December 4, 2016

Stop and see

Look what the boys ran into in their travels this weekend to Teage's basketball tournament. The stop sign where we met "Chris" a few years ago.

If you don't remember that story, click on this link: Stop sign and scroll down to the bottom.

It brought back so many memories of that day. What an amazing experience that was for all of us, to remind us to stop and see.

December 1, 2016

Instagram Story

Since last night I got on here to post all of this stuff . . . but ended up sharing my heart instead, here it is.

The past few weeks I have posted a few videos on Instagram story. Many of you have asked me to share the details of these ideas. 

#1 Mommy Store
I can't say I created this idea, because I have heard of a few versions of it, and my face on the dollar was an idea Shawn and I got from Bostyn and Bailey's six grade math teacher. But I can't tell you how much this little Mommy Store has changed our world. 

Here is what you need to know. Mommy bucks (similar to Schrute bucks for all my fellow Office lovers) are some powerful things in this house. I use them for motivation, discipline, rewarding the extra mile efforts, and allowance. I have kids asking for jobs to earn more. 


Next thing you need to know . . . don't be afraid to by soda and foods you wouldn't normally buy your kids. I charge $20.00 for a tiny can of soda, because it is not an item I want them to have, but since it is so rare in our house it is a HUGE motivator for a few of my kids (mainly Teage). So all week as he is motivated to get that pop he is remembering not to sass me, hurt Kaleeya, or leave his basketball gear all over the house. 

Everything has a set fee, but discipline items are usually around 1-5 dollars depending on the crime. For example last night I charged a dollar for every item I have to pick up around the main living areas of the house. I charged five dollars for disrespect of a few children, who will remain nameless . . . 

But I honestly now that they are getting the hang of it, I get to spend the most time rewarding good. Which for a mom is huge. We don't want to spend our lives telling our kids all the things that they don't do. That sucks, and it is lame. 

So what good do you see? You throw it ten mommy bucks and you better believe that the next day almost everyone in the house is doing it without even being asked. For example: Yesterday Teage was the only one who brought his dish to the table after breakfast. Gave him $5. Jordyn was the only one who had turned off her light upstairs in her room. $5. Today those things are being done, because everyone noticed that I saw their efforts and appreciated it. 

This simple way of doing it will make a huge difference, especially if you stock the store with things they desire and want to work hard for. They only get to shop on Saturdays, so all week they are gaining or loosing their money to spend on the prize day. 

Want to take it to the next level? 
That is where job charts, and laundry days, and check lists can come in. They can earn dollars for the every day stuff you are begging them to do anyway! And bonus . . . they will start to want to remember to make their bed and get dressed before they come down to eat breakfast. 

This system is the ultimate win for everyone. Moms can spend less time screaming about all the things they want done, and kids will feel like their efforts are being received and appreciated. And between the dollar store and big packs of little things at other stores, you aren't really out much real money. 




 Labeling the prices on every thing helps them see what their working for and how much they need to cash in on all their favorites.

 I have their envelopes inside the mommy store cupboard so nobody loses their money, and it isn't laying around the house. But also because every time they have to go get me a dollar or earn a dollar they open up to see what they could be gaining or missing out on.





I hope this helps!! Let me know if you have any more questions.




#2 Storing Nuts for Winter

Here is the video from Intagram Story that everyone was asking me for the recipes. I will post them below. 



I have been doing one cooking day a week for all our meals and I LOVE it!! Watch the video to get all the details!! 

These are some of our favorite tried and true recipes, most of which I got from my mother who I keep begging to write a cook book. I usually cook gluten free and sugar free so my Tytus boy can eat with us, but a few of these recipes are ones that I will not be able to feed to him . . . I will note when it is not a Tytus approved recipe. 



Manicotti: (not gluten free)
Manicotti Noodles
15 ounce container of cottage cheese
1/4 cup dried parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 TB parsley flakes
1 tsp salt and pepper
Jar of Red sauce 

Combine all ingredients but noodles and red sauce. Stuff cooked noodles (unless you bought the kind that you don't have to precook) with the white sauce mix. Pour red sauce over shells. Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes covered. Uncover and cook for another 15 minutes. 






