Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cultural Ark

I love this quote from Cousin Ribby about our "cleaned up Christian Culture" and I had to share it:

"The old Ark, the biblical Ark, constructed to save the chosen from the Great Flood, had two of every creature in existence. The new Ark, the cultural Ark, built to save the chosen from the Great Media Flood, also has two of everything, I'm learning. You say you're a Pearl Jam fan? Check out Third Day. They sound just like them--same soaring gutteral vocals, same driven musicianship, same crappy clothes, just a slightly different message: Repent! you say you like Grisham-and Clancy-style potboilers? Grab a copy of Ted Dekker's "Heaven's Wager"--same stick-figure characterizations, same preschool prose, just a slightly different moral: Repent! your kids enjoy Batman, you say? Try Bibleman. Same mask, same cape, just a slightly different...That's the convincing logic of the Ark: If a person is going to waste his life cranking the stereo, clicking the remote, reading paperback pulp and chasing diet fads, he may as well save his soul while he's at it...What makes the thin, so weak and cumulatively so demoralizing...has nothing to do with faith. The problem is lack of faith. Ark culture is a bad Xerox of the mainstream, not a truly distinctive or separate achievment. Without the courage to lead, it numbly follows, picking up the major media's scraps and gluing them back together with a cross on top." --taken from "The Marketing of Evil," by David Kupelian, pgs. 229-230

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lord of the Rings

I'm REALLY irritated right now. We've gotten rid of or put up 90% of our movies. We rarely even use the TV. (Next step is to get rid of it I know!) And then this happens....

The other night was election night for Idaho. My husband, the politician, was up hitting refresh on about four sites getting updates from around the state late that night. Very exciting night for him.

So I was looking up things with him as the results were coming in and we thought we'd watch a good ole' classic while we were 'refreshing.' We choose Lord of the Rings #3, one of my favorite movies. Now we haven't watched very many movies in a quite a while. So I'm sitting there watching/listening to it half interested and I'm noticing something. This is a horrible movie! It is violent and scary and why didn't I notice this before? Hello? Sure there are some magical parts. Some truly inspiring moments that make me want to fight to the last breathe against evil. However, it's kind of small in comparison to the rest of all the creepy Golum and bad guy parts. Sigh..... I really like Lord of the Rings, but it's going to have to at least be put up......

Every time I think I'm getting ahead of Babylon I find some more things that I now feel aren't the BEST.

Before I think there were a lot of really good things that inspired me to greater thoughts. Now as I've gotten rid of all the good things though I'm noticing that maybe my good and really good might need to go too. This is making me think hard! So do I get rid of those things too? And if I do what in the world is left to participate in????? I'll just end with Cousin Ribby saying the rest of what I'm thinking here.

Babylon is so entwined in my life!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Brain Dead with Only a Few Thoughts

I want to just have all of you write all my posts I've read some good ones again today. You all do such a good job explaining everything. Would you like to write all my posts? That would mean that I'm not thinking much and not growing though. Sigh....

We are done with the state program we have used for the last couple of years. No more state testing, reports or checks. The last traces of public school will now be gone forever.

That also means the computer is getting packed up today. We've used the state one for several years. Now we only have a couple of laptops. This is a headgate we are going to close and see what happens. An experiment. (Olivia isn't very excited about it). Did you know that accessing a desktop computer is really easy? But accessing a laptop is harder, at least in our family. We are hoping that Olivia and I will cut down our time on the computer now. Not that we spent a lot, but more than we should! So now it won't be as easy to be "acted upon" and just check blogs, emails or goodreads for "just a minute" a couple of times a day.

I know many of you out there already do really good at this and don't even need to get rid of your computer to over come your weapons of rebellion. So you guys out there can all be happy that you don't have to deal with this bad habit! : ) But we are needing drastic things to help us! haha We'll see how long it really lasts though. Maybe we can actually learn some self-control. That would be an even better idea though, huh? groan

Moving on from that, Alex won the primaries for state legislature on Tuesday. (hehe he wasn't running against anyone) Now the real war begins against the Democratic incumbent and their big war chest (their money). If you would like to join his facebook group click the link to the right. We have our first parade this weekend. We have a lot of parades this summer....

Anyway that's all I'm going to say right now. Not because I'm holding back though, but because I've run out of things to say today. (imagine that?)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's Love

Yesterday Alex and I celebrated our 13th anniversary. We have had 13 wonderful years together. We mentioned to each other that it seems like we have always been together. We can't remember not being together.

I feel very blessed to have Alex in my life. I'm quite certain he's the only one that could put up with me and he likes it! We are a great match.

I appreciate Alex because he lets me fill my role as the nurturer of our family. He lets me receive revelation for my my stewardship and then supports me. He trusts me. I am grateful that he loves our children and likes to be home and be with us. I appreciate Alex because he takes very seriously his role as provider, protector and presider of our family. He has never tried to pawn off his roles on me no matter how tight things were or how stressful things became. He understands where his duties lie and he does them.

