Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. ~ Margaret D. Nadald

Our Father also gifted us with the nature to nurture, keen sensitivity to the Spirit, selflessness, discernment, and heroic faith. No wonder our Father placed us at the heart of the family and thus at the center of the plan of salvation. We are the Lord's secret weapon. ~ Sheri Dew

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28 July 2011


I was thinking about our eating habits a bit and thought I'd share:

For quite a while now we have instituted a kind of eating schedule that could probably be best described from the book "Food Rules." To paraphrase, we eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. What does that mean?

Well, breakfast is the biggest most caloric meal of the day, here we try and have a large/filling meal to give us energy for the day and cue our bodies that 'no really, it's time to get going!' I try to incorporate a protein like eggs and the various incarnation of them (including my favorites like puffy apple pancakes etc that take a bunch of eggs), we have a meat occasionally (like twice a month... yah, we're not really meat eaters around here), load up on grains, fruit etc.

Lunch for us is what most people would refer to as dinner. We figured last year sometime that it didn't make sense to have a big meal before bed, so lunch and dinner got swapped. Now, I'm spoiled. My husband comes home everyday around noon (usually, and if he's not traipsing around the world somewhere), so it's easy to keep everyone fed like this. However, if he didn't have such a schedule and wasn't opposed to left overs, I would just work a day behind. For example, whatever the family eats for lunch Monday goes with dad Tuesday etc., so he also gets his biggest meal midday even if he has to take food to work. Here is where I'll pull out the pasta dishes, if I had a meat something planned, baked sweet potatoes with all there lovely toppings like black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, laughing cow cheese, salsa, etc. Something to fuel the rest of the day and the husband who works out most days after work for about an hour and a half to two hours before he gets home.

Now, onto the real reason for this post, our dinner meal is more accurately referred to as supper. It's a lighter meal, just some extra fuel, not to much or meant to fill the belly, just to get through the night and not have the body working on something heavy as your trying to lay down to sleep. I understand the body's need to refuel especially after a long/hard workout (although just a spoon full of peanut butter and 8oz of fat-free organic milk does it for me, but I'm crazy like that), but for athletes and normal people alike.... calorie loading after 5 or 6 doesn't really help. So, I'll give you some things that we enjoy here and then I'll link it up and find some pictures to make this post more appealing, just needed to get something out there! Trying to create the perfect finished post in one feel swoop often leads to lack of sleep or ignoring of things that need to be done, so I'm going to try the two step approach.

Anyway! Starting from today and working backward as best as I can remember:

Cowboy Caviar from this recipe here, and corn bread. The caviar I make with apple cider vinegar instead of red wine. Tragically I looked up red wine vinegar and apparently the way that it's made doesn't end up getting rid of all alcoholic presence. I'm sure there's only just a faint trace left, but regardless, we don't believe in using alcohol inside of our bodies, so I've had to tweak that part of the recipe. I read that apple cider vinegar could be used as a substitute, and I think there were others on the list... you could Google it. Anyway, the change gives it a little more of a sweet taste I would say? Dunno, I totally like the red wine better, but I'm being good! And it's still tasty :-D The corn bread I'll type out the recipe for. I use what's on my corn meal container (have for years! Should probably write it down in case they ever stop printing it!), but I add wheat flour and don't use the optional salt.

Naan and hummus with smoothies. The hummus recipe here is a good base and has no tahini... I can't find tahini here so these types of recipe work best for me and they're all pretty much the same. Even my parents like this one. Confession though, this meal is one we entirely purchase at the commissary. I definitely need to learn how to make Naan, it's fabulous! That may have to way until post-baby though. For now we're addicted to the roasted red pepper hummus that our commissary offers (and no, not all hummus is created equal... our store was out so we picked up some at Walmart and it wasn't my favorite. The artichoke and spinach wasn't too bad though). Anyway! Find a recipe or brand you like! It's worth it :-). And hummus is highly supported by the Biggest Loser... lots of the contestants end up using it instead of mayo etc. Good stuff!