Salmon:
Cover in coconut oil and cook until golden brown (we like it crispy on the edges) at 425 degrees ( for Tytus's side I usually just do this)

But for everyone else I ad any mix of the following:
A few dashes of Mrs. Dash's southwestern chipolte 
a few sprinkles of maple syrup
a squirt of lemon
Sweet baby rays BBQ sauce
Thai Kitchen sweet red chili sauce (I might be in love with this stuff)

Serve over rice (we love the white jasmine rice and I cook it in a rice cooker)




Pad Thai
1 package flat rice stick noodles
3 ounces shrimp or chicken (or both) I used leftover Thanksgiving turkey this time
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup Asian fish sauce 
2 TB sugar (I use stevia)
2 garlic gloves pressed
2 TB oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 large eggs
Can of bean sprouts (Asian food section)
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
5 green onions
1 cup of chopped cilantro leaves
And I always add in a few other chopped vegetables:
sometimes broccoli, cauliflower, pea pods whole, water chestnuts, carrots
Whatever vegis you like! Great way to sneak in some extra. 

Instead of giving you the recipe I am going to give you a step by step on how to make this easy, because it really is an easy recipe just feels overwhelming when you try to do it all at once and your meat is burning in the process. 

In a large bowl with a lid soak the noodles in super hot water. I usually change out the water a few times over the course of preparing the other things to make sure those noodles soften.

Then I get out a bunch of little bowls. 

In one:
 whip the eggs with a fork. 

In another: 
combine the lime juice, sugar and fish sauce

In another bowl I chop up all the vegis and cilantro

In another bowl I put all the chopped peanuts. 


After all the ingredients are their bowls, in your Wok, heat the oil and add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Then cook the meat if it needs cooked, or heat it up if it is precooked.

Once the meat is cooked or heated through, pour in your eggs and stir and let them cook for two minutes. Drain the noodles while the egg is setting. 

Add the noodles into the wok and lime juice mixture and cook for another minute or two

 Add vegis and cook another minute or two. Sprinkle on the peanuts and enjoy. 

We like to use that Thai Kitchen sweet red chili on the top! 

Great to use as filler for lettuce wraps as well, then dipped in the sweet chili sauce.
Next time I will take a picture of my first helping so it can be a better glammer shot! haha







Pepperoni Pasta Salad:
Package of favorite pasta cooked and cooled in cold water (we use gluten free shell or spirals)
Favorite vegis chopped up
Sharp cheese graded or cubed
Pepperonis sliced in half
Cover with Ken's Stake house Northern Italian dressing (not sugar free, I take Tytus' portion out before adding the dressing)





Refried Beans:
5 cups pinto beans (I switch it up sometimes and use black or mixed beans)
Sort rinse and soak in water over night (or if you forget cook in the morning for a few hours and drain)
Drain in the morning and add: 
1 chopped onion
4-6 cloves of garlic
2 TBs salt
2 TBs chicken boullion (better than bouillon is my favorite)
Water (fill to the top of crock pot)

Cook for 6-7 hours then blend. You might not use all the sauce. I fill the beans in the blender than add sauce to cover the beans. They will appear thin when you first blend them, don't panic. They thicken up as they sit. 

We use these as dip for nachos, on top of tostadas, in burritos, in 7 layer bean dip, in tacos or just eat them by the spoonful . . . they are that good. Thank you Rachel for this one!! 





 So as part of my goals to be a better mom I am working on following through, so my kids know what to expect . . . but also trying to ad a little fun to our day every day. Here was last nights Instagram Story . . . 


#3 Snow Dance
A fun tradition to get kids excited about the changing weather! Here is a step by step video . . . 






Here a few links to those favorites in case you haven't tried them . . .


There are lots of other brands of the fish sauce and noodles that work great. But the red chili sauce hasn't been the same unless it is this brand. And this salad dressing is what makes the salad as well.

