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“Love Hard”

Isn’t Facebook a handy tool.  These wonderfully wise words were the status of a dear friend of mine today.  I asked her if I could share:

“Someone wrote on the wall of a sister grieving the loss of her brother, to “stay strong and love hard”. Love hard….I wonder what it would look like if I did that. Some of us work hard, play hard, party hard….but I have never thought of loving hard. Love is so often associated with ‘softness’, like flowers and clouds and cuddly things. I think I want to love hard, because here are a few things that ‘hard’ means, by various dicitionary definitions:

Solid, firm, and resistant to pressure; not easily broken, bent, or pierced.

With a great deal of effort.

Intense in force or degree

With great force, vigor, or energy

Firmly; securely

To love firmly, intensely, with great effort. I think we would all like to BE loved that way, so wouldn’t it be good to put forth the effort TO love that way? Here’s to Wednesday…Stay strong and Love Hard!!”

Thank you for the wisdom and insight, Kari Thurman!  ❤

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Not Alone

Times have changed. Women will go to great lengths to try to be all we can be these days.  But there was a time (not that long ago) that those words were just an Army slogan and not so much a way to look at life as a woman.  I know the 70’s completed a transition that many women from the past fought hard for over 50 years just in the US alone.  But was there something strange that came along as a by-product when women gained new rights?  When women went to work in a man’s world, what did they leave behind?

In many ways they left pieces of their carefully woven sisterhood lying all around.  When we became more independent and we stopped living near our aunts, grandmothers, sisters and mothers, we left behind a built-in support system that has long since been stretched and thinned.  In leaving this behind, we gained so much, because we grew into people who can reach new heights and stand alone.  We might not “need” a man or a husband.  We can break away from our parents and stop listening to our mothers (let alone our aunts).  We can forge our own lives and break molds and have children and jobs whenever we please and be equal partners with the fathers of our children or never know those fathers at all.

But somehow, day after day, in our own houses and as we work our jobs, over time we can get to feeling we’re all alone.  As women, we can work, clean, battle, survive, love, cook, eat, serve, struggle, pray, laugh, and sometimes cry. And many times we do all this alone.   We have a responsibility to continually keep rising above our ever-changing roles.  Perhaps because the women of our past truly did sacrifice so much so we could live these lives.  But, back then they had the bond of womanhood and the well-known roles that part in this life assigned to them because they were women. And they had the women who had done it before them at their side to show them the way.

Now we are living in a completely different era than our mothers, aunts or grandmothers before us ever did. We are sisters in this new age where we as mothers give out consequences for children instead of JUST BECAUSE I SAID SO or GO GET THE SWITCH. We have husbands who love and support us in a brand new way for men and sometimes it causes a new kind of stress and different expectations on women. We don’t cook from scratch (as much) or milk the cow or churn the butter and rise the bread (very often).  Today we spend that time battling with how to balance between utilizing technology (the iPhones, the laptops, the On Demand cable) to be the Super Moms we think we might be expected to be and the ginormous distraction the thousands of texts, emails, and Facebook posts can be when thrown at us 100 different ways every day.

We are distracted at every turn from the possibility of living our full potential in this lifetime.  We use to know what our “job” was.  Now we struggle with knowing what we think we need to know (like the best buy on toilet paper this week, and where to keep the schedule for our entire family without losing our minds–God forbid that simply be on paper) all while filtering out what keeps us from having enough time to “do it all”.

I know I’m not alone.  I know I have my Creator and my Savior, so I know in that way I am not alone in this life or on this journey.  (Thankfully)

I also have a best friend who married me and who stands by my side daily to help raise the 5 little people we were so blessed to help bring into this world.

But when my best friend goes to work and I am here in this house living this role that no one can ever give you the instruction manual for, it is God and the other women in my life I rely on to get me through my day.  I don’t know what I would do without either of them.  And I believe God placed those women (and my husband and children) in my life purposefully so that I could feel His love for me here on this Earth every day.

I’m so blessed to have all of my friends and all of my sisters — the ones I have from their birth and the ones who came along later.  I’m incredibly grateful for both of my mothers — my own and my husband’s.  All of these women were carefully selected to be their own version of a handmade blessing in my life.  Each of them help to remind me that “alone” is just a perception.

We all stand together bonded by the ever evolving roles we have as women, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and friends.  So, I will acknowledge, love, hug, support, encourage (and yes, even message) the women in my life as much as I can. Because we are living in this new and sometimes crazy world . . . together. And we are only as together in this as we feel. And today we only feel that same togetherness our fore-sisters felt when they baked and sewed together when we make the time to reach out.