I am grateful he seeks truth. I am grateful that he gets up super early in the morning and studies the scriptures with me for 1 to 1/2 hours every day. I appreciate that he gives selfless service everyday to all people. I am grateful he never gets angry, he never yells and he his always there.

We are all so blessed to have wonderful men that support us in our God ordained roles. We couldn't go through this journey of life without great men by our side.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Great Debate

I have been enjoying participating in the "Great Debate" lately that is covering homeschooling blogs now. This has been an exciting discussion and I'm grateful to be apart of it! It reminds me of the different eras in English History when all the great minds would sit, discuss and seek truth. Since we all live in different states we can't sit down with one another, but reading each others home school blogs as been an opportunity to continue on with the Great Debate in our own sphere.

What is the Great Debate? For those in my sphere it is how to raise our children in the midst of Babylon. What do we give them and what do we need to take away? How do we prepare? The Great Debate is about a lot of things though. The Great Debate is a discussion among people of similar like minds as they seek truth and then seek to apply it in their own lives. There are Great Debates going on everywhere about government, evolution, Christianity, truth, happiness, human nature. Here is a link that simply gives you an idea about some of the things out there. These aren't necessarily topics I'm pursuing though.

Here are the links of some of those moms that I've enjoyed actively participating with in the Great Debate:


Misty and Cousin Ribby

Misty and Jennifer




Buzy Bee

Mrs. Smith






Saturday, May 22, 2010

Moving On

So I've decided I've killed the toys and tools topic long enough. I've actually written, partially written or brain stormed a toy vs tool topic for: pianos, journals, scissors, puzzles, computers, proclamation, money, books, free time, schedule, temple, family, and words. You'll just have to miss them I suppose.

I've personally learned a lot about thinking about some of those things. I have realized the great many gifts (tools) that God has given us to help us on our journey through mortality. Of course every person will use the tools differently, but it was still fun for me to explore the various ways some things can be used. I've learned as I've pondered on some things that I need to ask myself if I am using the gifts given me to their fullest potential or if I've misusing them. I've realized that in some cases I'm burying my talents.

In the mean time who knows what I'll write about next.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Our Arena

One of the things the kids wanted on our 80 acres was an arena to practice with their horses. Alex spent several hours scrapping one of the pastures so we could have our "arena." Maybe someday well get metal posts to go around it so it's a real arena. For now Olivia and Jared have had fun practicing barrels on it. I still laugh to think that me, the city girl, has horses, an arena and 80 acres. How did this happen? Oh, yeah, I had Olivia, the horse whisperer. You have to love Luke at the bottom. He loves playing at the land. Notice how muddy and wet he is. Of course he has a stick too.

Our Weapons of Rebellion: Tool or Toy?

I have recently been pondering about weapons of rebellion. First off what are weapons of rebellion? A scripture gives us the answer, “For they became a righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren” (Alma 23:6-7). I don't know if the term "weapons of rebellion" is a universal term or just one that I've heard in my sphere.

I, of course, have lots! Too many! Ugh! But I'm trying to bury them all! I'm so grateful we have a life time to identify them and get them buried once and for all! So I've been thinking about weapons of rebellion. Here is some brainstorming thoughts I've come up with.

Through the years I've heard numerous talks and lessons (see this Gospel Doctrine Lesson specifically 1d) on how we need to lay down the weapons of rebellion in our life. A weapon of rebellion would be something that keeps us from giving our hearts to God. It keeps us from giving up our complete submission. A weapon of rebellion has kept me saying to myself, "God asks to much, I shouldn't be expected to truly give everything!"

That's kind of the point though. God does want me to give away everything. It's not to be mean, but it so he can give me a new heart without all my wrong ideas and past yuck. He says, "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit with you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 11:19)

I think I have lots of weapons of rebellion. But slowly by slowly I need to weed them out of my life so that I really can place everything on the alter. I believe that if I go to God in prayer He will tell me what is the one thing that is stopping me the most in my progression. He will help me to overcome it and master it. Then I will receive "further light and knowledge" and I can go on to the next thing. He will teach me how to bury it. For I must bury it like the Anti-Nephi-Lehis so that it will stay FAR away from me.

In all the talks I've heard they always use several examples like facial hair, white shirts and ties, and Mountain Dew as examples. Other examples might be our sleep, tanning, radio, other music, food, online games, books, vehicles, double earrings, Sunday football, other sports, PG-13/R-rated movies, cracking our knuckles, ways we break the Sabbath Day, etc. I think our weapons of rebellion can be anything that isn't inherently wrong and doesn't keep me out of the temple, but it's a questionable activity and deep down inside I know better. It's that thing that I will defend to the bitter end in order to justify the things that I do. That thing I won't admit to anybody that I need to stop but deep inside I know. That thing I boldly say, "Yeah, if Christ were here I'd still do this." Inside I squirm though because I know that's not really true.