November 30, 2016

Our greatest honor

This morning I got my kids off to school. I cleaned up my house for a few minutes, and then went into my office, wrote in my journal, and did ten minutes of sit ups and push ups. I got on my computer to get some work done for my January conference coming up in Arizona—opened up my email to see a few new emails from Bailey stating boldly she finally decided what to do her debate paper about: Why Guns should be Illegal. Accompanied with a graph that showed the percentage of murders by weapon—guns being the greatest source of wrongful deaths.

An all too familiar feeling took over my body. My heart started racing and my breathing felt heavy. I looked around the room—in slow motion—as I could feel my body racing back in time. Images, thoughts, fears, anger, sorrow . . . the usual wave of triggered emotions engulfed me within seconds.

I haven’t sobbed so hard in a long time. First of all . . . for the pride that swelled for my brave daughter as I knew this decision must be part of her healing process, but second for the fears and insecurities that beckoned inside of me. For a few minutes at my desk I felt like a failure—reality of my children’s childhood blaring at me across a screen. Thoughts began beating me down—You didn’t protect them from this. You are a joke of a person. Clearly you haven’t survived anything if your daughter still hurts this much. You let them hurt. You can’t fix this. You are a pathetic loser, and not even a real mom. If you had been a better wife none of this would have happened to them—they wouldn’t have to spend the rest of their life hating guns, and trying to figure out how they can fix this world you ruined for them.

For a minute I let the thoughts have their voice in my head. I felt confused and panicked and alone. I felt trapped, and dark and full of fear. Tears kept on coming as I whirled through the facts that proved all of those thoughts true.

And then all the sudden I realized something—they were all lies. I said a small prayer and begged for angels to come take the darkness from my mind. I closed my eyes and pictured what I know grace to be—a Savior who loves us and holds us through our struggles, a brother who never leaves us alone, a friend who understand ALL of our pain, and a partner who stands by our side—I knew more than anything I needed Him in that moment. And guess what? Within minutes the fog faded, I opened my eyes, and stood up and walked out of my office. Not just feeling ok, but feeling strong. I felt confident and proud of my daughter who was fighting just like me.

Grace in action. He promised us He died for all of our pain . . . but how come in those moments we almost always forget that promise?

Moms. We do so much. We hurt for our babies, we cry for their pain. We plead for their peace. In a small little baby fraction of a way we know how powerful the Savior’s job must be—not just for a few—but for all of us.

I have talked to thousands of moms about the battles they face. This post is dedicated to those moms in this world who never stop fighting.

First I want to start by talking about a few of the fights that I—and other moms—have battled. These phrases are direct quotes from moms who have been there.

Survival mode. (Also known as denial)
No progression. Stuck. Frozen. But not debilitated. Fake it until you make it. When the damn breaks it is hell...cause that pain comes oozing out. Shakes, upset stomach...constant companion. Hard to eat, or to stop eating.  Hard to find joy in anything . . . but try purposefully to remain neutral on bad things as to not upset the fear that is keeping you alive. (I lived in this mode until long after the trial)

“This is reality” mode: when everything you thought would bring happiness is over—or finally yours—but you are still hurting. Closure isn't in your vocabulary. Everything seems harder than in survival mode, because your fog of denial has been lifted—this is reality. Debilitating fears. Panic attacks. Hard time. Constantly overwhelmed. Harder to fake your smiles. Not even surviving . . . just breathing.

Fighter mode: when every life trial that comes feels so overwhelming that you literally have to fight every day for your life. Something goes wrong every day. Feel like you are constantly overcoming something hard and looking to its end for relief . . . only to find that another trial comes to replace it. Feel like the universe is against you. No rest. Sitting at the window looking into the dark. Feeling unsafe wherever you are. Always on guard.

