Your Mission: Motherhood

image from mormonwoman.org
I just stumbled upon the most fabulous article I've read on motherhood in a very long time!  And I wasn't even close to looking for a motherhood article...it was just there, waiting and ready for me to read it!

There are times, as mothers, that we all forget why we are doing the things we're doing, why we are sacrificing so much, and if this is all there really is to love.  Well, just to entice you to read more, here are some gems...

"[The] ability and willingness properly to rear children, the gift to love, and eagerness, yes, longing to express it in soul development, make motherhood the noblest office or calling in the world.  She who can paint a masterpiece or write a book that will influence millions deserves the admiration and plaudits of mankind;  but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose influence is felt through generations to come, whose immortal souls will exert an influence throughout the ages long after paintings shall have faded, and books and statues shall have decayed or shall have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God.  In her high duty and service to humanity, endowing with immortality eternal spirits, she is copartner with the Creator himself."   - - President David O. McKay  - - 

image from lds.org
"Count as the cost...a mother who, in a moment of confusion, has forgotten that you learn to do by doing, you learn to be by being, that motherhood is an art to be developed through practice.  This art isn't easy to learn, but learn you can because as you strive, the Lord will bless you with growth, patience, wider understanding, and loving warmth for your family's special needs."

"...children are not a gift to us, but a precious loan, a priceless loan to be returned - - returned more valuable than when we received them, understanding more, better prepared to return to him who lent them to us.  The charge is our to increase their worth." 

Can you doubt your call any longer to be a "joyful mother of children" (Psalms 113:9)?


Book of the Week: A Joyful Mother of Children

I don't think I have featured this book.

The reason:  I read it so long ago.

And yet, this is the ONE book I would recommend to any young mother.  This book was given to me from my best friend just after having my third child (the oldest not yet three years old!) and it changed me.  That's the sign of a great book, don't you think?

I considered Linda Eyre my "virtual motherhood mentor" years ago.  I've since found mothers in my own circle to mentor me along, but at the time when I needed it, this book was a godsend.  It gave me purpose, direction and a vision for who I wanted to be as a mother. 

P.S. After reading this one, you also need to read her other book, I Didn't Plan to be a Witch!!


Temporal Preparedness: Why We Believe in Food Storage

image from deseret news
 I have to admit.  I have collected food storage simply because, well, the prophet told me to.  I do believe that it does feel good to be prepared.  "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear," right?

But deep down I've had lingering doubts and questions as to whether it really is going to "save us" in the end.  Thoughts such as:

"How would we move it if we needed to anyway?"

"People are just going to rob and plunder the Mormon's aren't they?"  (think Hotel Rwanda)

"Would the food really survive if there were a flood, tornado, tsunami?  Famine, maybe, but other natural disasters?"

"All that really matters in the end is where my heart is, turned to God or not, so why is food storage so important?"  

And yet in my studies this week things have changed for me.  I can now say that I see more clearly how temporal preparedness does lead to less fear and assists with our spiritual preparedness.

Bruce R. McConkie has said, "A religion that cannot save a man temporally does not have power to save him spiritually.  If we cannot care for our temporal needs in this world, how can we ever succeed in spiritual things in the world to come?"

"Our temporal preparation consists in using the good earth in the way the Lord designed and intended so as to supply all our just wants and needs."

So how do we prepare temporally?

We find some answers in 3 Nephi 1-7:

1. Food Storage.  The Gadianton Robbers did not have food to sustain their fighting while the Saints had had plenty of supply for their people (3 Ne. 4:3-5, 19; 6:2)

2. Covenants.  We are a covenant people.  We believe in making covenants here on earth that will bind us to God for the eternities.  Making covenants here on earth provides for both the spiritual and the temporal preparedness (3 Ne. 5:25) because it helps us to remember and to not forget the coming of our Lord.

3. Order.  Order of laws and government and order in our homes is essential for temporal preparedness.  "All things must be done in wisdom and in order (Mosiah 4:27; see also 3 Ne. 6:4-5).

4. Physical Gathering. Lachoneus was a righteous man who could not be frightened (3 Ne. 3:12) and so he gathered his people together in the center of the land (3:22-24).  How are we gathered today?  In stakes, wards, and homes (see Doctrine & Covenants 125:4; 101:21-23).

"We do not know when the calamities and troubles of the last days will fall upon any of us as individuals or upon bodies of the Saints. The Lord deliberately withholds from us the day and hour of his coming and of the tribulations which shall precede it—all as part of the testing and probationary experiences of mortality. He simply tells us to watch and be ready."
 - - Elder Bruce R. McConkie - -


All About Worms!

