8.30.2012

Let's Juggle!

I've always wanted to learn how to juggle....until the juggling instructor in the community heard it was a dream of mine and literally stalked me!  Now I just have juggling balls waiting to be used...someday.

Well, at Education Week I had the opporunity of listening to Brad Wilcox and his presentation about Juggling our Many Responsibilities  (doesn't the title already sound like something you need?).

This was what I learned (in a very paraphrased nutshell).

childrensbooksguide.com
Wilcox used this book in his presentation.  So good!

Whenever we start to feel overwhelmed with our many responsibilities, the first thing we think about is:  SIMPLIFY.  Cut things out.  Get rid of stuff and activities. Right?  Well, even if you simplify down to the bare minimum, you still may feel a bit pulled on every side.  Maybe then it's time to cut out church, or the six kids you've chosen to have.  That just doesn't make any sense!

So the next thing you try to do is PRIORITIZE.  Okay, well, the Church has already basically given us the order:  Family, Church, Work.  And still most of the time we feel guilty that we're putting too much time in backwards order. 

Finally, you try to BALANCE all of your many responsibilities.  If you just put everything all in compartmentalized places in your life, you'll be good!  Well, suddenly when a child gets sick, or a new responsibility pops up in church, or there's a sudden deadline at work you are immediately unbalanced again.  So that doesn't seem to work either.

With all of these trial and error methods of fulfilling our responsibilities without going crazy we find ourselves feeling guilty or stressed much of the time.  We begin to ask ourselves, "What's the point anyway?" 


longleanmama.com


Brother Wilcox's advice was that we start looking at it like JUGGLING.  When you juggle you may have a red ball (child 1), a green ball (child 2), an orange ball (husband), a yellow ball (work), a blue ball (housework), etc...  And while you're juggling them all, one or two may drop while you take care of those other balls that may be more important at the time.  The balls are still there, on the ground, waiting to be picked up when necessary, but there really isn't a way to juggle all of the balls all of the time.  Nor does the Lord want us to "fun faster than is needful." 
The story is told of Christ on his way to heal the daughter of Jairus.  The crowds were thronged about him and he felt pulled in many directions.  During his journey to that purpose, His hem was touched by a woman with the issue of blood.  In his rush to the home of Jairus, He took the time to pause and say to the woman, "Thy faith hath made thee whole." 


lds.org
Let us follow His example.  As we are going about our busy lives, pulled in every direction and meeting demands and needs of others, we can take the time to pause and take care of the one thing that might be needful.  If we are in tune with the whisperings of the Spirit, we will know when to continue on our path and when to stop to take care of a more important need.  Then when the balls drop, as they inevitably will, we won't feel that guilt that we are neglecting things in our lives.  Rather, we will feel the confidence that we are on the Lord's errand, doing His bidding and prioritizing for Him.  As we place our actions at His feet we will feel Him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." 

8.29.2012

This Year's Plan


picture courtesy of wisegeek.com
 Just for those interested, here's my boring list of school plans for the year.  :-) Enjoy (or ignore).
Math:  Each child has their own curriculum where math is concerned.  Saxon, Teaching Textbooks (maybe?), Life of Fred, and Evan-Moor Every Day math will all be used this year. 

Literature:  Each of the kids are in a book group of some sort or another, so those books will be the main structure of our literature this year.  As always I will have different read aloud books I usually incorporate with whatever we're studying in history OR whatever quirky holidays I want to celebrate this year. 

Writing/Grammar:  My older kid will be working through "Got Grammar?"  While the others will be working on Daily Oral Language.  We also will be using A Beginning, A Muddle and An End by Avi as our beginning writing unit.  If you haven't read this book yet, it's so great!  I love it for introducing writing.  Actually, we just started our writing unit last week and the kids have been excited to write! When we're done with that I'll switch over to IEW again.  My real goal for this year is to simply help the kids be more consistent with journal writing every day. 
Science:  So excited for science this year.  Real Science-4-Kids is the best curriculum I have found where science is concerned.  We will be studying biology this year simply because I want to dissect cool things with my kids.  Once a month we'll get together with another family and do that...frogs, brains, eyes, worms, hearts, squid, snakes and turtles will be on the chopping block.  :-)  I'll take pictures and keep you updated!