“Too Overwhelmed so I avoid” mode: Even the simplest of task—like the thought of helping a child with homework can shut you down and make you want to scream . . . or run away. Pretending to be in the bathroom for long stretches of time, seeing everyone else’s perfect lives. Wondering why you didn’t get the life you deserved. Kids watched a movie all day. House is destroyed all the time. No order. Just chaos. Kids out of control, won’t listen. Always fighting with siblings. Turn to addictions: working out, shopping, eating, social media . . . just to avoid the overwhelmed feeling of the lists you need to complete. But the more you avoid the lists . . . the more overwhelmed guilt engulfs you. This cycle is one of the craziest, because until you stop it—on purpose—it takes over your life. But you usually can’t even see you are in it, because those avoidance tactics feel so much easier than facing the battles.

Ok, these are just some of the stories I have heard, or felt in my own life, when it comes to parenting through struggles. Some of these woman say they have no reason to be dealing with this stuff—AKA no huge trauma that brought on these struggles—so what we are going to clear up first and foremost is that thought, because even just thinking that your battles aren’t worthy fights causes more guilt that ultimately creates more failures in our homes. The idea that your struggles can’t be as real as someone who has been through a traumatic event is absolutely not true. Each person’s dark fogs are as real for them as they are for anyone else.

So here is the deal . . . we all suck sometimes—some of those sucky parenting moments are “justified” because of the life experiences we have been handed . . . but whether we are aware of why we are triggered—with overwhelm and anxiety—or not . . . it is happening, or will happen at some point along the way.

So this post—though I could spend seventy years writing about the failures that I justified because of the failure I perceived as my life—is to empower us moms to not just fight the battles in survival mode. . . but to fight them with intention. Make a plan against the enemy who wants us to spend this life avoiding—not doing anything “bad”—but forgetting where we are going to make the most impact, or seeing where we already have.

We have the power to undo the damage that Satan does to our minds and our souls. We are not worthless; we are more powerful than we even know. He wants us to forget it every day—don’t let him. We have to fight through the fog.

So let me break this down for a second.

We have to start every day with a plan. Write down a few goals you want to accomplish. Do something every morning to get spiritually centered, because when mommies are off . . . aint no one going to have a good day.

For me this looks like: writing a letter to God, listening to an uplifting talk or inspirational video, uplifting music (my favorite is Paul Cardall’s Pandora station) at least ten minutes of some sort of exercise (even if it is dancing around with your newborn in your arms) and a morning prayer. I know the physical part doesn’t seem like it goes with spiritually centering yourself . . . but it is what engages your body to be able to get centered on where God needs you to be each day . . . here on earth. Healthy food, drinking more water, living within your means, getting out of debt, and cleansing your surroundings are other ways we can show God we are taking care of the vessels He has placed us in to fulfill our mission. (I will cover a few of these in some later posts)

So once you feel connected to God, and to the earth . . . you can better be able to figure out what your day is to look like for Him. Visualize the connection—vertically up to Him and down to this earth. (Horizontal connections keep us in the fog . . . ex: depending on other people’s approval before doing anything, addictions we use to avoid life, waiting around for a new outfit to make you feel pretty enough to find your confidence) And that part about also being connected to the earth—it is where we are and the place we have to be to find our purpose and mission. We can spend all day trying to get close to God, but if we don’t allow ourselves to be content in the path we are on . . . we will continue to avoid the inspiration He tries to send us.

So this is the first step—always—when overcoming the fog. NO other person can take it away, just Christ. That is what grace is—it is His mission alone to carry us through and help us fight our way through our battles. Notice I didn’t say OUT of our battles . . . because if we don’t work through them, they will only come back stronger. We have to feel and allow ourselves to be vulnerable to really heal and overcome the hardships and triggers in our lives.  

Ok, so now we have the first step. With the fog cleared we can find our center, and in our center we can find our mission and purpose each and every day. When we know who we are and why we came here—we are powerful. As mothers, as wives, as friends . . . in all the roles we play. So that is why Satan wants us to forget. Our greatest battle we will ever fight is to keep remembering our truths.