Yesterday we dissected worms.  Ew!!

Sadly, I totally forgot to take pictures!  I'm so bummed about that.

But... we learned a lot more about worms than I thought we would and they are much more interesting on the inside than I would have expected!  Here are some ideas if you want to teach a worm unit with your kiddos...

Books to look for:

image from betterworldbooks.com

image from betterworldbooks.com

image from thelessoncloud.com

 - Read and Watch How to Eat Fried Worms

 - Go dig up some worms in your garden.  With a magnifying glass you can see the dirt moving through them. It's way cool!

 - Order a dissection kit from Home Training Tools and disect your own worms!

 - For a yummy treat, serve up Dirt in a Cup! 


Joyful Mondays: Love Notes

Every 4th Friday of September is Love Note Day!

Take a moment to write a love note to your spouse, your children, or other loved ones this week!

Slip it in their lunch.  Hide it in their drawer.  Tuck it in the book they're reading.  Write it on the bathroom mirror with eyeliner (learned that one from my own parents). 

Take the time to simply say,  "I Love You!"

"Wrote William Shakespeare, 'They do not love that do not show their love.' We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.  Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say 'I love you' more; always express your thanks....Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family. One day each of us will run out of tomorrows." - - President Thomas S. Monson


Food For Thought

Small minds discuss people.
Average minds discuss events.
Great minds discuss ideas.
 - - Eleanor Roosevelt - -

This quote hangs near our kitchen table to help me remember what type of conversations I'd like to have while we eat dinner.

As an assignment, I've been trying to make dinnertime more enjoyable and inviting.  Each night I've had a topic or a theme.  This is much harder than I thought it would be! 

Monday we played a drawing game.  We folded a piece of paper in half (hamburger style) and drew half of a picture along the fold.  Then we turned the picture over and passed it a certain direction.  The person receiving the paper would then draw a different half.  After all were done we would open up the pictures and share the silly drawings!

Tuesday night we all shared ideas on what it means to be defensive (my husband's latest goal for our family).  Each person who could share a time when they could have gotten defensive but chose a different approach were given a candy bar.  This one didn't bode so well...but it was a great idea (and we'll try again another time...when we're not so defensive.)  :-)

Wednesday was a favorite.  I bought a book at BYU entitled, "300 Questions to ask your Parents Before it's too Late."  We passed the book around and just asked questions.  There were some that led to great "idea discussions" and others that were simply information about Mom.  I want to find a different book like this;  one that would be more applicable to our season in life. 

Thursday  was A's birthday.  That was an easy topic!

Tonight we're all in different places during dinner time so it will be a "fend for yourself night." 

Saturday's topic is to play a dice game or to play the game Outburst.

Sunday we'll ask questions from Celestial Pursuit.

Next Monday - they have each been assigned to read an article in a science magazine and then share what they've learned.

As I said, this has been quite the challenge.  And yet it really does make mealtime more than just teaching manners, catching up on the day, talking about the events of the day or other not so pleasant topics!  Making mealtime fun seems to make the family want to be there.  As my kids get older I am seeing how vital this time together truly can be.

More Ideas:
- Poetry night - have the kids recite a poem during dinner
- Tell all you know about ________ in one minute.
- Books at Breakfast (from Sister Beck)
- Use chopsticks or other "strange" untensils for eating

For younger kids you could:
 - Listen to a musical selection (classical preferably) and have the family create a story to go along with the mood of the music
 - Play Pictionary - use a whiteboard or if you have a window/sliding door use window crayons
 - Have a picnic...in your living room or on the master bed!
 - Play "restaurant" and have them order their meals (with cleverly designed menu, of course)

"True power is found in the hands of a worthy nurturer, especially at mealtimes."
 - - Julie B. Beck - -


Book of the Week: A Short and Tall Tale

One of my favorite children's books. 
Just a perfect for your little cowboys. 


You Know it's Going to be a Bad Day When . . .

 . . . you need chocolate first thing in the morning! 

Yes, it's been one of those days.  Up late...thus woke up late.  This makes me a tad bit grumpy.

And apparently that grumpiness rubs off on one child in particular around here.  Making me grumpier still.  :-(

I have to say, I've pulled out of it rather quickly than my usual self and I think I'm doing really well at refraining from opening my mouth too much.  That's really the key for me, I think.   Well, that and chocolate.  :-)

What do you do as a mom when you've got the grumpies yourself?


