Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gary Go - Wonderful

I've been playing this song a lot lately and just thought I would share it. :D There are times we all go through when we know we need to be doing better... when maybe we have regressed in one or more areas... (you know it happens to us ALL; a few steps forward, then two steps back). This song reminds me that though I sometimes step backwards and have changes that I need to make in my life, I, like you, am still OK (make that... wonderful! ;)

I think we all need to be reminded of this from time to time. 
~ I hope you Enjoy this as much as I do!

PS (Listen to it a few times... it seriously grows on you! ;)

Take a Leap!

Take a Leap...

This is the theme my daughter chose for the journal she is about to ship around on a circle journal journey. I love this theme. I love the fresh idea of making a decision to do something, and just leaping in head first and doing it! I love the adventure and excitement that it affords...
I love living.

So much of my life I have spent preparing for something. I remember in college... mulling over my classes and many subjects to be studied and learned about... mapping out how much time to spend on each subject and when to study for each class. The crazy thing was that I spent so much time planning and preparing that I had little time left to do the things I was planning to do.

I did this with all sorts of things. I lived in the future... not enough in the present. I planned exercise programs, study schedules, scripture study plans, daily and weekly goals and living routines where I would integrate a time and day to accomplish particular goals etc.; but I wasn’t always DOING these things the way I wanted to...

Now that I occasionally spend less time and energy getting all my ducks in a row or preparing to be ready, I occasionally find myself just diving in and doing the things I desire to accomplish. I may not know what I'm doing; I may not be prepared; I may fail over and over again in the process of trying to succeed – but now... I Am Living a little more. Now, I am learning. Now I am failing... and I am succeeding a little more, too...

I recently came across a video that describes exactly what I am trying to say...

Doesn't that just put things into perspective and cause you to want to take a leap of faith and at least try to go after a dream... even if you might fail?

I have a new dream I have been working on. Actually, my real dream has been to be a figure skater. I haven't actually tried that yet... But I am doing something similar. I'm plunking around on in line roller blades and having a great time with it! I know I really need to bite the bullet and get some ice skates to use out on the lakes in the winter time. Do you have dreams that you haven't tried to turn into reality yet?

"Few can reach the magic strains,
And noisy fame is proud to win them.
Alas for those who never sing
...but die with all their music in them."
(I'm sorry, I don't remember the author... tomorrow, I'll call and ask my dad)

I am sure that we all have music of some kind within us… and we never can prepare to sing without simply singing! I remember as a child in music class at church. The chorister told me she couldn’t hear me singing. I told her that I couldn’t get the sound to come out. She said to me… “…then just SHOUT!” So I SHOUTED… and low and behold... the sounds came out – and on key! I could sing, and didn’t even know it. :D We may never know some of the sweet sounds within us until we find the courage to bellow them out!

I have learned in life that I had abilities that I didn’t know about simply because I hadn’t yet taken the leap and "shouted out" so to speak. Now and then I will SHOUT; I've never yet regretted it. Sometimes though, I regret the shouts that I have only dreamed...

I wonder what other sounds are hiding within me. This journal theme has me wondering about them, and striving to look at my life to ask myself what other areas I would like to Take a Leap and grow in. What else do I want to learn about? What else do I desire to become? A great Culinary Chief, perhaps? A Scriptorian? Historian? Figure Skater (I know it sounds crazy, but I really hope I am not too old for that!)? Photographer? Poet? Motivational Speaker? Athlete? Personal and Family History Writer? All of the above??? :D

Life is so full of possibilities.... just waiting to be ceased. Imagine the possibilities! Are you ready for an adventure? NO - not "are you ready?" instead ask yourself, "am I willing to go on an adventure despite the fact that I don't feel ready? Do I realize that it is in trying to do... that I gain skills needed to become prepared to do? Do I have the courage to risk failing? Do I have the guts to get back up after failing and 'try, try again?' "

Sometimes I forget who I am and what I am capable of. It is so easy to see others as amazing, and to doubt our own abilities. But I know who you are and that you are capable of amazing things; do you? Do you know who you are and what you can do? Take a leap! You might be surprised at what you discover! ;)

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Secret to Homeschooling...

Have you ever wondered what the secret to homeschooling is?

I read a blog about this from the Latter Day Homeschooling blog, and I have to agree with what they concluded... But before I tell you what I now think, I want to first tell you about my past thoughts and feelings.