So here is the truth: I want more than anything in the world to be the wife and mother I believe I can be. I want to be patient and loving. I want to teach my kids how to physically and spiritually find their way. I don’t want to let them use any excuses of their past to ever live under their full potential. I want to teach them to be respectful and kind, and how to tell the truth. I want them to be loyal. I want them to know they have good inside of them. I want them to one day see—as I am still fighting to do—that we don’t have to be afraid of guns. I want them to be proud of the men and woman they are going to grow up to be. I want them to always remember me as a mother who took the time to listen, who made the most of every moment and who wasn’t afraid of the dark. I want them to know how to find the light in their lives, and remember the miracles that we have seen. I want them to grow up to be warriors, who never give up or give in. I want to keep my promises, and show them how to do the same. I want to teach them how to stand, because their story has so much good in it. I want them to be proud that the one consistent in their lives is Christ. I hope that each and every day I show them how to live like Him.

We are going to make mistakes moms. We are going to stumble and fall, and some moments are going to hurt. But we aren’t alone. I know from the bottom of my soul we have a Creator who made us to be just the way we are, and sent His Son to live and die for us. Grace is for us too, in those moments when life feels like it is letting us down—again. Your story is beautiful, you just have to fight to remember why.

They won’t remember the perfect pictures, they won’t remember if their socks matched or if your kitchen floor was always mopped and the food was always hot . . . they will remember your smile, your warm embrace when they were scared, your bright eyes that told them they were safe, and your soft hands that wiped their tears. 

We cannot take away all their pain, but we—with the Savior—can show them how to win. The real failure will not have anything to do with the awards we did not recieve, or the sites we did not see . . . it will be if our babies grow up without us because we were so wrapped up in waiting for something more.

You are there. Live in this moment, today. And do it on purpose. No regrets. What they will remember most is the easiest to do, but also the easiest to forget . . .


You are doing a great job. Don’t you dare give up. Put down those phones and laugh like you have never laughed before. Not because everything is finally how you thought it should have been . . . but because it is exactly where you were born to be. Motherhood is the greatest work we will ever do. The world might fail to recognize all the sacrifices you have made, but God has seen EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.



P.S...
(I got on here to write some recipes, requested by a few of you on Instagram Story. Apparently I got a little distracted. I will work on those in the morning, also a post on my mommy store I shared on Instagram Story!! Thank you for always encouraging me in the little things. If you have read my first book, you know that cooking used to be a HUGE trigger for me. It has been fun to get back to finding passion in it again. I will be honored to share those recipes and ideas on here! Thank you so much for asking. 

Just so you know . . .

Cleaning out the dress up closet and ran into this little gem. Last Halloween I thought it a good idea to pick out a few of the kids costumes while I was shopping. When receiving this one after school Kaleeya had a "not so sure about that" look on her face. Not really caring too much, I had her throw it in her closet with the plan that this year she was going to be wearing it. Halloween came and the first door opened. Ironically the woman at the door bent over and told Kaleeya what an adorable little Rainbow Dash she was. With boldness—and a little bit of her mother's attitude—she professed with a scowl, "Hey—just so you know—my mom picked this out when I was at school!"

I have thought about that moment over and over. That day she was so ticked about the costume she had been handed...that she missed the beauty of a night of free candy.

How many times in our lives do we get so wrapped up in the trials we have been handed, or the broken body—or life story—that has been forced upon us...that we forget about all the sweet things being handed to us. It's right in front of our eyes, but we are so scared of what we think we are missing—or we thought we wanted to be—that we forget how to put on a smile and see the little blessings that are all around us.

Life isn't about having it all go our way—or living our perfect plan—it's about learning how to smile even when we are dressed up like Rainbow Dash. 

November 28, 2016

Light the World donation and devotional

Our kids are collecting donations for this Christmas season to deliver to the local food banks, woman's and children's shelters, men's shelter, and the humane society. Drop off location on December 9th at 9400 Floating Feather Rd. Star, Idaho, from 5-9pm. Come say hello and share in the fire of giving. And a free--for the family--Christmas devotional during the fun from 6-7:30p.m. Stories, songs, and Christmas messages to ring in the holiday season. All faiths welcome to join us as we celebrate community and the true meaning of Christmas . . . Christ.

Light the world donation and devotional

November 19, 2016

Shelter for a King

The past few weeks I have had a couple experiences that have made me realize there are a lot of people in this world who need us.

