Thursday, August 31, 2006

Large Family Response and Geographics

As a child in a family of nine children and various foster children it never occurred to me that we were odd. We lived in the country and in a ward were there were many, many families with six or more children. We went grocery shopping once a month, because we lived so far away and my mother would buy at least two grocery carts full of food. She was often asked if she ran a school or other such comments and she just delighted in telling the people that these were all of her children. I do not ever remember it effecting her negatively, but we were not in public very often all together.

When I got married and moved to town the largest family in our ward had five children and we were told we needed to wait to have children as we were too young-we moved out nine months later, one month before our first child was due. We have lived in various places since then and I think that the locality does have a lot to do with the reactions you get. My sister has four daughters under five and has never got a comment, but she lives in Utah. I live in a lower middle class area of California and I constantly get comments and looks, but I think most are along the lines of shock that I am doing something that others view as impossible. I think because of the break down of the family, ecspecially in many parts of California people just do not know how to put family first. All they know is their own wants and desires and have not been trained to rear children well or keep up with a home. For many of these people I can understand why they think this must be so hard or near impossible. And without training and sacrifice I think they are probably right. Some women would even like to have a large family, but do not know where to turn for the training.

Saying all of this I have found that when I am engaged with the children, laughing, talking or adoring them I get less comments or looks of irritation and more smiles of admiration. I get a lot of "you have your hands full." When my reply is simply yes with a smile at my children I have often gotten comments like, "but you seem to be so good at it," or "it must be fun to have a large family."

I do so feel sorry for those who do not understand the joy of it. My children told me last night that they wanted at least three more brothers and four sisters. I know that they love having so many siblings and they are thrilled and proud that I am pregnant now. They play so well and have such sweet comments for me. My 8 yo son told me the other day that he thought I had survived a childhood accident so that I could grow up and have him and his brothers and sister and teach them the gospel and he was so happy I had taught it to him and knew that we were supposed to have families and care more about families then money. He gets it and I would venture to say he is a lot happier than most single children simply because of so many siblings and parents who put the family first. Others miss this point and while they may have more vacations and days off, they won't have much of what we do have.
As the world leaves the family and selflessness for selfishness, the comments and looks will probably increase. We must just smile and focus on our families and not them.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Emotional Stories

I was reading from Charles Kingsleys Heroes to Kamron today. This is a book about early myths. Brennen was sitting next to us trying very hard to make bionicle pieces do what he wanted. I got to the part of the story where the father puts his daughter and her newborn baby in a chest and throws it out in the ocean (this apparently happens a lot in early stories). Suddenly Brennen burst into tears, "No he doesn't! The baby doesn't die!" Oh, how I had to hug him and assure him that the mother was there and would take the baby to land and they would be okay. He was fine then, but I was just amazed that he had actually caught anything from the book. I have been feeling guilty that I don't read as many picture books to the younger two as I did the older two, but apparently he is getting something out of the literature we read. I just need to try to make sure he hears fun and happy thoughts next time.

Handwork Handout


The project chosen for your child should be something that he is capable of, but will stretch him. It should be something that takes several sessions to complete. We need to also emphasize the habit of best effort. It should be a real and useful project, not something that will be thrown away in a week, the children should not be emplyed in futilities such as Popsicle stick picture frames, or pipe cleaner butterflies. When we learn both mental and physical skills, it makes us more whole as people.

To instill a respect for hard work, and appreciation of beauty and work that has gone into a project.
To develop the habit of attention and exactness, order.
To develop the sense of touch.
Self-confidence and humility, not the bogus inflated self-esteem but the confidence that with patience and practice they are capable of learning a new skill.
Provides a mental break from the labor involved in the other studies
Fine motor skills
Develops the sense of creative
Gives the children real skills that will be good for later life, can develop into greater self-reliance, independence and even job skills.
Provides something useful for the children to do while they are listening to you read aloud. Allows them to have skills to make other family members presents