Like I said, I have several. And I personally have multiple ones in the list above. Ugh! I am also in no way pointing fingers. I'm not checking people out on Sunday and thinking, "I can't believe they didn't wear nylons!" (Maybe I'm jealous though of people who can get away with not wearing nylons. My legs are so white we would all die of fright). I'm simply speaking in generalities and from the things I've heard in talks and instructions given to me when I've been a leader.

My weapons (some of them, I'm not going to reveal all my bad habits just yet!): Twilight books (I like them a little too much), I add hi-lights to my hair sometimes, I like sugar way to much (do you think it's a problem that I had pumpkin pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner today, nothing else, just pumpkin pie?), I like sleep way too much and I use it ("I'm tired") when I don't want to face things so then I can go take a nap, go to bed early or sleep in, I like to hide behind being an introvert, I use my opinions and thoughts that I've garnered from years of study to justify being a snot sometimes, and well, that's enough. That exposes me raw. I'd better take a nap now so I don't have to deal with the comments.

So how in the world are our weapons a rebellion a tool or a toy? A toy perhaps because I use them to play with and avoid doing what I should. But a tool. Yes, a tool I can use to turn to God and become closer to Him. Will I humble myself and allow my heart to be turned and then in turn receive the "more" that God has to offer me? Hopefully I can use my weapons has a tool to propel me to the great victory of supplicating myself on the alter and giving all. Even those things that are dumb and don't matter, but I keep doing it because it's my "rook card" I'm hiding to prove that no one has absolute control over me. Yeah, I have lots of rook cards. Forget the nap I'd better get to work!

Okay, did I do better about being more positive this time? I tried REALLY, REALLY hard!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How we raise our family....

"Now I, Nephi, did not work the timber after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men. And I Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things...." 1 Nephi 18:2-3

I think that this scripture reference is a great parable to how we can raise our family. At least I've found it so to be for me. Each day we strive to build our family after the manner which the Lord as revealed to us. Each day we petition for what to do that day with our children and our family unit. Each day the answers are different then how the world or the manner of men would have us build our children and our family. The Lord desires that we call upon him and find out how to build our family. He will tell us how to make the tools to make and mold our family and he will provide the knowledge for us to make our "ship" or our family. Isn't that exciting? To know God is always there with answers even in the little things!

And in the end we will have those around us exclaim, "that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine." 1 Nephi 18:4 So don't loose hope. Stay on the path that the Lord wants you to be on with your children. He will show you how to raise a family in the midst of Babylon. And those naysayers will someday recognize the "exceedingly fine" family you have raised. Remember it can't be build after the manner of man, only after the manner of God.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Preparing for Missions

Here's a great article that my friend Heather pointed out to me. It points out how we can prepare our youth for their missions by limiting media in their life and how to teach them balance with these things. Also it address ways to improve social behavior in order to be more successful on a mission. This is a great article for those who think that Headgates might be to strict. The article reminds us again that we definitely need to close what I now call 'the headgates' in certain things.

The Prophet Said to Plant A Garden

So that's what we did.....

Our Thoughts: A tool or a toy?

So moving on to our mind! Our mind is a marvelous tool for good in our lives if we can use it for such. It has been said that even if the body were failing if the mind were still strong that we can keep going. (Think about the pioneers and those in concentration/prison camps). It is our first and our last line of defense against everything that is thrown upon us.

It has also been said that the mind is the devils playground. If Satan can get into our thoughts and began to sway us his victory will be swift and decisive.

So the question is posed to us. Do we use our mind as a tool or a toy? A tool to ponder and think about the glory of God? A tool to develop mental toughness against the pressures of the world? A tool to think about the truth and the great thoughts of the world? OR do we use it as a vehicle for fun? A toy to entertain us with unrealistic fantasies about material gain? A toy to think about the glory of the world? A toy to learn meaningless things from books and TV? A toy to think about filth and immoral things? A toy to fix us squarely on the "good" things of the world? A toy to lull in into carnal security and to think "All is well in Zion," I am well enough off?

Long ago (and about 500 books ago) I read a book wherein Sister Patricia Holland (Elder Holland's wife) talked about how Elder Holland would come home from his meetings and comment that the prophet was always telling the brethren that they weren't pondering enough. (I believe this was from A Quiet Heart). If the apostles aren't pondering enough than I feel certain that I'm not pondering enough.

Over the years I've tried to improve this skill of pondering. I've found that for me to ponder more effectively I need to write it down. While I'm reading the scriptures or wrestling over a question or problem I like to brain storm. I write down all the thoughts that come to mind. This leads to more thought and more thoughts. I cross out things that don't seem right and I write down more things. I have found that I can channel more mental power by writing them down. In the past when I didn't write things down I found that my mind drifted and it was hard to stay focused. Writing things down helps me to stay focused. I have multiple 10 cent notebooks filled with my thoughts. Maybe that idea will help other visual learners out there.