For a long time I believed that I needed other people . . . to make me feel good about myself, to fix me when I was hurting, to tell me I was of worth so I could feel it inside. I thought life was about waiting around for angels.

For a long time I believed that I had been robbed: of life, of love, of family—of the past, of the future, of worth, of value. Only in those moments I never once realized . . . I had no idea what it was like to have nothing.

A few nights ago I heard a story about a woman who worked at a homeless shelter who noticed a new lady walking in the soup kitchen door with no shoes on. She ran into her office and searched high and low to find the shoeless woman a voucher so she could send her to a store to purchase some shoes. When she walked out to deliver it, she noticed that the woman's feet were now covered. Confused she looked around the room to find that one of the shelters usual dinner guests was now barefoot. She hurried over to the woman walking around with no shoes and questioned what had happened. The hungry, barefoot woman exclaimed, "Well . . . I noticed she didn't have any shoes, and I have two pairs." The very humbled shelter director walked into her office in tears wondering how on earth she had never seen things that way. In her closet at home sat twenty pairs of shoes, but she had never once taken them from off her feet to protect the naked feet of another. 

It is stories like this that motivate us to want to help someone else, but it is moments where we get to help that we gain a testimony of the impact we can have another person's life and the blessings it can bring to our own.

I have been battling impressions for a few weeks on how to share some stories that have changed my life. So today these impressions win. I am going to share some tender moments, not to bring attention to the people in them, but to help bring to light the others in the story who need you. 

Each week our family does some sort of activity together. Some days we watch a few motivational videos; others we play at the park.  Sometimes we read the scriptures and study a bible story, or attend a dance recital or basketball game.

The last few years we have been trying to incorporate situations where the kids can develop empathy and learn to serve someone else—babysitting for a friend; cleaning our church building; or making dinner for a family in need.

This month we decided to try something new. We signed our whole family up to serve dinner at a soup kitchen at a men’s shelter. Honestly, I originally called the shelter because I was looking for an eye opening moment for my children, wake them up to life outside of our bubble. Help them gain some appreciation for all that they had. Help them to be more accepting of each other, and the sacrifices that are made for them every single day.

I knew it was going to be an eye opening experience for our very sheltered children, but I didn’t realize the impact it was going to have on all of us.

We had talked about it for weeks, but once Sunday night came everything seemed to try to keep us from getting there. Determined to carry out our commitment, we loaded our family in the car and headed to the shelter.

We entered the building, unsure of what exactly we had signed up for. To get to the kitchen we had to walk down halls lined with men from all walks of life.  The kids kept their heads down and walked silently in a row. Once we got to the kitchen, we washed up and were given our assignments. The four big kids would be dishing up the food, and Shawn and I were assigned to help the two youngest serve the trays to all the men who had come for dinner.

The meal looked like Thanksgiving—including a giant tray of Jell-O. All of which had come in as donations. The kids each took a job and did their best to get their assigned food onto the tray. Sometimes they spilled gravy all over the rolls, sometimes the turkey fell in the Jello, but each time I went back for another tray they were laughing—grinning from ear to ear. Talking to the other volunteer that had come to serve that day. She was telling them stories of the men she had met there, and about all she had learned from serving them.

Every tray we delivered was greeted with a, “Wow. Thank you so very much.” One gentleman said to Tytus, “I have been coming here a while now . . . and every time I have had to stand in line for a long time to get this tray. What a treat to have a kind little boy serve me. Eating like a king today. ”

My heart stopped for a minute, as I stared into this humble man's eyes. A king? All Tytus had done was say hello and bring him a tray of food. I looked around the room. It was full of kings, grateful for a meal . . . but even more excited to see a smile. 

The workers said that it is rare to have more than two volunteers to help dish up the food every night, let alone be able to serve these men individually.

After the last man was served their food, Kaleeya and Tytus went around taking orders for drinks. We only had two options—water and tea—but the sparkle in their eyes as they pushed the button and filled those cups was that of pure love. 