Sewing puppets, stuffed animals, teaching different stitches on cards, latch hooking, braiding, weaving, origami, cooking, gardening, beading bracelets, polymer clay, woodworking, making quilts and pillows on a sewing machine for toys, cutwork with scissors-paperdolls, plastic canvas, knots, paper making, Mosaics, stamping, spool knitting, knitting, carving soap or wood, clay sculpting, appliqué, wire sculpting, mending, sewing on buttons, tin punch work, floral arranging, pressing flowers to frame, bread dough roses, origami dipped in melted wax to make tree ornaments, make miniature or dollhouse furniture (bonus points if they are historically accurate), doll making-sock doll, making doll clothes, napkin folding, making handkerchief dolls, making centerpieces, yard sculptures, greeting cards, stationary, electricity kit, PVC pipe plumbing, woodburning, leathercrafting, macramé, making simple candles, paper embossing, photography, scrapbooking, hairstyles, digging and planting, painting walls and fences and other items, clip making, sewing scrunchies, picture framing, spinning fibers, decopauge, painting ceramics

I Want to Grow Bigger

My two year old son Brennen is adorable. Okay, I admit I'm biased, but he is. He is in this phase lately that he just wants to be bigger. He wants to be as big as Kamron and Aubrey and do the things they do. They just finished swimming lessons and he went with me every day to watch them. He has been scared of the water for a long time, but when he saw all of the games they played he wanted so bad to go in too. I told him he had to wait until next year when he was bigger and he could do swimming lessons too. He stood on his tippy toes and said I am bigger now. He has been insisting that he is four for awhile now and gets pretty mad when people say he is only two. The other day he came in and said, "After I get bibbity-bobbity-boo then I will be bigger." Pretty soon, my dear little boy, all too soon.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Do You Really Want the Teacher's Unions Deciding What to Teach Your Kids

At a recent convention the teacher's union decided to adopt a few new policies. Below are some exeprts from an article you can find here, with my sacastic comments interspersed=).

"The Association also believes that these factors should not affect the legal rights and obligations of the partners in a legally recognized domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage in regard to matters involving the other partner, such as medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, and immigration." "Factors" refers to "race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, disability, ethnicity, immigration status, occupation, and religion."
Other NEA resolutions promote the gay rights agenda in public school curricula by demanding funds to alleviate "sexual orientation discrimination," to use multicultural education to reduce "homophobia," and even to put "diversity-based curricula" and "bias-free screening devices in early childhood education." Another resolution demands that schools hire "a diverse teaching staff." -Nice, we even get to be taxed so others can teach our children the ends and outs of accepting these wonderfully diverse lifestyles.

"The NEA passed resolutions against voucher plans, tuition tax credits, parental option or choice plans, sectarian schools, for-profit schools, distance learning, and homeschooling." Sounds like they really care about what is best for the kids, huh? Oh and they are demanding that homeschoolers not be allowed to participate in public school classes or events. The love and concern for the children is just oozing now.

"The NEA also supports "community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling," which is a thinly veiled welcome to Planned Parenthood to put its clinics in the schools. " If anyone ever mentions Planned Parenthood, know that they are not on the side of families, their main thrust is to kill all babies who can be looked at in anyway as limiting the "parents." As they proudly state on their site "We are America's Future Abortionists!"

"The NEA is determined to get control of children at the earliest possible age. One resolution calls for public school programs for children "from birth through age eight," another calls for pre-kindergarten for "all three- and four-year-old children," and still another demands "mandatory kindergarten with compulsory attendance." " Gee isn't that nice they want to provide free daycare and indoctrinate the children even earlier-how kind they are.

"Claiming that every child has the right to "freely available information and knowledge about sexuality," the NEA demands the right to teach children about diversity of sexual orientation and gender identification, incest, and homophobia. " Sexual perversion? It's great! The TV doesn't do enough let's explicitly teach it in the classroom too.

"After reading the NEA resolutions and policies, parents should reflect on last year's decision of the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Fields v. Palmdale School District. The court ruled that parents' fundamental right to control the upbringing of their children "does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door," and that a public school has the right to provide its students with "whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise." " --If your children are in public schools and being educated by such people, this stuff should seriously scare you if you have any desire in you to raise moral children. Yes, I will now make a fanatical statement--Do not let your children be educated by such people. The Teacher's Unions in most areas are not concerned about families or children, but about passing on their ideas to the future. And to put it bluntly, their ideas are usually evil.

We Started School

We started school this last Monday we are doing one weeks worth in two weeks to ease back into all of the subjects. I am already seeing many places I am going to have to adjust. I think I may need to move the starting time back until 9 so that I can get a few more things done in the morning. The younger two children always seem to need me more then too. I found I have one wrong history book and I am going to need to put more prep time into teaching math. I do find toddlers the hardest to school with, so I need to start seeking out tips for help in that direction. Here we go.