Zucchini muffins and smoothies

Bruchetta on homemade bread (or artisan bread from the store if we've been out), and we broil a bit of mozzarella on the bread before serving. Seriously, 2 or 3 pieces and we're full, and they aren't big slices at all! The recipe that I link to here is what I started using about 2 years ago when I first started making this. Now we just improvise :-). I've been asked a lot for this recipe though when I take it to squadron functions, so it's worth starting with. I don't use plum tomatoes, we usually use 4-6 yummy on the vine tomatoes. And I'm almost entirely sure that may maiden voyage with this one included just a pack of those pretty tomatoes that start with a 'c'. Yah, I know, I'm helpful, sorry!

and from there I can't remember specifics. (Hey, I'm happy if I remember to get out of bed most mornings!)

Other things we often have are sliced apples with peanut butter and a glass of milk. Cut veggies with hummus or a side of string cheese. Any variety of muffin with smoothies (I buy frozen fruit and add that with organic yogurt, wheat germ, banana's if we have them, and maybe a little pineapple juice and pineapple from a can lurking in the food storage). Cooked squash (butternut, acorn) etc. is nice. You could use a recipe from Pioneer Woman on that here. Pretty sure this way defeats the purpose of trying to keep from overeating at night, but you could tweak it? Sometimes we'll have an egg over a little rice with laughing cow cheese. During the colder months we'll have a light soup. Oh, and sandwiches are fair game for supper (basically anything you'd have for lunch). And our big "splurge" day of Sunday we end up eating kind of between both meals and we make curry.... which is essentially veggies over rice.

So, now to linking these up and if I remember more I'll let you know! Any favorite light meal/supper ideas you'd like to share?

25 July 2011

Getting Ambitious... Advice Gladly Accepted :-)

So...... Sewing.

I have an interesting relationship with sewing. I like doing it by hand, but it's a bit slow and hard to fathom keeping up when you have multiple children and a husband who are anxiously awaiting a project to be finished. Why do I like to sew by hand?? Well, remember when I wrote a post about being a bit OCD?...... Yah, I find that I get a but too frustrated when I sew with a machine because the lines aren't straight enough. Yep, it's okay, go ahead and add crazy person to this line here ______. Add to that the occasional to sometimes frequent tension issues I end up having, again things aren't 'perfect,' and projects tend to sit around a bit waiting to be finished! Which I know then makes you wonder why I don't just work on it by hand and at least get something done. Umm.... Cause I'm special? :-D

I have had some success over the years here and there. I do enjoy making quilts and LOVE that rag quilts hide the issues that I have with my machine (or any machine for that matter... I have used more than one and find the same problem. Therefore, the problem is me! Lol!) But I need to branch out and make this weakness a strength. So, how does one get better at something? They have to do it! Therefore, this week will see my sewing machine getting use that I haven't given in a bit. Am I terrified? Well, to put it mildly, yes :-). The commitment of cutting something out and running it under the needle brings a bit of anxiety to me. Hopefully time and a good amount of successful projects behind me will help me chill out.... And hopefully not be another 6 years in the making! (That'd be how long I've had a machine).

Oh.... And you Mother's that do know how to sew..... First..... Please, please, please! Teach all your chilren how to do it! I have serious issues with a lot of the baby boomer generation for not passing down a lot of these skills. Hence why I went searching for some motherly advice and found the gem of Homestead Blessings DvD's almost 3 years ago now.

And second.... To all those who sew.... Feel free to share tips, blogs posts, links to your favorite projects, anything! Handholding is readily accepted :-).

And onto my project list:

-Modest skirts/dresses for my daughter
-Finish aprons for children and myself (everything has been ready for months.... Just need to put the stitches in... And trying not to freak out!)
-Make a memory t-shirt quilt for my husband
-5 sets of pajama pants for the children for Christmas (needing to finish these before baby arrives near Thanksgiving.... Hopefully sooner than later just in case I have to undo the stitching several times!)
-Maybe rag-quilts for the boys for Christmas

And perhaps you can help..... My daughter already has a rag quilt (I made it before baby number 4 came since we knew she wasn't going to have a sister anytime soon. So, why not a consolation pink quilt?! She loves it. Pretty sure she'd love a sister some day, but we'll have to see about that! All else fails she'll certainly have a few sister-in-law's down the road :-D). Anyway, what to make for her?? She'll be a little over 5. We try not to buy gifts for Christmas for the children, so clever things they'll enjoy that we can make are always being sought after around our place.