Moving on.... Anything involving the brain is going to hurt. Remember the brain is a muscle. You have to exercise it or you won't be able to sustain noble thoughts. It takes practice. The more you use the mind and try to harness your thoughts the more successful you will be. You will be able to concentrate on things that are "virtuous, lovely, or good report or praiseworthy" as you apply yourself. It takes practice and it takes time. But it can be done.

Our mind is a gift from God to help us on our journey through life. He will guide us with His Spirit but we need to do our part and use our mind to empower us to greater levels of truth and ability.

We can use our mind tool to:
Read a hard classic.
Stop surfing and pursuing mind numbing information on the internet.
Master a classical piece on the piano.
Write an essay.
Receive personal revelation in our role as wife, mother and nurturer.
Turn off the television.
Stop overeating.
Get up early even when the sun has not risen, the bed is warm and you feel so "tired."
Replacing our anger towards someone/thing with kind, loving and forgiving thoughts.
Not be overwhelmed by the emotional exhaustion of being a mother.
Speak kindness by first thinking kindness.
Applying ourselves to earnest studying in our scripture study.

Yes, our mind and our thoughts can be our greatest tool or our greatest toy. What will it be for each of us?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Thought

I just read David R. Stone's "Zion in the Midst of Babylon"(and I will continue to read and reread it). Thanks goes to Misty for pointing it out to me. This great article talks about Babylon and Zion and the fight that we must rage. I hope the article leads you to much pondering and personal revelation. It has 'headgates' written all over it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Colorado Trip

We recently returned from a great road trip! We were gone 6 days and 5 nights. We sent to Southern Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. We visited family and friends. We also saw some great sites. We saw an old cemetery, a scenic railroad, The Great Sand Dune National Park, a natural hot springs, Sky City (pueblo homes) and some Anasazi ruins.

We learned while in Colorado to never complain about the wind in Idaho again! It averaged 50-60 miles per hour one day. Apparently that was normal!

We traveled over 2,100 miles. You can see pictures on the family blog if you would like.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sleep-a tool or a toy?

Sleep as a tool or a toy? You are wondering about now if I've gone off my rocker I suppose. I've been thinking long and hard on this so just hear me out.

Sleep is most definitely a tool of course! It's a tool that is a biological necessity. My musings have led me to ask myself if I've used it as a toy too. Hmmm?

A toy again being defined as something that entertains you. There have been plenty of times I've used sleep to cope with my life and I've resorted to it so I didn't have to do anything-I was bored perhaps.

I've discovered in the past I've slept way to much. I use to believe I was one of those people that needed 9-10 hours a night. har har As I've pondered my sleep patterns through the years I've realized that sleep is addicting. The more I got the more I wanted. Pretty soon I needed 10 hours at night and a 3 hour nap. I knew I wasn't any more worn out then the pioneers and they survived on much less sleep and they were much more active. So what was wrong with me? Why was I always tired?

Ding, ding, ding! I was using sleep as a toy and not a tool. Toys and quick fix entertainment will never satisfy our souls and our true needs. I realized that when my husband and I greatly cut back the sleep we had a night we were more motivated. We also found the sluggishness we before felt had vanished. It took a short while to overcome those initial days of my body expecting more sleep to get it kicked in so that I felt normal. I recognized that it was just like an addiction and my body was rebelling at first, but that doesn't mean that weaning myself off of extra sleep wasn't the right thing to do.

We've worked on this for the last five years. It has been a process. We do better for several months and then we bomb again for a couple of more. The bed is so warm and cozy in the winter time! We've always felt worse though when we've been sleeping in. Life's a journey remember. Right now we are in a really good sleep/awake cycle and have been for quite a while. I think we've finally found our niche and we will make a more lasting change!

When I take naps now-which I still occasionally do- I can recognize immediately if I really need that sleep. If I wake up groggy and spend the rest of the day in a daze I probably really didn't need that sleep. However, if I wake up refreshed and can easily get to sleep again at my regular bedtime then I probably did need that nap.

I know these concepts are strange perhaps. One of children was yawning one and a lady said, "What? Are you tired?" Our son replied, "Yes, I slept in. I slept to much." The lady replied, "What? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. If your tired you need more sleep." Society has us thinking that it is not possible, even inconceivable to get too much sleep. D & C 88 teaches us to "cease to sleep longer than is needful."

If you are use to getting lots of sleep and you had to be up late that day than yes, your body will feel extremely tired the next day, because you are addicted to it.

I know plenty of people-Pres. Hinckley- that work(ed) hard all day and sleep (slept) a lot less than me (or me when I was over indulging). They are more energetic , productive, positive and happier to be around than most people I know.

Just some thoughts. Perhaps we can all evaluate the sleeping patterns in our life. We may find we can get some more energy out of ourselves than we previously thought possible. Are we using sleep as a toy or a tool?

And just so I don't sound self-righteous I slept in until 7:30 this morning (the day I wrote this post). Yes, I've felt blah all day just so you know. We're talking about correct principles and not perfection!

