Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I wanted to say that Friday's park day was the MOST FUN park day ever, and so sweet because of all the less enjoyable ones my family has attended.

Right off the bat I got the long jump rope out and gave everyone who wanted to (including a 12 year old boy!!!) a chance to jump. We called them by name and kept cycling through all the kids as long as they wanted, pretty much. The other moms gathered round and got involved, and we took turns turning the rope. It lasted maybe 15 minutes (though I don't really know) and was very relaxed. Then the kids played really well on their own, though moms felt good about spending time with them too as needed. (check out: Loving the Village )

I LOVED it!! And, of course, I loved the visit with moms after wards. But knowing I had put my/the kids first made the visit even better.

--OK, so maybe it just seems like the best park day because it's the first one I have finally found FREEDOM from guilt. I get so excited to share with my friends that I just keep shoving the kids away. By starting and focusing on the kids for just a bit at the beginning then I do what I know I should do, and really do want to do, first. Then it's easy to do what I'm much more inclined to do.

. . . such a blessing to witness and be a part of a transformation, a transformation first and foremost of MYSELF.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Thanks, Mom!

The wisdom of ages is available to anyone willing to pay its price.*

Growing up, mom was my most wonderful teacher. As a student of education and while learning of the 7 Keys of Great Teaching†, my gratitude for my mother’s personal courage and discipline as my teacher has only increased. Mom never read a book that taught her to use these 7 keys to help me learn, but use them she did. Even though my mother is still living and practicing these principles, allow me to reminisce about the education I received at her hands.

Mother taught me to value the best, God’s word and the best that man had to offer. She respected those who made education a priority from any class of life. “Before they went to bed, Francie and Neeley had to read a page of the Bible and a page from Shakespeare. That was a rule.”‡ My life was immeasurably different than that of Francie and Neeley, but the memories of reading and sharing the lessons of sacred scripture and Shakespeare together with my mother are still truly precious. Mother also passed along the important lessons she had learned in 4-H from her own mother. Learning wasn’t about a merit badge; it was about blue ribbons.

I remember my mother telling me she was a late blooming reader. To me there was nothing late about it. Mother loved to share what she was learning and her efforts to study great books and improve her talents of writing were right on time and unequivocally inspiring for me. I often saw her or Dad studying by lamp light on the couch early in the morning. Sometimes I curled up next to her or Dad and enjoyed the opportunity for quiet sharing.

Mother was always inviting me, inviting me to reach higher. In college I sought advice in my quest to follow her educational example and asked her, “Do I really have to read Jane Eyre in order to be well read? This part is really depressing.” To which she answered, “Yes, you need to read it, if you want to be considered well read.” I finished the book and continued my quest to be well read.

Some things I didn’t see with my eyes or hear with my ears, but understood, nevertheless. She taught me to be my own expert, and to seek unlikely allies in persons from all walks of life. Then she gave me the freedom to fail.

For mom education simply isn’t complicated. It is about seeking truth and then seeking understanding that changes a person inside and, as a result, the world. True principles are her guiding light and she holds them high so all can see. Mom continues to follow her passion for all that is best and diligently sets the example of what it takes to get a great education.

With all my heart,

* P 2 DeMille, Oliver & Rachel. Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning. George Wythe College Press: Cedar City, UT.
† Classics not textbooks; mentors not professors; inspire, not require; structure time not content; quality not conformity; simplicity not complexity; you not them
‡ Smith, Betty. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Perennial Classics: New York, 1998.

Friday, November 28, 2008

"I don't believe in a simple life. I believe in simple motivations, but I believe in a complex life filled with projects that can help other people." —Stephen R. Covey, Six Events

This seems to be in interesting contrast to Thoreau's Walden.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

From Mars

Sometimes I feel like me and my ideas come from Mars. This week, however, I have pondered much of what I have posted on this blog.

I think often of Sam Clemens as we have struggled with financial difficulties.

I thought of my Village as I perused a Lego catalog with Anton and packed a jump rope for Park Day this week.

I thought of "Once Again . . ." as I have faced my passions.

And I rejoice with much gladness and gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the inspirations He gives me as I work to put my thoughts and inspirations into words.

Top 10 Things Most Everyone Has a Story About

10. Vacation nightmares
9. Their wedding day
8. Accidents
7. A bad Christmas day
6. Hair cuts
5. Financial difficulties
4. Children's illnesses
3. Potty training
2. Wisdom teeth pulling
1. Childbirth

I'm grateful for these stories that we all share! They bring us together, drive us crazy and bring wonderful color to our lives.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Loving the Village I'm Helping to Raise

In replying to a recent discussion on the AzLAF Valley yahoo group I came to a new understanding, found something to be grateful for anew and with great vigor. The feeling is still strong in my heart and on my mind, so I have pasted and edited some of my response here:

For me, community building is not just about moms getting to know each other, it's about families getting to know each other. I LOVE knowing that Gracie knows ME and wants to share things with me. So does Hannah and Rachel and Jordan. This type of relationship doesn't come naturally to me, but I still want it. HAPE Group and HAPE Share built the type of community that would help me build that type of relationship. They gave me some time, in a situation that moms and families chose together and felt would be inspiring, to connect with my children's peers, thereby helping my children to connect with their peers. Furthermore, my children learned to LOVE sharing with Miss Keelee, Miss Sharla, etc. (we chose the prefix to teach respect for their elders).

Thinking long range, the time our children spend with other mothers and the time we spend with other children could be critical as well as wonderful. Time with other mothers (and fathers) can build those relationships that will become mentoring ones later and perhaps in-law ones even later.