Those cups were not the only ones being filled in that room. There were eight of us who went to the shelter that night, thinking we were going to fill up trays and cups for hungry men. I think we were the ones there to be filled. 

By the end of the night our kids didn’t want to leave. They asked if we could stay just a few more hours.
Up on the ceiling above us was a sign, “You can’t save a man by telling him of his sins. He knows them already. Tell him there is a pardon and love waiting for him . . . Make him understand you believe in him, and never give up.” Fanny J. Crosby

Sometimes it is easy to forget that we are all children of God. We almost get entitled—thinking maybe because of our faith we are loved just a little bit more. But if we really study the books that our faiths are built on, we will find that God loves the sinners, the hypocrites, and the imperfect—so all of us.

I always pictured that I would need to go over seas to feed the world and teach my children how to serve them, but turns out there are many who are poor—in body and in spirit—right in our own back yard. The simple act of seeing someone sitting alone at a table, and brining them food can help them feel remembered—like they are eating like a King.

On the way out I took a picture of another sign. It was small and taped on the wall in the back kitchen, “Go make the invisible God visible.”

My heart has been full thinking of that shelter these past few weeks. Remembering times in my life when I was the poor being helped.  Knocks at my own door with trays of food, arms to hold babies, and hearts to bring peace. 

I wish I could go back and spend a little more time in appreciation for all that was done for me. I wish I would have known that many of those hands holding my babies were probably hurting too. 

Sometimes God sends others to help save us—from pain, from fear, from starvation. And other times we get to share our love—and be saved in a different way. We don't have to have it all figured out to be able to help another. In both experiences I have felt closer to God, because it is Him who is blessing us with the light. 

Even the broken, can comfort the lonely. Even the imperfect can show perfect love. 

I am so grateful we live in a world that still has people who care—for every mouth and every heart is numbered in heaven.

We can #lighttheworld. It doesn’t cost anything to bring light to another, and we don’t have to give it up to share it. It multiplies inside the more we give it away.

This holiday season . . . let us remember the One. The one who washed the feet of those who served Him, and let them do the same for Him.


We are all in this together—children of God.

I have the goal to travel around this country sharing hope . . . with victims, with the broken, with the hurting. I always thought that maybe words were my only mission to do that. And then I saw there are some people who don't even have food to eat and shoes on their feet. So these communities that I visit. I want to do more than tell stories and share hope . . . I want to give it. 

Every single person you meet has a story. For some, life has failed them . . . others have failed at life. But we are all God's children and it is up to us to help them find Him. It is amazing to see that in those moments . . . so do we.

These experiences have made me ask some questions to myself. How many pairs of shoes do you have? How many meals do you take for granted? How many times do you withhold a smile, to someone looking for a sign their life is worth living?

I know individually we can't save the world—that is like thinking we can fill the ocean all on our own—but we can put in our two drops to try. We can make a difference. I need your help. Get out in your community. Send money to organizations who are seeking to save. It is our job alone to share our light with everyone we meet. 

Someday we will all stand before God. He won't be proud of how many shoes we collected at the end of our life . . . but how many we took off of our feet to give to one of His children.

Be the light. This holiday season, and forever. 

Shawn and I are going to be teaming up with some local organizations and Mormon.org for their #lighttheworld campaign. Please join us. If you have any way you can help, us or others, just find a way to bring light the world. No matter your religion, your skin color, your socioeconomic status, your faith—or lack of faithyou can make a difference. 

On December 9th we are going to be collecting donations for the local shelters and families in need and having a little Christmas devotional. Please stop by and come say hello. I will announce the location next week along with all the details. If you know of a family who could use anything specific please contact me directly themomentswestand@gmail.com so I can get that organized. If your family wants to sponsor a family or if you want to make a donation and will not be able to come meet up with us please feel free to contact me. 

Thank you all in advance. We have all been blessed with so much. As we clean out our closets this week, and make purchases through the next month for strangers in need I know we will have angels assist us to direct us where to go, who to feed, and what feet to cover. Those shoes taking up dust in your closets . . . could change someone's life. 

Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for all of you. 
Ashlee








 
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