History:  Again, excited for this subject as well.  This year we will be going through history by studying our own family history.  I'm planning on starting with the kids' era and then move backwards through time and see how far we get.  With each generation we will study current events, books they read and loved, listen to music they would have listened to and more.  Hopefully this will bring history more to life for my kids.

8.27.2012

Joyful Mondays are Back

"If you want to be happy most of the time, you have to figure out how to do it despite the chaos, unhappiness and annoyances. Those things are going to happen to most of us every single day. We all have to interact with the drama and annoyances of other people. We all experience uncontrollable events. And we all deal with the consequences of our own decisions, some happy and some not-so-happy."
 -  - Pamela Gail Johnson, Founder of The Secret Society of Happy People

Happy Happiness Happens Month! 

The website link above is awesome!  If you want to feel happy today, or this week, go to that site.  There are some really fun ideas and activities.  For example:

Ways to be happy:
Encourage others to talk about what makes them happy.
Smile.
Get enough sleep.
Distinguish the difference between annoyances and problems.
Recognize your happy moments.

  • Make a Happy Treasure Chest: A box full of the things that bring smiles to your face. Get a box–make it uniquely happy. The crafty may want to decorate one and the crafty-challenged may choose to buy one. Then fill it with favorite photos; precious cards and letters; momentous and artifacts–movie tickets, playbills, jokes, happy quotes, cartoons, music, candles, videos, and the like.When you’re in need of a Happy Booster then look inside your Happy Treasure Chest and you’ll find plenty of smiles. It’s a great activity to do with others. Have a Happy Treasure Chest Party. You can even make one for someone who needs a happy pick-me-up! (Tip from Teri Sarin)

  • Have a Happy Expression Art Show.  Each person (friend or family member) through some form of art: drawings, painting, songs, writing, and on and on can express what makes them happy.  End with having a show and tell party.  (Tip from Kimla Cotropia, Ph.D)

  • And there's so much more on the site! 
    I'm excited to do something that makes each child happy every day this week. 
    And I'm itching to take the my "Happiness Inventory."

    So, as school starts and a more rigorous schedule arrives, choose to S.M.I.L.E. and to be happy this week! 

    8.22.2012

    I'm back!

    Oh, goodness!
    I have SO MUCH to share from Educaiton Week.  It was fabulous.

    However, those thoughts will need to come at a later date because upon coming home I have been hit with fall time planning amidst just simply acclimating myself again to being a mommy again!  :-)

    Last night I was saying, "Oh, the dreaded beginning of the year," and my husband responded, "You know you love it!" And he's right. 

    I LOVE PLANNING! 

    I've been trying to get some things figured out throughout the summer, but there's nothing like the crunch time as fall quickly approaches. I'm ready for the regular schedule of fall, the anticipation of learning cool things with my kids, and the cooler weather.  I know I should have just kept that learning attitude throughout the summer, but I honestly have been just adjusting to a one year old the last couple of months.  I pray the next few months go better than the last  (he's a cutie, but oh so demanding).  :-) 


    Please not yet!!

    So, here's a glimpse at what I've been working on.  In the past I've created a large poster for the wall, but decided to simplify this year.  I created a general family schedule and then put a vellum overlay with each child color-coded with their activities and how they'll work in with our family schedule. 


    Adding soccer to our year again we're going to be trying some new mealtime plans.  For instance, on Mondays, when we hold Family Nigth regularly, we have a soccer conflict for a couple of months.  So, we're going to have Dad come home at 4:00 for dinner on Mondays, hold our family council and lesson after that and then go to the park as a family.  Right where the practice is located there is a basketball court, tennis courts, two playground and a beautiful hiking trail.  So, I'm actually excited to spend our Monday evenings there as a family...though maybe doing some separate activities.   I usually HATE losing Monday nights, so I really hope it works.



