Tuesday, April 20, 2010

From Jellybeans to Chastity...

One of my favorite friends and I were recently talking about children and discipline. As we were talking I mentioned that it is important that our children learn to listen to the Lord's spirit, their parents and wise leaders at a young age - when we are teaching them about jellybeans and consequences of sharing; rather than later when we are teaching about virginity and the consequences of sharing. I would much rather my children learn to listen before their jellybean lessons turn into chastity lessons.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Birthday to our Rosita Fresita!

We celebrated a wonderful birthday this past weekend! Our littlest girl turned eight years old! We had a wonderful time and I had so much FUN getting the party ready for her! Really, I had a blast - I made a dessert table, cup cake toppers, invitations, thank you notes and really enjoyed working with our little one to make her birthday memorable and fun! All of the girls had a great time and afterwards our little one expressed her gratitude for a wonderful memory that we created together!

Here are some of the things we whipped up:

Some 'strawberry - licious invitations to entice her guests!

The 'berry sweet cupcakes and cupcake toppers

Scrumptiously Close Up!

A Strawberry Sweet dessert table for munchies.

Lastly, a thank you gift for each of her friends to take home with them!

We had a great time - I even pulled out my grandmother's sewing machine and made the 16" doilies! Honestly, there are very few times in life we get to celebrate how great it is to be eight - so might as well do it with some strawberry-sweet flair!
Hope you can use these ideas to make your next celebration great!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An Open Letter to America

Dearest America;

I am a young mother, married, raising wonderful children in a one income family. I am, as are many of you, concerned. The simple fact that I have been impressed to write this letter concerns me; I have pondered writing it since I came home – back to our beloved United States of America.

Just under a year ago upon returning home I sat as an official looked over my family’s documentation to return home to the United States of America. I looked at our national flag and tears came to my eyes as a sense of gratitude and pride grew within me. I cried from a deep sense of all that is good in America, truly a land that I love and one that I had previously taken for granted. My emotions overwhelmed me because of all that I had learned during the time I had spent outside of the borders of the United States of America. My time away taught me just how precious, rare and fragile the liberties we enjoy here are.

Over the nearly two years previous to that moment I had lived in a beautiful, vibrant country that welcomed our young family. Yet, although this country was full of wonderful people, beautiful places and a rich culture it was struggling and in the eyes of the world it was failing. I saw families bind together because that was all they had. I saw extreme hardships. Yet, I saw people filled with a gratitude for what they did have. I saw joy and charity amid what the world termed as chaos. I saw life. I saw how tender the heart of all humans are as I met wonderful people from around the world. I visited with many American volunteers while living abroad. I lived outside of my home – but I came to clearly appreciate the strength, beauty and charity of America.

Then, I returned home. I was not here for the political debates. I had not been a daily witness to the bickering, slandering and gossip that we have come to call the presidential race. I did not hear much of the scandals that unfortunately played out. I was not in the United States of America for the swearing in of our current president. What I did know was from CNN acting as my witness to these events. My personal witness was edited by the media. I celebrated that the voice of the American people had spoken and assumed that all must be as the majority of Americans had hoped. I cheered from afar with the millions of people that watched a historic inauguration. Then, I returned home.

Now, over the last ten months I have become more and more concerned with the state of America. In a mere ten months my tears of gratitude and pride have given way to frustration, resignation and fear. I am writing this letter because I no longer know how the average citizen is to be heard. I am writing because I don’t know how else to address those who could make a difference. I do not believe I am alone. I am writing this for all those who may not feel that they have been or will be heard unless someone begins to speak out. I know that I am only one voice – but I also know that I am one voice in a nation that is to be governed by the voice of the people. I am part of that “voice” – so many of us who feel that we are not and cannot be heard make up the majority of that “voice”. Our concern is that if our leaders cannot hear us or are choosing not to listen – then how will the United States of America be governed by the “voice of the people”?

The majority of the voices that collectively make up the “voice of the people” are charitable, loving, decent people who care equally about people of all races, religions and walks but we care far more about our freedom, liberty and families than what political party you belong to. Most of us simply want the America of our hearts and our history books to once again rise up. At this point, America will need the help of each citizen’s hand to rise. She will need our hands, our words, our works and our hearts. I fear that if we choose not to be heard as “the people” than we will be witness to America’s slow demise.

The current debates and actions taken by the government may have been well intended but they have been wrong. They are continuing in a course of action that seemingly continues to drive our nation deeper into financial, social and spiritual debt. Even going so far as to continue forwarding legislation without the consent of the very voters who elected them to public office – the voters they supposedly represent. How can we claim as a nation to be governed by the people when our leaders are carelessly making decisions against the collective voice of the people?

I am one young mother who has faith that the America I hope for can rise from the misguided body that this nation has become. I hope to lend my hand and heart in this cause. I hope my one voice will be heard. I hope my one voice will make a small difference. I hope I can do my part to prepare this great nation for greater things to come.

Sincerely and Gratefully,
A. Ballard, an American