Baptism Interview for Kamron

Kamron had his baptism interview last night. Kevin was working overtime, so I took all of the kids with me. There was a funeral going on and noone was in the Bishop's office. I knew the Bishop was probably at the funeral so I sat the children on the bench to wait. That didn't last long. I put Kamron in charge of following Logan around and at one point Brennen disappeared for about five minutes which always makes me do that slight panic thing. Soon the secretary came and the children and I talked to him for awhile, but as I ran after one of the children for the umpteenth time, I certainly felt like I had not done a good job at teaching my children to sit still or even stay within a designated area. Finally the Bishop came and took Kamron in to talk to him. Brennen followed the secretary who my children all think is a treat to play with. So I held Logan and Aubrey and I had a chance to talk to another couple who were waiting their turn. When Kamron came out he saw the brother we were talking to and called him by name and said, "I remember you. You used to be my teacher for awhile." The brother replied, "Of course you remember me you are about the smartest kid I've ever taught in primary." That made me smile and then I was asked to come in to the Bishop. When I walked in I saw he had tears in his eyes and down his cheeks. He said, "Thank you so much. He is completely prepared. Thank you for teaching him." My eyes moistened and I thanked him as I shook his hand. I know Kamron has a testimony and has a special purpose on this earth. When I look at him I know that I am looking at someone who will be a partner to God in all the work He asks of him. I am grateful that he is my oldest son and I get to be his mother. Oh, he is not perfect-he argues, and does not always obey immediately-but he has a desire to do what is right and to go Home, and he is a very big help to me. I appreciate the kind comments about him, because it reaffirms to me the importance of what I am doing. I already feel I am doing right by creating a gospel centered home, education and life, but it is nice to sit back and look at the fruits sometimes-even if my kids do run in the church occasionally.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Bye-Bye Realtor, Hello School

I have been working as a Realtor from home for the last 2 and 1/2 years. It has worked well, because I have been able to do a lot of helping for sale by owners. Which only requires me leaving the house twice and the rest is done by fax and phone. This has helped to provide some needed money in the past, but as the real estate market has deadened owners are having an extremely difficult time selling their houses which means I do not make anything. But I still have to pay my many fees each month. So I, like many other Realtors in a slow market, have been thinking about what I should do. I can not put more time and money into it, because I really can't go full time which is what is needed to be successful. I also just don't have the heart for it at this time because regular real estate does not mesh as well with being a homemaker, homeschooling mother and wife, helping FSBO's did, but unfortunately there has been no income from that lately.

So after much thought, prayer and study I have decided to go back to school to get my BA and then my teaching credential with the goal of being an ES in a charter school and helping others homeschool. I already spend a lot of time teaching others how to homeschool and I imagine I will do so for the next 25 years at least. As an ES I can set my schedule somewhat around my family, I can work part time, even to the point of just being the ES to my own children and I can hopefully have a bigger say in the direction of the Charter school we are involved with. Of course it will also supplement my husbands income while providing some benifits and retirement. This has been a hard decision for me mostly as I have wondered if this would be okay with God.

As I was contemplating this I read Mothers of the Prophets and learned that many of the mothers and wives of the prophets worked in fields that were compatible to their primary responsibilities. Some of them worked out of economic need and others simply to bless the lives of those around them. I read many quotes of the prophets about education and finances and the mothers need to stay focussed on the family, not because she couldn't do as well in a working environment, but because she is truly and deeply needed there. I read the scriptures of Proverbs 31, you know the one about Solomon's ideal woman. She is industrious, does earn income but she is still the guard of her home and her focus remains there even through all else she does. I reread my patriarchal blessing ecspecially the lines about my education and training which I had always wondered about. I compiled all of these verses and quotes and then I prayed. I felt immediately like this was right, and I would be able to find a way to keep my family and home as my priority while also pursuing this field of study. It was wonderful how clear the revelation was. I prayed about one school that was very cheap and felt very quickly like that it was not right, later I learned that it did not have the accredidation that I will need. I researched 14 online schools and kept going back to Ashford University. I prayed about that one and felt like it would be a very good choice. That was last week. I start the BA program in Psychology next tuesday. After a six year absence I will be returning to school. And I am looking forward to it.

As it is all online, I am actually thinking it will not be that hard to keep up with. I will work on it during quiet time and Kevin has said he will do the dishes and bathe and get the children ready for bed when I need to study in the evenings-that should give me more than enough time. I am just glad almost all of my school planning is already done for the year and my pre-fall cleaning and purging are half way done as well. I need to go work on my kitchen though. So I will say farewell for now.