I wrote this post two weeks before its actual 'publication' date. I wanted everyone to know again that these are just some ideas that I've had for the last couple of years. This is subject to your own personal interpretation obviously. We are all in different stages. For one thing, I do not have little children or babies. My children all sleep in their own bed and sleep through the night. They also do not hang on me all day and so I'm not emotionally drained like I was several years ago. Anyway my point: don't freak out with this post. As my friend Lazy Lara says, "don't try this at home." : )

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tools and Toys

I love the concept of 'tools and toys.' We' have been applying it around our house a lot. My husband likes it and my kids like it. It helps us to find value in things more, there is less waste and a greater responsibility to the things we have. Since we have tried to go down to our needs and wants this concepts has helped us take better care of our things.

So what are tools and toys? Tools are things that have a distinct purpose and job. A fork, a hammer, a CD player, a piano, a car, etc these are all tools. A toy is something specifically used for entertaining us.

There are of course tools that are used as toys. I have to remind our kids regularly during meal time that their butter knives are not swords. We've spend a lot of time evaluating how we treat things in our house. Too often we use the tools as toys and tools. They end up getting misplaced and/or broken. We can eliminate waste if we are taking care to keep tools as tools.

I believe that the Lord does not want us to be wasteful with what he has given us and as I've mentioned in a previous post we spend too much time in core phase and therefore tend to turn everything into toys.

I've written several posts that will be published over the next couple of days that weigh in on some of my thoughts regarding certain things. Of course these are only my ideas! It has been fun over the last several months to think about all everything we are surrounded by and what its purpose truly is!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More Headgate Thoughts

My friend Misty wrote a fabulous post today about The Headgate principles that I absolutely love. Here's her link.

Closing the headgates in our lives is not about having a better home school. Closing the headgates is about lives focused on Christ and lives heading to Zion. That means dropping our idols and fleeing. That means closing the headgates. My friend Misty says the headgate principles are only the tip of the iceberg. I agree!

As we continually visit our summer cottages in Babylon we will be tempted to disregard this as heresy because it threatens our cozy lifestyle. One foot in and one foot out. We all will have to change. We all have many idols to throw down. Headgates starts us down the path of realizing what we need to do.

I hope Misty's words will continue to springboard you on your journey!


First off I've decided to insert this post today. I think there are are great many toys that really can be classified as legitimate tools. Meaning they can be a toy and a tool at the same time without being used incorrectly. Confused yet? Baby toys are toys but they are still tools to instill visual and spacial recognition for instance. The ropes and blankets in our kids toy baskets are simply toys, but they are tools to expanding creativity. So there are toys that are valuable. The trick lies is choosing the best ones.

Keri Tibbets outlined some ideas to help you decide if something is a good toy or not.

1). Does the fun or the thrill of the play come from the child's own brain, muscles or voice box?
If it's a push button toy (Buzz Lightlightyear, gameboy, etc) , it might not be the best one to have. If it requires batteries its probably not the best. If your child has to come up with the actions, the sounds, and entertainment its a better choice. She calls these plain and lifeless toys.

2).Who was the creative one, the toymaker or the child? This would include bead kids, Lincoln logs, Hot wheels tracks, Lego's, etc. Just a thought. Perhaps not having a house full of these kind of toys would be something to think about. I know we are all at different stages, don't hyperventilate. Think principles, not "Thou shalt remove all Lego's and Hot Wheels tracks from your house from this day forth." Remember seek your own personal revelation for your family. It's always good to hear other peoples ideas though.

She has some more steps but I won't get into them. These are some thoughts to get you thinking about the best toys. And remember the best toys really are tools too because they are developing your child.

May your toy selecting be a happy time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Scripture Study

My husband and I have served in leadership positions for nearly all of our married life within the church. One recurring problem that has constantly been present no matter what state we live or what age we are working with is that the vast majority of people do not immerse themselves in their scriptures (core book) on a daily basis. They also don't pray.

How can we ever expect to get through life with out immersing our selves in the Spirit? Scriptural neglect might have been okay twenty or thirty years ago, but today it is not! Not only do we need to read our Scriptures but we need to study them. There are messages in there so profound and so timely that will provide key knowledge for our progression as well as protection.

I know one complaint that I've heard is that 'I've read it all already, there's nothing more to learn from he Tree of Life story.' (or Alma 32 or Moroni 10, ................) I've spent one to two hours in the scriptures every morning for years and I'm here to tell you there are truths yet to be discovered. I love the scriptures!! I can't get enough of them. They have chased away all my fears, all my frustrations and all my inadequacies.

So this post wasn't meant to be so much about getting the mama's and the papa's reading as it was to encourage you to create a plan to ensure that your children are reading every day in their scriptures. (I don't think it counts if they read scriptures with family scripture study, your kids still need to read on their own, sorry).

Proverbs teaches us, "To train up a child in the way that they should go." Now we've all heard that. May I suggest that we train our little ones before they get too big? That way they have the habits down pat when they are little.