Please share your thoughts!

22 July 2011

My Pregnancy Enjoyment Guide

I was going to name this my pregnancy survival guide, but I figured that name needed some revamping! Despite the challenges many women face as they grow a little one, the process is quite incredible and should be enjoyed..... but that's a lot easier to do when you're not nauseous and or saying goodbye to everything you've attempted to eat or drink :-D. So, here are some things that I've found that may increase your enjoyment as well! With this baby I have been sick to my stomach since day 1 (which told me this was a boy long before the Dr. did), and I had to have emergency surgery to remove an ovary in week 5 or so which knocked me out for a good month... and I'm still recovering... turns out incisions healing while your body is stretching doesn't help so much, and my husband had to leave me and 4 children under 5 for almost 2 months right about the time I was back on my feet. Needless to say something had to give, as my old anti-nausea tricks weren't helping, so I turned to Facebook and asked friends and family for unusual remedies. The following is what keeps me going and enjoying life and baby's little kicks and movements each day:

1/ Comes from the book of me.... STAY HYDRATED. Easier said than done. I don't know about you, but water and I aren't the
best of friends when my stomach wants nothing to do with ANYTHING. However, I found my 32oz water bottle that I've lugged around for a few years and it's been my constant companion. I try to fill and drink it twice before my husband comes home for lunch and at least one after... and if I end up blowing that plan, well, then I have to drink more at night and suffer the wrath of waking up to hit the bathroom. The reason my bottle was retired is because I have to normally mix a little juice with my water to keep it down and I didn't want to defile my water bottle (it seriously wreaks if you keep that up). Anyway! The latest trick is to add a drop or two of lemon oil from my Family Physician's kit that I talked about in last post and viola! Water I can keep down and has some extra cleansing power, and it doesn't make my bottle gross. Even if you have to try a teaspoon at a time you need hydration... it's quite cyclical. If your'e dehydrated your body will be nauseous and when you try to hydrate the body will reject it because it's dehydrated. Nice huh?

2/Another from the book of me.... EXERCISE. Yes, I'm a crazy person. Do I have to mention that so frequently? I guess this is for the benefit of new readers :-D. I was prepping for a triathlon that I would have raced at 9 weeks pregnant, but instead found myself recovering from surgery.... and have since gained 30lbs! Umm... yah, so while I know it'll all come off later it certainly doesn't help now. I gain all the weight in my upper leg/hip area and carrying that around is rough. Thankfully I've had the stamina to pull out my Mom's Into Fitness DVD's and alternating between my 2nd trimester cardio/weight section and yoga
plus a mile walk Mon-Sat, I've found MORE ENERGY, and of course MORE ENDURANCE and STRENGTH. The thing I really like about these DVD's is that Lindsay set it up so that regardless of what stage you're at within your trimester you can find modifications that work for you, and you don't feel pressured! She really helps you figure out how to be safe and do things properly, which is big! And of course my favorite is that she reminds mom's that studies show that WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD CHILDREN CAN GET IN BETTER SHAPE THEN WOMEN WHO HAVEN'T. Here's the link for the set of videos I have, it walks you through trimesters 1-3 and has a post-natal work out. I've used this for the last two babies, LOVE IT! So pull out your shoes (I wear Vibram Five Fingers) and do something. I like that exercise helps with aches/pains and releases tension in places that cause your typical low back pain etc. (Oh, and I take 2 months off after baby before training for races, so it helps to stay in good shape now.... I have a triathlon in April, hopefully a couple Ragnar's and my "hmm... I've just had a baby... now how to get the weight off?" goal is a marathon for my birthday.... so staying in shape now really helps that lag post baby. I set goals of races to finish to stay motivated. I know none of you have problems getting motivated! :-). Seriously, give it a try, it's great and your husband will love you for it. There are enough hours in the day, promise! I'll even walk you through it personally.)

3/A tip from the oils and everythingdoterra.com. There's an oil blend called DigestZen and it kills heartburn in about 2 seconds. I keep my whole collection next to me every night and if my chest/throat is burning I know a drop or two of DigestZen will help me get back to sleep without pain! It's a beautiful thing :-). Previous pregnancies I've gotten up and had a bowl of cereal. It's an acceptable fix, but this one is super efficient and keeps me in bed so my body isn't any more restless than usual.