So let us reach out. Let’s remind each other that we are not alone. Women are in transition.  We are setting the new standards of womanhood, of motherhood, and of sisterhood that our own daughters will watch and follow. So let’s raise each other up, point our eyes to our priorities, and encourage each other. Maybe it’s not going to be over a quilt while we are stitching our fingers raw, but it can be over a cup of tea, or a homemade sandwich, or heck . . . even over the Internet.

With love,
Kaycee

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2011 Resolutions: How’s that going now?

In July this year, I posted some pretty amazing things I wanted to do before ringing in the new year (read that article here).  With just 2 months left in the year, I thought it would be good to revisit this list to see how that is going for me now . . .

So, here’s the list:
*Paint the main level of our house (has NEVER been painted by us though we celebrate 12 years in this house next month)
Although I DID paint the girls room, I haven’t painted the main level.  I keep arguing with myself about the color and the best time to disrupt everything to get that done.  But we HAVE a paint voucher and it wouldn’t be a cost to us at all.  So it would be fabulous to get that done over Thanksgiving Break.  (Plug that into the calendar, Kaycee.)

*Make working out daily a habit,
*Have more lean muscle than I do FAT &
*Carve out regular time for my business so it can grow
I was doing great with this one — as usual — during the summer time.  But as soon as the school year started up, my workout plans unravelled.  So a few weeks ago, I took the example a few of my friends were leading with and I joined a local gym. The beauty of this step is that I’ve tied the business into my workout time at the gym.  The gym has a nursery, so when I finish my workout, before I pick up Baby and Meli May, I sit in the lounge in the locker room and make some business calls.  It has been a good thing and I have had more time to make specific business plans for action.  Right away, getting to workout more has lifted my mood. And the longer I go making regular business calls, the more results I should see there too.

*Make writing every week a habit
I am working on this one.  I worked on my blog for girls (Letters 2 Girls) this week, and I’m posting here . . . so it is coming along.  More than anything, I’ve started reading again.  And I believe any good writer starts by being an avid reader.  

*Make blessing my house something I do on auto-pilot
I have to admit that I am struggling with this one.  I have tried the Fly Lady systems before.  But I’m lacking in discipline.  She has a great concept.  Take ONE thing and do it everyday to make enough of a difference that you start to feel motivated to do more and more.  She highly recommends cleaning in 15 minute spurts.  She also talks a bunch about loving ourselves and about thinking of house work and daily chores as blessing our families through blessing their home.  I love all of this.  But when it comes to regularly following her daily steps to building great habits, I seem to fall short over and over.  I know that I could use work on being disciplined.  And I want to make the changes.  But why do I keep falling short and giving up?  Something to ponder.  I did my best when I had a few cleaning partners.  Several years ago, I had a handful of online Fly Lady friends who were all working together to clean and build great daily habits.  It didn’t take me long to start spending more time visiting and chatting with these moms though.  So it became a huge time-suck.  If I could take what I learned from that time and apply it all, I’d be SET!

*Make reading the bible a morning ritual
Here is another area I’m struggling with.  I see the need for me to wake up earlier to help give myself regular time to do this, but day after day I don’t get up early for this.  The baby is usually in our bed and stirring on and off during the 6 o’clock hour.  So I guess discourages me.  In fact, I blame the baby sleeping in our bed for about 5 hours a night on me being too tired to jump out of bed at 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning.  But if I actually take a closer look, the truth is I’m NOT heading to bed as early as I could.  If I want to start my day just 30 minutes earlier, I could certainly put myself in my bed earlier to help encourage this possibility.  I will take a good hard look at starting there.  I’ll start TONIGHT!  That should make my hubby (Music Man) happy!  He has tried hard to encourage me to get to bed earlier lately.

*Grow and cultivate systems for our personal finances
Oh sigh. Although we did get so far as to borrow an amazing Christian Financial Workshop in a box . . . we have hardly cracked it open.  I wish I knew how to get us to take the time out for it.   Especially since it seems to have great potential for truly transforming our financial habits.  I will start by committing to get it out this weekend and spent at least 1 hour with my Music Man looking to set some of the system into action and get the time to go through the course on our calendar.

Whew!  If you hung around to read through all of this, I truly think you are amazing and kind.  I feel like I am finally taking more time out to not only set goals, but to carry them out.  And a huge part of accomplishing this is revisiting the goals I set to see how things are going.  So thank you for helping me with the one that is my writing goal.  This is hardly the book I have had in my head for most of a decade, but at least I am writing and at least it’s a start!

Love,
Kaycee

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A new day!