Here's what I've done. I offer this only has an idea to spring board your own thoughts and personal revelation! With each of my kids I've read them the scripture readers until they are 5. Then I ask them if they want to read out of the big scriptures. They always say yes. Then we start with verse one. "I Nephi......" I showed them the word THE. Then I would read the verse to them and they would supply the necessary THE at the appropriate spots. The next day we worked on AND. We kept going in the manner. I'd read every day with them. Sometimes I would continue to read out of the reader with them.

After a time they would ask to read two verses with me. Currently my youngest is still not independent and he still reads with me every morning. We read a column together. Followed by the reader which we take turns reading. (This is actually how I taught all four of my kids to read. I only supplemented the scriptures with the McGuffy Primer).

I always have them read before breakfast. Why? Because I want the habit ingrained in them as part of their life. So that no matter what happens during that day (they are a dad and they have to go to work) they will have already read their scriptures for the day. I try to check with the boys every morning to ask them what they've read. We usually have a good discussion about what they learned. They feel free to ask questions. This way I also know that they have read.

For all you late risers, or fuzzy brained morningers (Olivia) I just want to point out that Olivia reads her scriptures faithfully at night and as done so for years. I just think that you need to help your kids create a time that is habitual either in the morning or the night, avoid the daytime (in my personal opinion).

So the point of this post, let's get our children trained in their scripture reading while they are young so that "when they are old they will not depart from it."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Family Work Efforts

A couple of days ago I made good on my idea to make some casseroles for the elderly. I've been reminded lately in my studies that service is such an important aspect in keeping our covenants. That day, for part of work, I read them the first several versus of section 105 in the Doctrine and Covenants and we talked long and hard about caring for the poor and the needy. Then we talked about how we could do a better job of that. They were really excited to learn we would be making food that day for some elderly people.

After our meeting we did a couple of quick jobs around the house. Then we started in on the food. I'm kind of obsessive about keeping the kitchen clean as you go along so I had a lot of opportunities to teach and model that! haha. As Olivia would say, "You're doing good mom. Keep breathing." We made yummy Saxapahash which is a baked/layered spaghetti casserole. This is a family favorite. For all my vegan friends out there don't look at the pictures! We also made a bunch of cookies that we froze for a bake food sale fundraiser for 4-H.

So my thought today is: how can you add service to your home education/family life?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Family Work-Headgates

In my pursuit of truth I have really found something beautiful in The Heatgates article. There were many things in this article that have been impactful. I'm grateful for other people who are pursuing truth and are willing to share it.

I haven't been all that good at administering family work in the past. Sure I've had the required "chore charts" that all good mothers must have and they take their turn doing the dishes. Yes, they clean their room, but they really weren't working. After reading the Headgates article I realized that I need to get them to work "their little britches off" to quote Lara Gallagher.

So we made a few changes. It's been over a month now so I feel like I can report on this little exercise. So far the results have changing. That sounds a little extreme but really they have been. Today, for example, I asked my 10 year son, who had already been cleaning for an hour, to go clean all the doors in the house and I showed him how. He said, "Sure mom, no problem." Not only did he clean them, but he really cleaned them and didn't fake his way through. I asked him how he was doing part way through and he said, "Good, but I can't get this part of that door clean. I'm really sorry. What would you like me to do about it?" Then when he was done he came and "returned and reported" that he had completed his assignment and what was his next assignment. That would not have happened two months ago. He would have been rolling on the floor with a fit in a wave of hysteria with the cries of, "How dare I ask him to do that and what was he anyway, my slave?" That sounds kind of sassy though and he's never been sassy, but he would have been desperately in the depths of despair to do any sort of work.

So how did this happen?

First I made my plan. How were we going to clean this house, what work would we do and when? That was what I call the “spiritual creation” step.

Then I sat the kids down and explained the game plan. I told them that we would now be doing two hours of family work every morning together as a family. I explained to them what would be expected of them. That it was work time and not play time. Anyone caught outside fighting with their sticks or inside hiding under the ping pong table reading a book would get 5 minutes per infraction in the corner administered during free time. I also told them what the blessings and benefits would be if they submitted to our work schedule (see below). I call this marvelous principle the “teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves.” I rarely have problems with my kids when I do new things or take away toys. I've always explained why until they understand and then they just accept the new plans.

Then we went to work. Every morning with out fail we have worked for two hours. We've have deep cleaned this house inside and out. They are learning specific jobs and they are getting very good at them. Caleb can now successfully be turned loose on cleaning the toilets for example. We've also been doing a lot of food preparation. I've made a lot of bread with them and other provident living food items. They must always report back to me when they are finished with a job. We usually work in the same area so they are close. This phase is of course affectionately called,”working their little britches off. “

I must comment first on the problem we are having. We have run out of things to clean. Sure we can clean the toilets, dust, clean windows, etc but that only lasts so long when there are so many able bodies available reporting for duty. They are also getting quicker with their jobs (not to mention there is less grime they are removing because we are staying up on everything). I don't like doing meaningless things so I'm starting to struggle with what do to fill up the time. We've had a month long wind storm happening so we have only been able to work outside twice. I'm hoping though when it gets nice we will work a lot outside and we have more then enough projects on our newly acquired 80 acres.

