Friday, August 19, 2011

When you thought I wasn't looking...

Okay, I've gone and done it again...I read one of "those emails" know the ones, the sappy stories that you know can't be true.  But this one was different...different because it is true!  I'm sure someone took a look at my childhood and saw all the incredible things my Mom and Dad did not knowing us kids were looking.  I'm hoping that when my kids are grown they will have been crazy blessed by the way I've lived my life...not just the things I've "taught" them in school.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you hang my
first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately
wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you feed a
stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind
to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make my
favorite cake for me, and I learned that the little
things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn't looking I heard you say a
prayer, and I knew that there is a God I could always
talk to, and I learned to trust in Him.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make a
meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I
learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you take care
of our house and everyone in it, and I learned we have
to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw how you
handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't
feel good, and I learned that I would have to be
responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw tears come
from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things
hurt, but it's all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw that you
cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking I learned most of
life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and
productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking I looked at you and
wanted to say,'Thanks for all the things I saw when
you thought I wasn't looking.'
So as you go about your day today, what messages are you sending that you don't even realize your sending?  Next time you snap, yell, act in anger...take a few moments to make amends.  Get down on their level and apologize.  We expect them to apologize to us when they act up so we should treat them with that same respect.  The things we do when we think are kids aren't watching is the integrity our kids will grow to have...let's all work to 'crazy bless' our kids today and every day!

Special thanks to Melinda S. for making my inbox blessed with this message!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Perfect...just perfect!

Just for today treat every person with the inherent worth, dignity, equity and compassion in the manner you would like to be treated. Accept one another. Give encouragement. Be at peace. Have respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

These were the first words I read today thanks to my friend Ronda.  I wish I could wave my magic wand or wiggle my magic nose and get everyone in the world to heed this advice-however my magic seems to have run out today.  Lord, I'm tired...just plain tired.  Not the kind of tired that can be solved by a good night of sleep but the kind of tired that goes all the way to the bone.  You know the tired, the one that makes you feel like you just want to give it all up.  My tired pales in comparison to the tired others feel...I am oh so crazy blessed to have good friends who are willing to reach out and give the compassion and encouragement to help me recharge.  Not everyone is that lucky!
  • When someone reaches out and asks for help--take their hand and help them.  Your help could make the difference.
  • When someone someone says they just can't do it any more-don't get angry and shun them.  Ask them what is wrong or what you can do to lighten their load.
  • When someone tells you about a decision that was very difficult for them-believe them don't judge them.  Give them support and be nurturing.  There may be things going on you have no idea about and they're not ready to put it in words. 
  • When someone tells you everything is okay but you can see in their eyes they're trying to hold it together don't shrug your shoulders and walk away.  Give them a hug, tell them you're there when they need something. 
When Anna was younger there was a family we knew.  We'll call them the 'Perfect' family.  You see the Perfect family had two perfect children who were perfectly dressed, had perfect hair, perfect clothes, danced better than the other girls, drove the perfect car, lived in the perfect neighborhood.  You get the picture, right?  I had such a hard time not being jealous of Mrs. Perfect and all she had.  (Okay, I was a little jealous...)  Now fast forward ten years because Mrs. Perfect dropped off the radar and I didn't see Mrs. Perfect and her perfect children for ten whole years.  Oh my the years were not kind.  It turned out one of the perfect children had a perfectly horrible disease I had no idea about.  It seems Mrs. Perfect is no longer able to work because she has to care for the perfect child and the perfect car is falling apart.  When I ran into her a few weeks ago, I felt perfectly awful...awful for not taking the time to get to know her better--for not looking for her when she dropped out of things--for not offering to lend a hand or at least a compassionate ear.  I know I couldn't have made a difference for the perfectly awful disease can't even be cured by the doctors but I could have been a better friend--I could have at least prayed for the unknown that caused her to vanish.

So as you go about your perfect day, think about all the people you encounter whether it's on facebook, the grocery store, the gym, cheer practice, work or driving down the road--they all have a life you know nothing about and today may just be the day they really need you to remember...

Just for today treat every person with the inherent worth, dignity, equity and compassion in the manner you would like to be treated. Accept one another. Give encouragement. Be at peace. Have respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

I'm so glad that I'm always crazy blessed, a child of God and that I do have friends I can lean on who will whisper a prayer and tell me they love me even when I don't have the words to share my needs.  I pray that God continues to shower you with crazy blessings...because I know He sure floods my life with them!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells...

Four months and fifteen days to go!!!  Have you started thinking about the right gift for that person who is impossible to shop for?  You know...your Dad, your grandparents...they've got everything, right?  But we all know they love seeing the faces of those they love!  In 1995, I started something that has become somewhat of a tradition in our family-a photo calendar!  Through the years, these have become keepers of some cherished family memories!  Visit these links to see the 2011 and 2010 Cassel Calendars!

I contact my brother and sister, requesting that they send me digital files of pictures they and their children want to appear on the calendar.  Things like birthdays, vacations, school get the idea!  I prefer to use photos that are just family members--the closer up the photo, the better!