Ever wonder when you might feel like you have it all together?  I have wondered that for perhaps my whole life. Well, ever since that day that I woke up and was less a kid and more a teenager and I realized that the decisions I was making were actually going to start impacting more than just my next few moments. Remember that? When you realized that if you didn’t do this paper AND the next 3, that it would mean you failed that class, and failing could post-pone graduation? Or not getting your permit by THIS date meant that your time to finally drive would be pushed back that much farther?

Well, I still feel like I am barely holding on by the skin of my teeth most days. But I’m starting to wonder if many people feel like me too. Am I the majority, or the minority here?

But, what do you think? Is it possible to wake up one day and finally just be accomplishing more than you are not accomplishing? Is it even feasible that over time one might gradually be closer and closer to meeting their many, many goals in life.

I suppose this is why Bucket Lists were created. So we could have those important things we do not want to die w/o doing laid out there to tick off like a to do list. So, it is a new day. Every day is. I’d like to lay out some of the things I’d LOVE to carry out gradually (’cause we can’t just get crazy here) over the next 6 months before we ring in 2012:

*Paint the main level of our house (has NEVER been painted by us though we celebrate 12 years in this house next month)
*Make working out daily a habit
*Have more lean muscle than I do FAT
*Make writing every week a habit
*Make blessing my house something I do on auto-pilot
*Carve out regular time for my business so it can grow
*Make reading the bible a morning ritual
*Grow and cultivate systems for our personal finances

So there. I don’t think it is too much to ask that I am able to improve upon and create in these areas. And having the above list be a reality in my life would give me such a thrill! I’d like to have the life the above would give. I’d love to sit here in January next year and have to really concentrate to come up with a new list . . . after checking off the above as done (and will keep being done)!

Anyone care to share their list and join me? It is the last half of the latest new year. Has yours gotten stale? Or is it still a new day for you?

🙂 Kaycee

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Red ants on a log

image

My dear eldest (6) daughter and I came up with this snack the other day, and I thought it was fun, so we snapped a picture.

A simple twist on the old snack that uses raisins. We used Craisins (dried cranberries) instead. Here is what we did:Wash & chop organic celery into sticks. Spread with organic peanut or sun butter (no additives or sugar). Add Craisins. Eat. Now you have a fun snack to serve that many kids can help you make. Enjoy. Please feel free to comment and share your own fun snack ideas.

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It’s not rocket science

Day 47 in my 100 day transformation.

Things are certainly coming along. I’m gaining ground in all of the areas I set out to improve 47 days ago when the year began. Here’s an update …

Prayer life: My goal is to live life inside of God’s will and purpose for me. In order to line up with God’s will, I am working to strengthen my prayer life. I feel this should be a great focus for my last 50 days. I want to build more quiet times of listening to God into my every day. Like brushing my teeth, I don’t want to start or end my day without doing it. Having 5 children makes this a challenge. But it is possible. I have been praying at the start of my day. And I’m reading the Gospel verses of the day most mornings now. It is the end of my day that needs that quiet listening the most, I think. And the morning could be stretched to a longer amount of quiet with Him.

Health: I have been working out faithfully 6 out of 7 days per week now since 2011 began. I am so happy to be engraining this habit. It has been easier to fit the workouts in since I began waking earlier to workout first thing. Getting a workout in before I usually would have been awake for the day has really been transforming. It feels good, and Mike and the kids have been so very supportive! It has been impowering and humbling, all at once. I will continue to work on lengthening the workouts to eventually be consistently getting in a full hour now that I’ve built the habit of getting up for 20 to 40 minute workouts.

House blessing & organization: I’m sure you’ve heard that to get things done you’ve got to raise some dust. Well, in order to kick up some dust around here, I first needed to raise some motivation, encouragement, and support. So, slowly I have done that. Finding some online cleaning buddies I could work with a few times a day makes cleaning more fun and less isolating. And racing to empty the dishwasher or rescue a room adds an element of urgency that gets the task done in 1/2 the time. Now I’d like to have some regular morning, afternoon, and evening routines in place by the end of this 100 days. So that is where my focus will turn for the next several weeks. Perhaps 12 days or so per routine to really get them down and fine tune their efficiency.

Last, I have committed to transforming my business. My goal is to be putting 10 hours a week to my business. Where as up till now, I have put in a few hours a week at my busiest. I have really just made it a side hobby, till now. A secondary supplement to my life as a mom. But I want more for my business and I want more out of it too. So I’m working to build some business building activities into my daily life. The key seems to be taking time during the evenings, when I would normally sit and watch TV to plan my business calls for the next day. Not easy when I finally feel like the kids aren’t demanding of me or calling on me for things when the house is finally quiet and it is my choice how to spend my minutes. But since those kiddos are my 5 biggest why’s for even wanting to have my own business, I think it is certain to be fulfilling & so rewarding when this business is helping to give us more time together and not only the chance to keep me home and here for them, but also helping to afford their college studies and the possibility of their Dad working from home too eventually.