One idea that I've come up with is that we will make mass food (casseroles?) and freeze it in small serving sizes and then on other days we will go visit the elderly. I think this will be a great opportunity. They can learn core principles of keeping their baptismal covenants and learning some cooking skills all at the same time. I think we will also do some more home industries as my friend suggested. I want to do meaningful things that are making them into better people.

Now to the best part. Those blessings. First off my kids have learned that they can work hard, have fun and still be happy. I've learned that I can have my kids work hard, have fun and still be happy. I think the latter lesson has been the most valuable.

Perhaps the most amazing thing I've found is that my kids think deeply when they work. They are asking profound questions. They ask me questions about the book we are reading, a question about current events or even a question they had when they were reading their scriptures. These questions have sparked an amazing journey of discovery for them as we discuss things that will build character for their whole lives. I see them thinking. I see them changing. I see them becoming.

As a mother I could ask for nothing more.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Core Phase Thoughts

A true principle that I believe in is the concept of core phase. Call it whatever you would like. I believe we each start at a place where we must build a foundation. I believe that core phase is built on Jesus Christ. Right and wrong are learned. True and false are evaluated. The reality of good and bad are discovered. In this phase we learn values and principles that will be a rock upon which we can built the rest of our lives.

In our home we specifically focus on the truths found in The Family: A Proclamation to the World: "Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities." Once this core foundation is firmly established we can move on and learn more about life. I do not believe that we will ever be successful unless we have a base to stand firm on. We would be blown about with every wind of doctrine and we would fall.

One thought that I've been contemplating lately is how are we as adults doing with core phase? We may believe it's important for our children, but have we obtained a solid base to built everything on for ourselves?

It is my opinion that a great many moms and even more dads are still in core phase. This is in no way a judgment on the individual, but a reflection on our society. Most things in our society are aimed at keeping us in perpetual core phase. Just a thought. Something to ponder.

Keri Tibbetts gave an excellent description on how to know if your child (apply to yourself) is still in core phase. She said if they are in core phase they will use their free time to play. Remember core phase as been described as 50% work and 50% play. I know husbands all go to work and moms wash, clean, cook, and sew but what do they do when they are done?

Perhaps a wife who uses her fee time to shop, play Internet games, connect with every soul she's ever known on facebook, surf the Internet, read brain candy books, go out to lunch with her friends regularly is still in core phase. Perhaps a husband who comes home from work and plays the Wii, watches TV, knows the stats on every major league team, watches high action movies, rides dirt bikes regularly, shoots random animals, or plays computer games may be in core. These are just the some thoughts. (These things in and of themselves may not be bad, but it is the overindulgence that I'm speaking of).

"What" you may ask. "We work so hard. Can't we play a little to relax and unwind? We need to refill our bucket!" It is my personal belief that women will never fill their bucket if they are seeking outside sources like shopping or lunch dates to regain their "emotional strength." You will always be empty. Those activities will never satiate your soul.

Then what will? Immersing your self in core values. Reading your scriptures, praying to the one true God (who is not the Internet or the television). We must apply the principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities to find personal strength, to find a soul that is healthy, a life that is solid.

When you find yourself at peace and not reaching for quick-fix entertainment you will know you are building a solid core or sure foundation. Your free time will began to be "wholesome." You will do things as a family. You will choose to read a book. You will choose to serve your neighbor. You will choose to go on a walk and observe nature. You will choose to learn a new skill. You will choose to write something. You will choose to become something other than a robot that is that is addicted to computers, games, shopping or sports. We will be whole.

Perhaps our homes would thrive more if we has parents had some self-discipline and knew who we were and what our purpose was. Just some thoughts....

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

True Principles

I've enjoyed reading so many articles lately about principles. What are principles? What are our family's principles?

The last seven years I have earnestly pursued book after book, talk after talk, person after person, temple session after temple session and scripture after scripture trying to find our own personal truth in regards to home education. President Young said, "Pray as if everything depends on God and work as if everything depends on you." To that end I have sought truth.

I agree with many of you that there are many ways to home educate your children and there is no one right way. I appreciate the ideas that you all present. What I've created from those ideas coupled with my own personal conversations with the Almighty look different than yours. My journey is far from over however and I continue to seek more truth.

I've never felt so strongly the Spirit as when I go before Him daily to petition and invoke His help as I seek each day to fulfill my sacred role of nurturer. God is ever mindful of us and reaches out to us when we seek to fulfill our God given roles as mother. He will answer us.

What I've created from those holy communions is a home and not a school room. I've created a culture and not a system. School is not in session from 8-3. Our mortal sojourn is in session 24/7 however! I've patterned our home after the temple and what I envision Zion to be.