Through the years, I have compiled a list of birthdays and anniversaries for...everyone!  My immediate family-mom, dad, kids, siblings, nieces and nephews then spread out further so our calendar now contains special dates for Mom's side and Dad's side!  I put our immediate family in BOLD print on their special days and my Mom's side small with an (H) and Dad's side small with a (C). 

Why am I sharing this in August?  Well, I would like to create a calendar this year for your family!!!  I will have a "base" calendar with background paper, calendar grid with common holidays (Christian, Jewish or both) ready next week.  All you have to do is gather pictures you would like to appear--please contact me for specific information about your pictures--create a list of birthdays and anniversaries, send them to me and I will create a beautiful, personal calendar for your family--complete with a custom cover as seen at the bottom of this post. (Each year, the cover of our calendar is different-the one from 2010 was a silhouette of my dad and the 2011 was a castle with a definition along with a personal note from me.)

Calendar with custom special dates-$50.00
     additional copies with SAME dates-$20.00
     additional copies with DIFFERENT dates-$30.00
All information must be to me no later than November 15th to insure calendar is delivered to you by December 20th.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mama's treasures...

Mama always used to tell me, "You have to stand for something or you'll fall for anything."  Now read that one more time...what do you stand for...more importantly, what do you fall for because you failed to take a stand?

These days, (like for the last 16 years) I'm a Mom, a stay-at-home Mom, a Homeschool Mom.  That means my husband and I have taken full responsibility, yes 100% responsibility for the education our children and for preparing them for the big, scarey world out there.  I've got the document to prove it, each year the state of Arkansas makes me sign a disclaimer saying that we assume ALL responsibility for our children.  So with the English, Math, History, Science and extra-curricular activities what is the most important subject I teach?  I call it the "spine" of education; standing for something but what is something and how do you teach an abstract concept?

I strive to define 'something' but it changes depending on the person and their age.  Let's start with Jessica, sweet Jessica only six adorable years old and my #3 Angel Girl.  So innocent, so caring and giving--I truly believe we could all learn what 'something' is from her.  You see, Jessica does her book studies but has plenty of time for the important things like taking naps, loving her stuffed animals-Miss Kitty and Cocoa even though their fur has began to rub away, eating the food she loves while humming (yes, when Jess really enjoys a food she hums without even realizing it), running and playing outside until she is on the verge of collapse.  So far there's not a lot I can teach her about standing for the elusive something, she does a fine job.  When did we quit embracing ourselves, allowing 'something' to rule instead of the ideals of others?

Let's move on to someone a little more worldly...Melissa, Angel Girl #2 who at nine is wise and sage, so she thinks!  Oh precious angel, the things your little soul thinks are wisdom are influences...sometimes not the right ones.  I work hard to encourage you to think for yourself, make your own decisions about clothing, toys, hair and how you treat people.  Somedays, I still see that sweet, innocent child just waiting to be filled, truly being reliant on something...others the worldly, willful, unsure girl longing to fly on her own struggling as she falls for someone elses something.  For you dear one, I pray that the something we strive for, the confidence, the morals, the way you treat others to be strong and prevail.  Stay sweet, and always remember the words you use, the mannerisims you display can make or break someones day.  Be the something that makes others want to be more like you.

Angel Girl Anna
Those of you who know her can see she is 100% Anna and true to herself every moment of life.  She is strong, confident, well spoken and willing to go that extra mile for those in need.  She has that something and as a Mom, I'm not sure how she got it.  Since she was small, I have sprinkled not with water but with little morsels of wisdom.  Little things that seem so simple and not important when viewed alone but add up to something significant when you stack them all together.  Funny thing is, it is difficult to pinpoint which of those sprinklings could have made the difference in her having something to stand for; I think each and everyone was vital in her becoming the confident Anna who stands for something.  I love the young woman she has become; when I pick her up from class, a 4-H meeting or simply hanging out with friends, she extends her hand anticipating that I will place mine in hers then begins the babble...sharing with me the important things that have happened.  I treasure her in turn sprinkling me :)  I hope one day when I am old, she will visit and continue to hold my hand as she shares her life with me.

So in essence I guess it's the sprinkles that = something!  In the world, God holds the watering can--through Jesus' life, Bible stories and prayer/meditation, He sprinkles us with the bits and pieces that allow us to have something worth standing for.  I hope and pray that as I sprinkle Melissa and Jessica they will develop that something as they grow.  What are you sprinkling on your kids?  Are they growing strong 'spines' to stand for the something you believe in?

I have some friends that are adults and still sway from this persons ideals to that person...but never fear!!!  Even if you're grown it isn't too late!!  Do you find yourself easily swayed, angry at yourself when you realize once again you have hurt somone or done something you wish you hadn't?  Are you striving to find yourself and the something you stand for?  Take some time right now to make a list of things you believe in, things you want for yourself or your family.   Google is full of wonderful quotation links so find some that go with your beliefs then print them out!  Put them on your mirror, your fridge, your rear view mirror and your computer monitor.  Sprinkle yourself!!!  Soon you will begin to see you are able to stand for the something that means the most to you!!

Every day we are given is a gift, how we choose to use it is our gift to others.  Will we be swayed to others desires or will we grow from the sprinkles and embrace every Crazy Blessed moment and stand for something?  I know what I'll about you?