Filling My Own

 A week ago I attended an amazing workshop filled with a little bit of magic and a lot of wonder.
It was held up in Annapolis, in a quaint charming neighborhood that became our focus for the day. Soulful journaling and photography was the key to the inspirational hours. Kayce Stevens Hughlett and her husband, professional photographer Bill came all the way from Seattle to guide our group. It was organized and hosted by  Amy Steindler.

 We started our morning with a poetry reading and a unique way of introducing ourselves.
We were to take the first part of the poem..."I am From..." and write, then share.

My 'I am From'
I am from courage and weakness, from the raging river and water;
the sunlight and heat
And dirt
Oh the dirt - brown and red, dried puddles into crusty patches.
I am from the rocks that sing of eons past,
That hold steady when all around is crumbling - yes I am from those rocks.
I am also from the tender nights, the longing for quiet and hope.
I am from the dedication of all to be sacred,
And yet releasing all to God
But begging for life in that same moment.
I am from noise and laughter and chaos
The feeling of freedom to feel and grow.
I am ever changing in the from....hoping, searching and blessing what is.
Ultimately what I am from is the hope of more.....
- September 27, 2014

We had a photography lesson from Bill. He is an amazing photographer and we were blessed by his presence and guidance. Once we got our tips and hints, we headed out into the neighborhood to shoot pictures. Our task was to not think to hard about it and just shoot photos. There were two sessions of looking through our lens that day. All of these pictures I took were straight out of my camera. 

We would come back to the house and have more prompt journaling. 
This is mine from the second prompt.

Everything is open - and my destination is not clear.
I feel it shifting, hear it, smell it. 
Then I question....it is only the change in the season 
but I know better.
Where is next, what is going to be asked of me
 or can it just continue getting brighter and brighter.
The hints and clues
Why oh why do I always doubt
and then put it off when I know.
I know that the tumblers of the lock click into place
so quick;y and the door stands open.
Beckoning and inviting 
And I am always amazed at how fast it falls into place.
One would think that I would be better at trusting
this process by now.
Sometimes there is the pruning in the garden
and sorrow
But it is always never fails a bigger better joy.
The night is peaceful now and nature is bountiful.
I have learned that the key to that lock is
Always in the gratitude.
 -September 27, 2014

The day finished with a little alchemy and a slideshow of everyone's six favorite shots of the day. It was hard choosing from the 105 pictures I took. 
This workshop was so good for my soul. I had needed to do something that wasn't 'mommy' or homeschooling related. Must fill your own well in order to still serve others.


Serenity farm - Day to Serve

This farm is special. The food they grow here all goes to those in need. Our family got to join 800 + other people in the Day to Serve at Serenity Farm in Benedict MD. We worked hard picking beans and preparing corn.

Each September as the harvest calls, we have the opportunity to make a difference.

It was really nice to work as a family and help with truck loads of food. Thayne said we needed more work. Lydia can not wait until next year when we can go back.

We are so blessed. It is so nice to help others.


We can do hard things

So proud of Lydia and how strong she is. She worked so hard and was able to get to the Matanuska glacier. It wasn't easy. It really wasn't easy! At the very last hill before getting to the cars, I told her she was strong and powerful. Lydia then chanted the young women values in cadence as we struggled up. I love this girl!




My baby is NINE! He is no longer a baby but still just as sweet and cuddly. Some times his bigger body envelops me as he cuddles. He loves green, Legos, and Pokemon. He still has trouble making the sound for the letter 'S' but he has come so far. We love his quirky sense of humor and he really is so much fun to have around. Sometimes he is too loud. But hey we all have something that we have to work on. I adore him every day! Life is so full of wonder still for him and I am glad the world never disappoints him on bringing discoveries.

 This year was Thayne's party year. He wanted to go to Medieval Times, a dinner and jousting tournament. We told him that he could choose two friends to take. Robert and Bradley joined us for an incredible evening of horses, weaponry and food!

We tried out the stocks and took in all the 'medieval' all around us. There were swords and knights and we even watched a few people become princesses.

Having a iced sugary drink was a special treat and we got to have a special cup to take home.
When we got to the arena, we found that we had front row seats right up close to where the King and his daughter, the royal Princess were sitting. Then let the games began! Falcons and horses put on a show and then the Knights....

 Two hours of pageantry and jousting was our entertainment. Then there was an evil emissary from another land that wanted to steal the princess away. Our valiant knights fought him and ended the villainous quest.
Thayne and his friends were enthralled the entire time, I had to remind them to eat the feast that was set before them. Chicken, tomato soup, potatoes, bread etc... must be eaten with your hands and no silverware. I have never seen such happy little boys as they cheered for the red knight and ate until they were stuffed.

  Thayne's birthday actually continued on Saturday the 14th which is his true day. Michael decided to treat everyone to the movie 'How to Train Your Dragon 2". It was an enjoyable time for even the bigger kids. 
Happy Birthday little man! The time goes so quick, I know this next year will be filled with adventures and fun. We love you Thayne!


My boy

Oh how quickly the years pass. I know it wasn't just yesterday that he was a little boy who could never wear shoes, but my heart wishes there was still more years to spend with him before he heads out to that big world out there. Motherhood has so many tears of sorrow and joy.
Tonight we celebrated Quayde's graduation from our home school. There were experiments that failed and succeeded. Art projects that ended up all over the table. Lots of time spent with friends, so much we had to remind him to stay at home to do some school work.
Quayde is strong, kind-hearted, and very much a noble man. He sometimes has a hard time believing that he is enough and I know he is worried that he doesn't know how to serve the world best. I know he is going to move mountains and influence people.