Someone may say, "What are you doing? Are you wanting everything church related?" The answer is yes. Yes in the aspect that everything we do as a purpose, with that purpose being bringing each of us closer to Christ. My vision is way beyond teaching my kids their multiplication tables or memorizing Shakespeare. My vision is raising kids who can usher in the second coming and Christ.

Every moment I pray that I will know God's will and that He will direct me. Every book I read, every conversation I start, every chore I require as a purpose. I know exactly what value I want taught, every lesson I want learned and every habit I want developed. I am not preaching to them however. Alex and I are doing everything we can to model that supplication to Christ. Our children do know that everything we do has a purpose and they trust us. They know I have their eternal welfare in sight. They get it. They know I'm not interested in making them out to be the most popular, the best dressed or the next basketball all-star. I have a higher vision.

I am convinced that when we stood in the pre-mortal existence, before we came here to mortality, that my children (who would be called among your children the valiant and chosen generation) begged me not to raise them in mediocrity and Babylon. I am certain they petitioned me to raise them with truth inscribed into their very soul so that they would in very deed be prepared to fulfill their missions however great or small. I will not fail them. I will do all in my power to learn correct principles and to teach them truth.

My posts are geared from an overwhelming desire to prick each of us and to have each one of us ask ourselves what principles can I gleam for my family from these ideas? I believe in the power of personal revelation and its guiding influence in our lives. I hope that my posts, that I feel compelled to write, will arouse our faculties to receive the truth that we are all in desperate need of and are seeking.

God bless us all in our own pursuit of true principles.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Our Bookshelf

We've gone over and over our bookshelf. What are the best books for our family? In the past we had an abundance of good, better, and best books. Now we don't. I've only kept the books I would absolutely want if I was suddenly not able to ever go to the library again. I've read a great many 'classics' it seems and while they are good, I don't think they are great and need to be on my bookshelf. We can check out all the Magic Tree House books we want at the library. I don't need to keep them in our home though. I don't want to dust them. I don't want to rearrange them. I don't want to move them. Frankly I don't want to look at them. So observe the picture below to see what is left. The bottom binders are their genealogy books. To left of the binders are the picture books that are left. They are mostly fairy tales. We have some blocks on there that I'm getting rid of. Waste. They don't play with them. Why do I have them? The bookshelf is messy. But they look at it and pick up the books.

Some of the books that we choose to keep as the best are Lord of the Rings, Work and the Glory, Narnia, Johnny Tremaine, Little House on the Prairie series, A Wrinkle in Time series, and Little Britches.

Now to my classic shelf. It's pretty small huh? (We have a small assortment of our 'best' theology books on another bookshelf). Our daughter as about 20 books in her room that are all adult classics. Pretty slim pickings. Guess what though? We aren't overwhelmed with our books any more and we actually want to sit down and read them. Isn't that something? Who would have thought? All in all we ended up giving up 75% of our books. It's a beautiful thing.

NOTE: If you are looking into getting the McGuffy Readers do not bother getting anything but the primer book. Once your child learns to read they will no longer want to read a McGuffy Reader. Just a thought. I know you were wondering.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Plastic Plants

About two months ago we had a major dejunking party. We got rid of so many things. Why do we have so much stuff? It is really embarrassing. I realized quickly that as a society (and the Sutter family) we live WAY WAY WAY beyond our needs and wants. I mean come on, how many spatulas does a women really need?

So we got rid of our stuff. My husband says we got rid of 50 lawn and leaf garbage bags of stuff. I think it was closer to 35, but I stopped counting at 25. That's a lot of stuff. That's too much stuff. Again I ask, why do we have so much stuff?

Not only did I come to see that we had way to much stuff, but we were emotionally attached to so very many items in our home. It was almost as if they were on own little idols. Not good.

Another thing I noticed about all our stuff was that I had to clean it and organize it and look at it and ...... I don't need more things to do. Really I don't.

I've implemented a new cleaning schedule for family work this past month and the first day we did the living room we quickly realized how much we needed to dust. This was after 35+ bags of extra treasures went out. Since I wanted to focus on teaching my kids how to deep clean we were cleaning all of our plastic plants. How did I end up with so many plastic plants? Half way through a really big plant dusting job Jared said, "Mom, are we going to have to dust these every week?" I looked at him and he looked at me and I got it. No we were not going to spend our lives dusting plastic plants. I started laughing and said, "Let's get rid of them!" So they picked one plant to keep (surprisingly it was the very smallest and they put it on top of the piano). Why do we have so many plastic plants I ask again?

Then came the picture frames. Why do I have so many picture frames cluttering up the wall? I don't want to dust them all either. So we took almost all of them down and we are going to put them in a book and put them on our 'prayer table' (also commonly known as a coffee table). We still have pictures up so don't freak, but we surly didn't need that many!!!

So I ask you what plastic plants to you have that are cluttering up your life? Let's not waste our lives dusting.