4/A few friends/family chimed in to tell me about sea bands... seriously, how did I not know about these earlier?? I have 3 boys, all of which I had the pleasure of 9 months of nausea and vomiting with. With boy #4 I haven't been nauseous over the last month and a half while wearing these. I actually bought Psi Bands after I figured out how well these worked for me, (Psi Bands are the cuter version of sea bands). I bought mine off of Amazon for $11, there was an unexpected discount when I checked out, woohoo! I hear some hospitals carry them, especially ones that have cancer treatment centers. The whole idea is accu-pressure. Yes, I've had pain in my wrists with the little balls going into them and yes my wrists sometimes hurt, but yes, it's totally worth it!

5/My cousin suggested corn on the cob. She was really sick with her first and couldn't eat anything. Her husband ended up getting some corn after an hour trip to the store turned fail and my cousin was crying because the thought of anything made
her sick..... and she ended up eating both bags of corn and sent him back for more. Her doctor said at the next visit that it wasn't a coincidence, that there had been studies that showed corn on the cob helping nausea. I bought a big bag of frozen corn on the cob. It's easy to cook and I hold it down and even enjoyably quite well.

6/I tried this out of family/friend suggestions and it worked, but since my homeopathic 'cures' work I haven't used it since, but perhaps it'll help you. Many chimed in to say that Unisom worked great (I bought the Walmart equivalent that was quite a bit cheaper and it worked like they said). For nausea you take just a tiny sliver of the pill, and then of course if you take more it's a sleep aid and approved for use while pregnant. So, that was a two in one. I used the sliver method a bit and used it to sleep a couple nights that I was really beat and needing the rest.

7/A friend email me about refried beans. I haven't tried this in it's entirety, but with all of my children I have CRAVED mexican food like crazy and it settled my tummy. I always try to keep a good stash of pinto beans so I can mashed them up for some burrito good-ness! Anyway, here's a blog you can look at that has more info on that: http://littleprairiehomeschool.blogspot.com/2011/06/beans-cure-for-morning-sickness-no.html

8/Vitamin B6.... You know, some women praise the stuff, and I do have some... but I don't see much difference when I use it personally. Just figured I'd throw it out there for yah!

Anyway, I hope if your'e growing a little one, have in the past, or are thinking of it in the future that maybe some of these ideas will help you! It goes by so quickly, the reward is so great, and the amnesia (at least with me, and stated in a bible passage my husband found) is very strong! :-D.

03 July 2011


I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine last week that made me think a lot about distractions in our lives. This friend has 9 children, also homeschool's, and is someone that I met once at a homeschool picnic for our county over 3 years ago and now the poor thing is stuck with me for life, despite the fact that I've moved 3 times since then!

Anyway, she and I got to talking this particular day, after only brief notes back and forth since we saw each other almost a year ago, because she knew my daughter had gotten an ear infection and she had a remedy for me that didn't involve a prescription (and yes, a combination of bronchitis/ear infection/craziness ensued in our family shortly after my last post... hence the break this mom had to take from the blogosphere!) Okay, so if you're wondering about the alternative for ear infection that would be garlic oil, which I went out and bought since I didn't have time for it to sit and cure when making myself, but I'll definitely be doing that when I get close to running out... I hear the garlic actually warms the oil as it's seeping, isn't mother nature awesome!! Oh, that also led us to a conversation about oils, after which I immediately bought my own "Physician's Kit" and I've been one happy momma! I put On Guard on all my children and my husband's feet after church Sunday (YEP, my husband got home Saturday!!! No, I don't know how long he'll be around, I don't hold my breath for such things, but we sure are enjoying him being home!!!). So, *laugh* my post is about distractions and here I am getting distracted. Anyway! The On Guard stuff is an Anti-Viral, i.e. I just wanted to take a prohibitive step in taking out anything they may have picked up at church. I also used Lavender that morning on a really bad burn I got (think cast iron pan, 425 degree oven, and for some reason my hot pad wasn't actually working OUCH), I put the lavender on, it burned maybe a minute longer, and then the pain was completely gone and my finger didn't have any trace of being burned. Yes, that sold me! The oils that I bought were from DoTerra Oils, and then another sweet friend that I bugged for information on Saturday that's used oils and alternative medicine for years told me about YoungLiving Oils. You can think I'm nuts, well that goes without saying most days, but I really don't think that the weird thing is using plant life etc. that has been put here for our use by a loving Heavenly Father. I think everything here has a purpose, and if you find something that works, go with it! I blogged last year about the movie the Beautiful Truth that highlights the Gerson therapy response to cancer and other ailments, I'm a believer! (You can watch the full movie if you follow that link). Modern medicine is a beautiful thing (hence me even being alive after April's close call), but it does have it's limits and I think sometimes a go at a "natural" remedy before taking medications that require medications to cover the adverse side-effects of the first is definitely worth looking in to. My friend had also mentioned a passage by Joseph Smith that stated his worry for the coming of Eastern Medicine to the West wasn't that he was against the developments, but that he didn't want the people to stop turning to God in their time of need for healing. Anyway! All these things work hand in hand I think, so I'm happy to learn something new (and have some AMAZING cures for simple things hanging around... my finger is very grateful!)