So, the transformation is under way and the first 100 days are almost 1/2 way to completion. Let the game of change continue, and the true fullness of life open up wide.

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Cupcake Heaven

My new favorite cupcake shop unveiled a new yummy cupcake yesterday … here is the Facebook update from yesterday:

Gigi’s Cupcakes of Littleton, CO said, “Today we will be premiering the CINNAMON ROLL CUPCAKE! It is a moist white cake swirled with sugar and cinnamon, frosted with a cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar!” 
And my good friend wasted no time picking some up for our girl’s night dessert last night. And she brought others too. Oh so yummy and delicious. I just had to share …

We had the Cinnamon Roll, the Snowball, Wedding, and German Chocolate. They were amazing and I may have officially been spoiled forever!

So YUMMY!

Here is a link to GiGi’s on Facebook. They are in Aspen Grove in Littleton. If you are local, I highly recommend these delightful cupcakes. And I hear they even have gluten-free!

Original Facebook Status: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=124796817548862&v=wall&story_fbid=122421037829003  Sent via TweetDeck (www.tweetdeck.com)

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Top 5 things I like to do when it is cold

CO snow + CO sunshine = winter wonderland

Today it is 4 degrees F outside, so I’ll share my favorite things to do when It’s cold outside:

  1. Sip and hold a steaming hot mug filled with hot tea (current fav orange blueberry w/honey) or hot chocolate (mint flavored – mmmmm . . .).
  2. Curl up next to the window on the loveseat (if it is currently snowing — even better) with a new book.  Could park there for hours.
  3. Write.
  4. Fold hot-out-of-the-dryer laundry.
  5. Dishes . . . w/the hottest water I can stand.  Ahhhhh . . .

Funny, a couple of those I would have never considered a few decades ago. 

What do you like to do when it is cold outside?  I’d LOVE to hear from people in Alaska!  🙂

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My 100 Day Transformation

Day 21

At the first of the year, I set out to make some lasting changes. My plan was to write about the journey from the start, but the first step bumped the journal part of the process down on the priority list. That’s because my first step was to list the things I want to add into my life as good habits, and then put them in order of importance.

Well, now that I’m 21 days in, I’m happy to get a chance to get some things down. I have been focusing on adding positive things and one area is fitness. So I set out to workout more regularly. Since squeezing the workouts in later in the day hadn’t been working since we started back to a school schedule in the fall, I decided it was time to see if I could make morning work outs work for me. Now I’m so excited! I went from years of dreading the idea of ever possibly needing to wake earlier to just to work out to looking forward to my morning workouts! Can you believe that? All theseyears of thinking I would hate it, and within 3 weeks I’m loving it. For the last 3 weeks I have woken up at least 30 minutes earlier 6 out of 7 days a week. And the 3 days off we on purpose so I have those muscle recovery days. I’ve lost 5 lbs in the process – even though I know I’ve gained back muscle.

More soon. Ahhhh, sweet transformation!

🙂

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Are your kids in the right car seat?

Having 5 children over the last 10 years, we have at times been unsure about the most current car seat restraint laws for our kiddos.  So every so often I like to look up the laws again and make sure we are abiding. 

Here is the website I used most recently to find the appropriate laws for our state:
http://babyproducts.about.com/od/statecarseatlaws/State_Car_Seat_Laws_Child_Safety_Seat_and_Seatbelt_Laws_by_State.htm

With this website, you can go to the specific laws for your state. 

Here is an example . . . we are in Colorado, so we clicked on the CO link and the article (thank you) was in plain English.  We found out that for our 5 kiddos some things have changed since we last checked up on the laws.  Meli, our youngest is 13 months old now and normally we would have turned her around to face forward by now. But it is being encouraged to keep them rear-facing for longer now, so we will. And in her case, she has a lot more entertainment facing her brothers and sisters instead of the back of my head.

We also learned that not only is our oldest allowed to ride in a car without a booster, but so is his 8-year-old brother.  As long as he is over 8, he is considered legal to ride without a seat.  We are going to keep him in the seat a bit longer, because of his height, but it is great to know that he can go for short trips (with friends and so forth) without if needed!

So, if you haven’t, visit the site and check on your state laws today.  And I highly recommend bookmarking your state site and checking back regularly as your kids grow. And may you have safe and happy travels in the new year!