Good-bye Scripts, and Personal Revelation

This topic was recently brought up again among some of the sisters and I find it exciting in a way. For those who have been watching you may have noticed a shift of responsibility somewhat in many of our functions. The detailed yearly family home evening manuals were dispensed with many years ago, and the current Family Home Evening Resource Manual hasn't been updated for a long time. The wards have been given back the charge of maintaining their own buildings. Enrichment nights have been changed and become much fewer, while individual members have been asked to use their talents to bless the sisters with classes and training specific to their wards. The missionary program has been changed from memorized discussions to spirit lead discussions. In all of these things the responsibilities are shifting more to the individual. It is as if the Brethren were slowly training us to be spiritual leaders in our families, wards and neighborhoods.

As I have been thinking about this, I have been thinking about how I can be better prepared. The foundation of it is having a personal testimony, knowing what has been asked of us to do and then being willing to do what He needs done to accomplish His purposes. Deep scripture study, along with thorough study of the words of our modern day leaders is where I start. I love to do this. I love taking a topic that applies to my life and searching for all the words of the brethren I can about it. I also like to pray, and receive the revelation that follows-though I admit I need to concentrate a lot more at prayer time. I have been contemplating staring a prayer journal, recorded all the things I would like to pray about, and then recording the ways that God answers those prayers. I did this inconsistantly for a couple of months last year and it was a real testimony builder to see how many prayers God had answered and the wonderful ways they came about.

I hope that I also will be willing to give my all when I am prompted to do so by the spirit. I think I can say that I try to do the things I am specifically asked to do, but I think there is something more that we need to do. We need to step forth to be of service when prompted by the Holy Ghost and without being specifically asked. This is harder. I am reading Fire of the Covenant and thinking about the commitment of these people. Many of them gave up everything to come to Zion, favorite treasures, money, warmth, comfort and even the lives of loved ones. They were encouraged along the way, but few were directly told when to go, they had to pray and receive their own direction from the spirit about what they should do. But when they had made the decision most were unflinching. Am I as prepared to give up everything to help God's plan progress? Am I willing to give up my privacy and risk rejection to tell my neighbors about the gospel? Am I willing to tell others that I am LDS when I am asked to described myself? Am I willing to walk out in public visible pregnant with four children in tow, what about five or six or seven? Am I willing to be that testimony, a visible commitment to those around me? Can I give up my right for me time to create family time and use it as His time? Am I willing to watch another sisters children even after a hard day fulfilling my commitments? Am I willing to grow, to become the woman He would have me be? I hope I am, I hope that when I die I can say I have lived by the spirit and I have truly followed His path.

Their are many women joining the church who did not grow up in it and many of the false beliefs of the world are carried with them. The idea of family planning, that teenage rebellion is to be expected, that we should be mass consumers, that we need a lot of time away from our children, that our spouses are not that important. A lot of active members believe these things. But from what I can tell none of them are part of God's plan. Not even family planning in the world's way which seems to be so openly embraced nowadays. If you would like to see an evil organization, go and visit the Planned Parenthood site and ecspecially read their mothers day post if it is still there, I guarantee the spirit will not stay with you for long while you search that site, except maybe to warn you of the evil of these things. The people who participate in this idea of controlling when and how many of God's children they will let in their families can hardly be condemned by any of us though, ecspecially those who are new to the church. The idea is so prevelant in the world that few think twice about it and those that have never been taught the words of the prophets on this matter can hardly be at fault. But I think and feel that more people ought to be gently taught the truth of this matter. Spiritually led mentors and examples are needed to help others know that gospel truths are often not found in the common practises of the world, but can be found through study and prayer and personal revelation.

So as the policies changed to train us in more individual and local revelation, I think the need for in depth study and prayer is only growing. We need constant help from above, because frankly we are different from the world and we ought to feel it, no matter how hard that is. Okay, the Utah people may not feel it as much as those of us plunked down in the other parts of the world. And I'm sure many feel it even more than I do, but I do feel it. But as long as I can still study and God continues to answer me when I pray I will embrace it and smile at those who look at me like I am nuts. After all many of the people that watched the pioneers cross the plains thought they were nuts too. God will be with us as we say good-bye to the comfort of the scripts and hello to a more intense relationship with him that includes a very good dose of personal revelation. He has a hand in this work people, can't you feel it?