So, on to what I was really thinking about when I started this... again, my husband and I have discussed this issue too, but it's nice when other people outside my home come up with similar conclusions.

DISTRACTIONS.... I'm sure if we pooled our thoughts we could come up with about a million of them from t.v. shows, to jobs, to the latest and greatest car/boat/appliance/electronic. In my opinion, so not a definition straight from the dictionary but perhaps close if you actually look it up, a distraction is something that keeps you from doing what you're supposed to be doing. And what are you supposed to be doing? Well, that is a loaded question isn't it? From what I've studied and researched and yes, have felt, is that the whole purpose of life is to make it back to your creator. I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I believe there is a God who watches over us and wants us to return home to Him, and that our main goal is to do so and to take as many others with us as will come. So, if there is something in my life that keeps me from not working on this goal everyday (my 'work' contains furthering my knowledge both spiritual and temporal, caring for my family, serving others, etc.), then it goes on the distraction list. I know, it's rough how black and white that can be! But isn't it true? Is that extra show or pop culture such and such helping you attain your ultimate goal? My husband and I are way different people today then we were when we started this crazy journey together almost 7 years and 5 children ago... we've had to make decisions and continue to do so. What helps us move forward, and what's a distraction leading away from our ultimate goals? And while we're at it, do we really truly believe in that ultimate goal? That it's attainable? And have we prayed for help in creating a reality that works towards that goal... because if you have the one that I mentioned above I can promise you wholeheartedly that there will be trials and tests ahead because there is an adversary who is very real that doesn't like to see you succeed at the goal you hold most dear to your heart.

So, my sweet friend and I were talking... neither one of us are millionaires or anywhere near being such... neither one of us have anything more then functional vehicles to transport people where they need to go... we have homes that aren't going to be put into a popular magazine anytime soon (well, at least not on the most glamourous list! Maybe on the loud and slightly to mostly disheveled list), but we're happy and despite trials and lack of funds, we both want to add to our family's (which is one of those things we don't say to most people :-D). Why? Well, I'll tell yah, walking around with my 4 children in like having a laser beam attached to my forehead that draws people in and says "please, oh please will you comment about my 'sorry state'?" It doesn't matter how many you have, I think starting at about 2... especially if you have a boy and a girl... people start hoping that you're finished reproducing. Why? Well, my husband and I have wondered if some of it may be guilt driven, but that's all speculation. What kills me is that people think that I care :-D. I enjoy my life, we're mostly happy and somewhat put together most days, and we can't imagine life without any one of our children. So, if I find joy in my life why not add to it? I'm not asking anyone's permission, and I really don't think anyone has the right to be mean about it. Some people can't have children, some have 20 or more (yep, gotta throw out a Duggar comment), and some don't want them or don't want more than "x" amount. You know what I say? MORE POWER TO YAH!

It's important to re-read that last sentence. Your personal choices are just that, YOURS. My commentary here about distractions is just a broad "throw it out there" kind of thing, because that's what I do best :-). I NEVER WANTED CHILDREN, so don't think I don't understand the thought process of most people, been there, done that, I don't need to give that point of view credence here, so I won't but I just wanted you to know that I know the other side and don't need to be informed of it, k?