    We decided several years ago that there are certain times our family needs to protect, and one of those times was dinner time.  We just really seem to fall apart as a family when dinners are not regular and together.  So...we'll be having some creative scheduling this fall to make that happen!  :-)

    For instance, on Mondays, when we hold Family Nigth regularly, we have a soccer conflict for a couple of months.  So, we're going to have Dad come home at 4:00 for dinner on Mondays, hold our family council and lesson after that and then go to the park as a family.  Right where the practice is located there is a basketball court, tennis courts, two playgrounds and a beautiful hiking trail.  So, I'm actually excited to spend our Monday evenings there as a family...though maybe doing some separate activities.   I really hate losing Monday nights, so I hope it works.

    So, yes....busy, busy, busy these next couple of weeks.  But, I truly am enjoying myself.  It's good to be back  (I think).  :-)

    8.09.2012

    A Fly on the Wall

    I'm sure we've all gotten those sweet thank you notes in the mail showing gratitude for whatever kind act of service we rendered or simply just to tell us an attribute for which another is thankful.  Recently I got such a note wherein this sweet friend mentioned to me some things she admired in me and I thought, "Really?"  :-)

    I was just reflecting on that note this morning and another thought I'd heard a few months ago.  Remember I was sad about saying good-bye to the previous General Relief Society president of our church?  Well, I listend to a talk given by the current Relief Society Presdidency and instantly fell in love! 

    A couple of the sisters reflected on times when they asked, "Am I living the way people see me?"  One of the sisters shared a story of leaving one room in her home to another and saw her face in the mirror.  She had just left the company of her children and the face looking back in the mirror was not pleasant.  She thought, "Is that how I look to them?"


    The other story was how a friend had said, "I'd love to be a fly on the wall in your home,"  leading this sister to wonder if the friend would see what she thought she'd see. 

    I have taken these stories to heart and have asked myself several times since, "Am I living the way people see me....Inside?"  Inside my home.  Inside msyelf.  Inside my heart. 

    Marjorie Pay Hinckley once said, "How we act in our homes shows the true story of who we are." 

    I still remember the comment of my then 8 year old son, "Mom, why is it when you get on the phone you sound all nice but then when you get off the phone you don't.?"  I laugh about that now, but at the time it hurt.

    Are we living the way other people see us? 
    It's a good question.

    8.08.2012

    MIA


    image from blog.sysomos.com

    I know, I've been missing in action this week.  Just got back from a lovely weekend visiting family and getting ready to head of to Education Week next week.  Yes.  I'm going. Leaving the children behind with my husband (isn't he fabulous!?).  And so, my writing has been sparse as I get ready to leave my station.  :-) 

    This summer is flying by!  I'm actually getting eager for Fall to arrive.  Once I get back from my rondevue I'm going to hit the planning for school time.  My mind has been stirring all summer with ideas and curriculums, now it's time to put it all together and into action. 

    Happy End of Summer Everyone!

    8.02.2012

    The Faith of Little Children

    The other day at dinnertime I shared a little object lesson with my children.  I had done the same object lesson in my Sunday School class that day and wanted to show the kids. 


    I took a balloon and had a volunteer come up.  I asked the class to tell me all the things that bring sorrow, sadness, pain or anguish into their lives.  Then I told my volunteer that whenever he heard a response he was to add more air into the balloon.  The balloon kept getting bigger and bigger.  I was expecting it to pop....but it didn't!  So, I improvized.  I told him to hold it.  Earlier I had drawn a dot on the chalkboard.  I asked the class, "What would you say if I told you that if you just looked at this dot, you would be free from all that pressure" (release balloon & watch it fly around)?" 

    The adults responded as I expected:
    "Yeah, right!"
    "I'm looking at it, I don't feel any better." 
    "You don't know what pain I'm really carrying around." 

    Well, when I did the same demonstration with the kids that night, I was completely shocked by their answers.  It brought tears to my eyes.
    "Okay!" 
    "I'll do it!"
    "Why wouldn't you?  I mean, it's worth a try!"

    Really!  Why wouldn't you?

    "O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or would ye rather harden your hearts in unbelief and be slothful that ye would not cast about your eyes, that ye might perish?  If so, wo shall come upon you; but if not so, then cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atonefor their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works"  Alma 33:21
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