Mentoring Mothers: Discovering Your Strengths

image from healthylikelauren.com

Last week we had our first Mentoring Mothers Meeting of the year. Oh, how I miss these meetings over the summer. It was so good to reconnect and startt hinking together again how we can become better mothers, better mentors, and srtonger as women in general.

This year we are dissecting the book, “Achieving Your Life's Mission” by Randal Wright. Fabulous book!

Is there something you are passionate about and never tire of? What is it? Because, it could be a part of your life mission.

Now, I've had a love/hate relationship with the idea of having a mission in life...unitl I read this book. I think the idea of recognizing you have a life mission could bring on feelings of guilt that you might not be fulfilling that mission (whether you know what it is or not). Knowing there is a life mission can also take you away from what is most important at the time (i.e. motherhood...which is a mission in and of itself) as you seek out your mission in an unhealthy balance of interest and focus.

Really, though, prophets and apostles have taught this principle for years, that we each have a purpose to fulfill in this life. An individualized purpose. Even in the most recent General Conference, Elder Soares stated, “Christ banished from His life any influence that would take His focus from His divine mission.” We, too, need to take the time to discover what our mission(s) just might be!

How do we do this?
First we really need to identify our strengths.

Of course, as Latter-Day Saints, one of the first places we look will be in our Patriarchal Blessings. There is much open and hidden tidbits of information that will help us understand where the Lord needs us to be. What He needs us to do and the tools we've been blessed with are clarified in these special blessings.

For our Mentoring Mothers group we took sticky notes and wrote the strengths we saw in one another. One friend expressed that's much easier to do than writing your own list. As mothers we need to be able to recognize our strengths so that we can then help our children gain that confidence we so desire for them to have in their own.

Make a list. It's harder than you think. What are your gifts? What are your talents? (yes, gifts and talents are two different things)

What are your desires?

President James E. Faust has said, “Where your talents and the needs of the world intersect, there lies your vocation.”

Good luck!! :-)

Joyful Monday: Birthdays

I posted this yesterday, but somehow it didn't show up ...

There are so many amazing holidays to celebrate this week!  For one, Wednesdays is Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Saturday is FULL of them:  Hobbit Day, Elephant Appreciation Day and Dear Diary Day (just to name a few) all happen on Sept. 15th!

But, this week at our house it's all about

I love birthdays.  It's the one day my kids get to do whatever they want, no chores and choose their meals for the day.  It's the one day in life when you feel more special than any other day!  It's the day you were born, for goodness sake.  It's a big deal around here.

Well, Thursday will be my daughter A's 10th birthday. 
I think age ten is a bit tricky.  It's the time when childhood starts to fade away as you enter a new phase of growing up.  It's the pre-teen beginnings!  It's an age where you want your foot in both doors and aren't quite sure which way to behave on any given day. 

And so we celebrate age 10 a little bit extravagantly at our house. 
JW at Disneyland
Yes, when my kids turn ten they get to go to Disneyland!  :-)  And I happen to be the lucky one to take them. 

So, the year my oldest was turning ten we were "in between babies" and I told my husband we just had to go to Disneyland before a new little one arrived.  He protested.  Unlike me who can go to Disneyland every year of her life and be happy, my husband dreads the idea of taking our family to Disneyland.  So after my incessant persistance, he finally said, "Why don't you just take JW for his birthday?"
B at Disneyland

A tradition was spawned.

It seems extravagant, I know, but for us it is pretty economical.  We use my husband's frequent flyer miles, sometimes have free hotel too from his work travels, and only go for one day (as opposed to spending a couple there to be sure all the kids get on all the rides).  It is now one of my favorite memories to speed through Disneyland running from one ride to another with only one of my children.  :-)  I love it!

So, this year it's A's turn and we both are giddy with anticipation.  We won't go until December, when the park is relatively less crowded, so we have some waiting to do.  But still!  The excitement is in the air.  :-)

Happy Birthday, A!

Our Soon to Be Disney Attender



I just have to share this blog post from Stand and Deliver.

Another reason I'm glad I homeschool.  But seriously!?!? 

You have to read it.  It will give you something intriguing to discuss this weekend!



I'm Published!

I wrote up this article for the Washington Homeschool Organization newsletter....Enjoy!