Leadership Education / Thomas Jefferson Education is a wonderful thing. The blessings just never seem to end. And some of those dear blessings are Gracie, Jordan, & Caleb, Hannah, Matthew, Adam & James, Carli, Jessica, C.J., Rachel, Robert, & Samuel to name only a few. What a wonderful thing to be raising the next generation who will then raise the following generation. Along with Rachel DeMille, I say:


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sons & Neighbors

We got more action in the neighborhood today. Just down the street here on Brown, a young man on a motorcycle did not come out of an encounter with a truck. A sad time to bring neighbors together as we mourned the accident. We did not know the boy, but we knew people in the truck.

Have I told you that I love sharing with my neighbors? About 6 months ago I believe, the home on the SW corner of Gaylord and Glencove (facing east) was sold. Bob and Beth are a great older couple that commute to a home somewhere in the Apache Lake area (give or take a lake :). They are good friends now with the Gehrons just north and between us. Anyway, later after the accident Karlene Gehron said Bob & Beth had wanted to know what we were asking for our home. I guess they have some friends that are looking for a home in their area. Of course I told her. A possibly promising lead during a difficult time in the Beckstrand Family. Update: This family is waiting for the economy to calm down before purchasing. We are trying to be patient with the Lord in the mean time. We still think we have great neighbors.

The day closes with new things to pray about--a family that lost a son and neighbors.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Once Again . . .

Keelee and Rob make me think. (Sometimes Rob is first in that list, but Keelee started it this time.) Keelee called me names yesterday. She called me intense and passionate. Visiting with Rob while delaying our time in bed this morning, he clarified it to be intense and passionate about communication and sharing how I feel.

Everyone, I assume, gets intense and passionate about different things. But clarifying me as intense and passionate about communicating--both listening and verbalizing--helps me see where my talents and possible weak points are. Leadership Education just helps me channel some of that energy, though it also introduces new challenges.

To those of you saying, "DUH!!!!!", I say a humble, "Thank you for being patient with me." Sometimes a new Season and a fresh look at things is always helpful, even if it was always apparent to others outside of my impassioned mind.

To Rob, Keelee and others who have met my intensity with their own I say, "Thank you for being my life lines! You have given my passion needed tempering."

I suppose the best I can do is be watchful of temptation, diligent at developing my talents, and prayerful to be a servant in God's hands. OK, back to work! --If I can. Writing is so rejuvenating for me. Ahhhh get me out of this blog!!!

Tagging: Now That I've Figured It Out :)

Karyn Tagged me first, I think, then Brenda. So here goes:
TV shows I enjoy watching when I have time and would like to chill:

1. Numb3rs (when I can stay awake :)
2. Good Eats
3. Dirty Jobs
4. House Hunters (YES, I know it's staged . . .)
5. AFV

Things that happened yesterday:
1. I ate Little Cesaer's pizza
2. I made a grocery and Costco list
3. I only took one trip to Americopy instead of two.
4. We organized our garage AGAIN, in preparation for listing our home.
5. A good friend called me intense. :)
6. Keelee and I explored the Scottsdale green belt on our bikes.
7. I ate who knows what in the dark at the neighborhood block party. Tasted good, though.

Things I am looking forward to:
1. A bigger home
2. Money to fix up/decorate that home
3. Getting back to the temple now that Merisa is old enough to leave
4. Getting HAPE Together under way
5. Working seriously on food storage
6. An Alaskan cruise
7. Nathan starting cub scouts

Things I love about Fall:
1. Cooler temperatures
2. Outings and pic nics (but fixing them)
3. The kids playing outside
4. The new school year, getting back to a schedule
5. No AC/windows open

People I am tagging:
1. Toni Miranda & family
2. Andee
3. Keelee
4. Ema
5. Anne

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Thoughts on Sam Clemens: A Quick Study

He played hard, fought for every under dog, never stopped dreaming of buried treasure, learned to pilot a steamship from Saint Louis to New Orleans, discovered war is stupid and politicians often more so. Kathryn Lasky‡

Sam Clemens amazes me. At age 4 he showed “no signs of curbing his imagination or losing his fascination with danger.” This led him “to become a truth stretcher, a manipulator of facts, and on occasion an outright liar.” This description is overwhelmingly the opposite of my general nature since, my whole being craves pure truth and clear facts. Fictional stories have never been any sort of remote talent of mine. However, these inclinations are so strong that I suspect self deception, something that on some level is always evident in humanity. Moreover, I’ll admit that occasionally out of shear insanity I’ve been consciously working on the skill of stretching truth and twisting facts with my kids now for almost 11 years. :) But what made Sam Clemens so good at them as a fictional writer?

Necessity is the mother of ‘taking chances.’ Sam Clemens

My own personal dichotomy of loving and twisting truth leads me to ask, “How does one decide what type of chances to take?” Talents and inclinations must play a role. On the other hand, talents must be developed and inclinations brought in line with God in order to produce good fruit. Another interesting dichotomy: one must regularly develop talents and school inclinations so that when a need arises, one can gamble with confidence. . . . ?

Whether or not Sam Clemens nurtured his talents in a way eternally beneficial to himself and others could probably be debated, but no one can doubt that Sam Clemens took some fantastic chances and had a colorful influence as a writer on the world we live in.

So I say, “After all we can do and nothing is left but necessity, why NOT take a chance? Take a chance on following Jesus Christ. Take a chance on the divinity God put within us. Take a chance on Faith in a loving Heavenly Father.”

† An on going study of people using juvenile biography books as I strive to inspire a love of learning in my children.
‡ All references from A Brilliant Streak: The Making of Mark Twain by Kathryn Lasky Harcourt Brace & Company, 1998.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not Enough

OK, I'm liking the blog thing and one for the family was not enough to meet my needs. I don't intend this to be my journal, but it is about my Journey through the Seasons of life.