Moving on. I've read and heard this saying a lot lately, so I thought I'd share it... and no, I don't know if anyone has actually coined the phrase. The gist of it is... the bible tells us to avoid debt because it's a curse and that children are a blessing. Nowadays people apply for curses and deny blessings. Clever isn't it? I bring this up because even in "Mormon Culture" where once it was normal to have a large family, people think you've lost your mind if you have more than 2! Some of the questions posed to us are "how will you pay for college?" "how will you pay for braces?" "what about a big family trip every year?" "what about new clothes?" "what about cars for all the kids?" CAN YOU SAY DISTRACTIONS? I honestly don't care what other people have and how they choose to spend their money. I've seen some heavily spoiled children that come from homes where they are provided everything and I think that's sad for the child that they didn't have to learn to work, but hey, that's the parent's choice and SO NOT MY BUSINESS! My husband and I both paid for college ourselves, I didn't have braces till I was married so my husband and I paid for that, we've paid for our own cars, etc. etc. you see a pattern here? I think we've turned out alright :-).

Okay, so drumroll as I try to pull this all together. President David O McKay taught "that the pure love between a man and a woman is one of the noblest things on earth, and the bearing and rearing of children the highest of all human duties." -This came from Quentin L Cook's article "The True Path to Happiness" in the June Ensign. We also read in the book of Moses that God's work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I'm sorry, but I just don't see how that can happen if God's spirit children are not able to come to earth because we're being distracted by other things. I'm not saying that there aren't good reasons to not have more children, I'm not saying that there aren't good times to wait a certain amount of time between them.... but what I am saying is that if you are able to have more but are scared because of other people's commentaries (yes, family counts as 'other people'), or are worried about financing the above nonsense completely for your child, take a breath. What else do we have in life if not our families? Here is a great article on Defending the Family in a Troubled World.

Only you will answer for you in the end. Nathan and I have often talked about what really matters. When he retires from his current position will it mattered the hours that he spent at work or the titles he held, will anyone really care? Is that how he'll introduced himself when he picks up a job nowhere near related to what he's done for the government over his first career? Who cares and who matters? Well, I'm pretty sure our children will know and they'll care about the time they got to be with their dad or the days he took off to go camping. I'm pretty sure that the Disney vacations we don't get to take will be overshadowed by the time we spend together and the relationships we've built. And in the end as our lives are coming to a close our grand picture involves our children and their children and even there children coming together for reunions, holiday's, or just because. I never had that dream before, but it is a driving force in my life since our family starting growing. Yes, I get funny looks, but who cares? I get to have real joy. Even if we only were blessed with 2 children or even none, finding joy in children and spreading the message of happiness and good cheer is something to get excited about! Everyone has their own path in life, we're not all the same and I'm so glad for that!

I feel like our family isn't complete and I don't want that feeling to persist knowing that I had control over the outcome and decided that what popular culture thought was important was more important than my job here on earth. Honestly, even over the last year or so I've had to come to terms with what I thought the right age to stop would be. I never wanted to have a child going on a mission and have a new baby of my own... or have a child getting married or having children of their own and having a baby myself. Why? Well, that would be WEIRD! Right? *laugh* Anyway, who knows if it will actually happen, but I've had to let my own timeline goes. Who says it's weird? Why did I have that preconceived notion? I just wanted to be finished in the next 10 years and have everything work out perfect and then I can move on and we can do "xyz" without worrying about having a little one. Not that that wouldn't be nice :-). But I don't know if that's the right thing and I don't think that I really have any excuse to try and force that will in any direction.

Moral of the story? Pray :-). Find out your family's ultimate goal and work toward it unceasingly and personally take your sword (metaphorically of course), and beat away the distractions that are keeping you from doing what you feel needs to be done.

In the end, only you will be responsible for your decisions. It doesn't work for our children to try and say that they didn't complete a task because so and so was distracting them, and it won't work for you either. However, know that there ARE other people along your path who are placed there to be an encouragement as you act upon the spirit... seek them out and shut out the voices that keep you from your potential!