I love his sense of humor. He and I spent many hours traveling to and from his seminary class every morning at 6 am for the last several years. We have made up words and had strange discussions. Oh how I love this boy! I cherish the fact that we had those hours to grow closer to each other.
So now he closes a chapter and opens a new page. I am sure it will be filled with adventure. He loves Free Running and testing his physical limits. I can not wait to see all that Quayde achieves.

Congratulations Quayde! We are so proud of the person you are and the person you are becoming!


Late Spring

 Peonies from our yard brighten my day. There are only a few left but they always bloom out in a way that brings joy to my heart when I see them. I have cut a few to grace our table. Fresh flowers bring delight to my soul.
 This sweet delicate butterfly managed with Thayne's help, to be trapped in the house. It took some careful maneuvering to finally release him back to the yard.
 Thayne ran into the house yelling about two snakes dancing together. It was quite fascinating to watch them wriggle and squiggle together in their mating dance. I assume baby snakes will be on their way. Good thing we love these kind.
Our latest building project. We have designed and are building a club house for the littles. It is three feet off the ground. It now has a roof and we need to build some stairs for it. The ladder is too hard for Lydia. She has been asking for years to have her own playhouse. It will be amazing once we get it all built and decorated.
Summer is soon upon us. It feels like we are always so much busier in the Summer than any other time of year. There are scout camp, yw camp, Trek, and vacations to be experienced. Maybe there will be one week or two for just lazying around. We will see.


Happy birthday Maliea!

 Oh Maliea! How we love you so. You are smart and sweet and we are so blessed to have you in our lives. Today we celebrated Maliea's 26th birthday. Wow! She wanted to go to Oga's for her birthday lunch. We all enjoyed the Chinese buffet that they serve there. It was a great choice for a birthday lunch. Then home to open gifts. She loves this poster.
 As per many of my children's choices, She chose pie instead of cake. This was a yummy triple berry one and we all had a delicious slice with ice cream on the top.
Yes my dear, you are our sweet princess. We are so grateful that Heavenly Father sent you to our family. Thank you for being the balance to our craziness! Happy birthday my dear daughter!


Eagle Court of Honor

 On February 12, 2014 our boy achieved the rank of Eagle Scout!
It was well earned. Quayde did not have anything blindly passed off and he worked his hardest to earn each of those merit badges. His Eagle Project was quite the accomplishment. The Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Foundation will have that extra large aviary enclosure for many many years. We are so very pleased with the young man that he has become.
 This evening we finally held his Court of Honor. It started out just Quayde...then he invited his friend Josh to have it with him... then it just got out of hand and three more families joined in. It made for a delightful evening in which every one was honored and had a wonderful time.

 First I was able to pin his eagle medal on him, then he gave me the most massive hug and pinned the mom's pin on me. Michael was next; we are such proud parents!  It was then Quayde's turn to give a speech on what scouting had meant to him. I am so grateful for this program that gave him goals to accomplish and helped to make him the man he is becoming today.

 We had to have a little display of his scouting career. He wore his Order of the Arrow sash for the ceremony so we had his regular one on the table. It was hard work... no lie. The paperwork to put together everything for the National Council was crazy. Quayde's hard work made this all so worthwhile. 

After the ceremony we had cake and many more delights of the palette. There was much merriment with all the families and our guests
 We are grateful to all who made this happen for these amazing boys.



 See that amazing smile? That's my miracle! She is fourteen...they said she would never make it. They didn't believe in the power of her. She is sunshine, hope, and laughter rolled into a small but strong package.

She loves purple and red! She loves watching dvd movies like Cake Boss. She loves reading her scriptures and being in Young Womens at church. She is funny and silly. She brightens our days.
Fourteen....we are so blessed! We celebrated by buying makeup and clothes. We went to Cafe Rio for lunch. We celebrated her and the joy she is to our family. Happy Birthday Lydia! May you have lots and lots more! We love you more than our hearts can hold.


Happy Mother's day

I am sitting outside, while the birds are serenading and a gentle fragrance from the azaleas surround me. It has been a good day. I look at my children who are now not little and I am so blessed.

They know me so well and what makes me smile. It has been such a good journey; this life of ours and I am grateful for every moment that I have been allowed to be their mom.

posted from Bloggeroid


Best game

Today all of us went shopping to find Maliea some much needed clothing. Only problem was that Quayde and Thayne were getting bored quickly. They tried playing hide and seek but then Thayne was a little too loud for that.
So I came up with an awesome game that kept both boys happy for a really long time. It was a mini scavenger hunt. I would give them an item, they had to hunt and find it, then take a picture of it with Quayde's phone. They would return, show me the picture and I would send them on a new quest.
Best game ever! They totally worked together and had fun. Plus the girls and I got lots of shopping time. No one got into any trouble and neither boy was bored for the rest of the afternoon.
P.S. thank you to the kind man who let them take a picture of your mustache.

posted from Bloggeroid

In our yard

Oh how I adore Spring! It seems all the sweeter after a hard Winter and finally things are in bloom. The trees are starting to get that neon green that only last for a short while and I am discovering new plants I haven't seen before.

I am wondering if they have shown up this year because Spring came so late and the trees didn't block the sun as early, like they usually do.
Around the yard we have pretty blooms and a new wild visitor that has been just outside the breakfast window all week.
Living here on this property has been a time in our lives that is filled with wonder. Mother Nature is so incredible with her ever changing home. It is such a blessing to be able to enjoy each day and all that it brings.