge the family to keep the memories that they wrote down in their mind when they are with the VIP and notice if it makes a difference in how they treat that person all week.

Resources:   Believe it or not, there are not many resources I’ve found for this lesson! 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Retraction

So it's been brought to my attention (more like I've been put on trial in Salem) that one of my posts can be misinterpreted. When I discuss blame and shame, and a being (emphasis on BEING and not person or man or human) that is not my friend and whom I hate, I was not speaking of anyone with flesh and bones. If one were to analyse my character, they would know that I don't even use those strong of words about my ex-husband! However, Satan ... Satan has little of my respect. He has not ever proven to be my friend. It is Satan who wants me to feel worthless about myself and like I will never succeed. Because then he has won. And I am not on that side of the fight. I'm on the Lord's side. Interpreting blame and shame into my words, therefore, is adding shame that I never intended.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring Printables

**Backdated**

There's a long time between Easter and Mother's Day this year, so I decided to decorate for spring, too. Usually I can make up my mind which printable I want, but this time, I am having trouble picking just one.

there's this one  by Debbiedoos. It's cute  but a bit too much going on for me.

I like this one by Craftionary, but the colors are wrong. 

And this one is too bright. But fun. It's by A Little Crafting.

I LOVE the colors in this one, but I'm worried it's too April-y and not enough Spring-y because of the quote? I found it over at Whippleberry.com as part of a link-up with 11 others.


I really like this quote! I guess my holdup is that it's too pastel? Can't find anything wrong with it really. That's the dilemna! It's by Landee See Landee Do. She keeps creeping up a lot in the printable world...

I really like the balance in this one... It's getting harder and harder to find something to narrow down my choices. This one is by Blissful Keeper at Home

I like the quote. And the simplicity of this one. It's by Tales of the Scotts

This one sums up my feelings exactly. The choices are green, pink, or yellow. But I am NOT a yellow fan. And I have a pink Subway art for both Easter and Mother's day in mind, so green it is. Actually, green is my favorite anyway. It's by Hairbrained Schemes, but I found it at Thursday Night Dinner. 


I think I might pick this one, though. A bit of all of the others that I love in a fun and fresh way. It's hard to decide, though. This one is by  36th Avenue