Every year it seems the same cycle occurs. You look at the fall schedule and think, "The kids don’t seem to be doing that much, it shouldn’t be too bad." Then the ball starts rolling and rolling and rolling and BAM! A huge wall is hit as everyone realizes there is just no stopping.
The holidays pass and the deadness of winter settles upon you. After a hectic few months the quiet feels fabulous and you commit to never repeat another season like that again! You enjoy a couple of months when Spring activities start to take over and once again you’re rushing through, trying to tie up all loose ends that need to be finished before the end- of- year deadlines. Ahh…the breathing room of summer. And then comes Fall again, oh so quickly and you find your time being whisked away once again. Then comes the questions…Why do I homeschool anyway? This is supposed to be fun. How do we stop this snowball that seems to wax and wane faster than the moon? Is there a way to stay centered all year ‘round? As I travelled through "the cycle" this past year, I seemed to hit the wall much harder than usual. Having a sixth child thrown in the mix was the catalyst for me in recognizing that enough was enough! Something needed to change or I would no longer be a homeschooling mom.

The answer that came: Simplify. But not in the usual sense of the word.

Read more....


Key Words

There are so many parenting books out there, don't you think?  And there is so much counsel to remember from the leaders of the Church it can be almost overwhelming.  Along with all of this I have my own thoughts, inspirations, philosophies about life to coincide with these teachings and the skills I read about.  So, how am I to remember it all!? 

Recently I had a little epiphany.  Why not come up with key words to remember my purpose and mission for each of my roles in life?

image from en.wikipedia.org

So I found 2 key words for each role:

Mother:  Agency and Accountability

Wife: Affection and Acceptance

Educator:  Inspire and Encourage

Homemaker: Order and Peace

Sibling/Daughter:  Connectedness and Love

Disciple of Christ:  Relationships and Unity

With these key words in mind I am hoping to be quickly reminded how to act in any given situation.

For example, if my child is acting unruly I can think, "How am I going to allow this child their agency while still teaching them accountability for his actions?" 

Or, if I am finding myself nagging my husband more often than I'd like, I can remember the goal I have as a wife to be affectionate and give him a hug rather than another criticism.

Or, if I haven't talked to my siblings or parents in awhile (as we live distances apart) I can think, "What will help us become unified, what does this person need to feel connected?"  And then act accordingly.

We can read all about great skills in parenting, but without understanding principles we will not be successful in acquiring those skills.  Simple reminders are always helpful in keeping us focused on the principle purpose of our missions and goals.  Elder Soares has said, "The Savior banished from His life anything that distracted Him from His mission."  We can do likewise by setting up reminders for ourselves, keeping our focus on the purposes for which we were placed here.  


Book of the Week

Great book for the beginning of the school year:

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong

image from bookcloseouts.com
 I think I've featured this book before...but it really is that good! 

I just started reading it aloud to my children this week and forgot just how good it was. 

Have you ever thought of the power of wondering about something.  We can ask questions or want to learn more about things, but the act of wondering has such a different meaning, don't you think?  Just the word wonder sounds more delighful than think about or question. 

Well, in this book the 6 kids in the school of Shora begin to wonder why storks do not nest on their little village when the birds make their homes on all the other villages surrounding them.  This wondering leads to discovering truths about many fascinating topics aside from storks and their habits.  This is a fascinating read about learning and all the excitment that can come from simply wondering


Joyful Mondays: International Dot Day

September 15th is International Dot Day! 
Just the title of that day inspires all sorts of ideas in my brain!  :-)

Literature:  Discover the mystery genre with the Dot and Jabber series by Ellen Stoll Walsh.

Math:  Dot-to-Dots.  Who doesn't love a good dot-to-dot puzzle? Find many puzzles here.  

You can also use dot candy for sorting, estimation, comparison, and simple math problems.  Or use the little dots to create dot-to-dot pictures of your own!  That would be way fun.  :-)

And one of my favorite math classics:  The Dot and the Line:  A Romance in Lower Mathematics by Norton Juster

Science: The Science of Music:  Dot Mixer.  This is a fun game your kids can play.   Be sure to click on the "What is happening?" link so you can read the scientific explanation behind the sounds you're hearing.  Be careful, this could get addicting!

Grammar:  The power of a period.  Learn what a period is and how it changes the meaning of the words we speak!  Write a bunch of words on pieces of cardstock.  These could be sight words, spelling words, words with a theme  (i.e. words used in fairytales, etc.)  Then, use DOTS candy as the period as you create large print sentences on your living room floor or kitchen table. 

Social Studies:  Max Lucado's You Are Special would be a perfect read for today.  It will open up a great discussion with your child about their strengths and weaknesses and those of others around them as well. 

Art:  Read The Dot.  Give your children a paintbrush and let them create!
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