I used to be so afraid of failing. I was so afraid that I wouldn't teach my kids everything they needed to know. But I felt like I was the one God had entrusted these children with and that public school wasn't meeting my children's needs. This meant I was the one God was trusting to meet their needs. I knew I could not do it alone. I knew that I desperately needed Heavenly Father's help and guidance... so I prayed CONSTANTLY as I homeschooled them year after year. I never really knew how well of a job I did, but I trusted the Lord to guide me and just kept on homeschooling (with exception to one year... the school year before last {2008-2009} when I sent them back for one year to get a break). There have always been many things that I know my kids need to learn and many gaps that I see despite our best efforts.

At the end of last year I was asked to accept a stake calling as a Family History Consultant. I went to the Family History Center to be set apart in my calling and thought about homeschooling as I drove there. I had just begun homeschooling my kids again after taking a year off of homeschooling and felt really good about homeschooling them again. I prayed and told the Lord that my shift at the Family History Center was to begin at 2:00 in the afternoon... immediately after our school schedule freed me up for the day. I prayed that I would have the energy to school the kids, then continue serving at the center for 4 or more hours; and be prepared to school the kids again the following day.

When I was set apart for the calling the Brother setting me apart prayed for me in my calling... I sat there listening to the prayer with complete shock as I heard him begin to address homeschooling...

"I bless you that as you do this calling, you will continue to do a GREAT job of teaching your children the things of a secular nature... as you have always done. I also bless you that you will..."

My jaw dropped, and I cried tears of joy. I had no idea that the Lord thought I was doing a "great job" and "always" had (that is especially shocking... as you know how those sparse first couple of years can be). My fears were swept away and in their place was a peace knowing that the Lord was not only aware of all that I did.. but also pleased; he was indeed guiding me. Thanks to Him, I was doing the right thing.

After the blessing, the man setting me apart said, "So... you homeschool your children?"

"Yes." I responded with a smile.:) And I sat and peacefully contemplated on how thankful I was that I took the leap of faith and did it... even though there was no one there to tell me that I was right, and doing good. Though I'm sure I prayed and received confirmation that the Lord was pleased with my decision to homeschool... I no doubt - failed to always remember this at times when I was overwhelmed and found myself discouraged. Now that I had this additional manifestation that the Lord did indeed feel pleased with my choice to homeschool the kids and believed that I was doing a "great job"... it didn't matter what anyone else thought, and there was no more room for self doubt.

And because of this promise that I will continue to do a great job of teaching while I serve in this calling... I don't want this calling to end until after I get the last kid through high school!  :D

I remember talking to another mom who homeschools her children some time ago. She was feeling so insecure about her abilities. I told her that I had felt very insecure about my abilities, too, but that I believed this to be a great blessing to our family. I explained that because I knew I couldn't do it alone, I prayed constantly for inspiration and made the Lord my partner. I knew that I needed to totally rely upon Him for guidance and that because I asked (plead actually..) for it, He guided me and helped me to do so much better than I ever could have done without His guidance.

I think the secret to homeschooling is knowing that you are not enough on your own... but still having faith that God will direct and help you; having faith that he trusted you with these children for a reason, and that he will not abandon you during homeschool any more than he would abandon you as a parent before or after schooling; it is knowing that if you have faith to do the things God inspires you to do... you can not fail!

What if you have kids with special needs?

I have kids who were born with challenges that affect their social skills, and have learning differences/disAbilities. Many people have encouraged me to send them to school with the belief that public school would help them to be more social. I will admit that I used to think along these lines; I even started a daycare in my home when they were 18 months old, then put them in pre-school a year early - solely for the purpose of trying to get them to socialize with others. I enrolled them in speech therapy at 3 years old as well (which continued for several years). These particular children, I kept in public school through the third grade.

Even though the boys had IEP's and special tutors from preschool on, by the end of third grade they were so behind academically that I was afraid to continue sending them to public school to do the work I knew would be expected of them the following year. Because of their "learning disabilities" the school felt firmly that holding them back would not help. The icing on the cake was being told by a summer school teacher that there was no use in taking the phonics book home for the boys to work from for the remainder of summer break, because "they were never going to catch up anyhow."

It was then that with the encouragement of my husband I made the choice to begin homeschooling the kids, so they could have a teacher who believed they could learn, and treat them like they were capable. Interestingly, their social skills continued to develop despite not being in public school. They weren't interested in sports, and didn't click with the kids at church, and had other obstacles not mentioned here... so their opportunities to socialize have been much more slim than those of many other homeschoolers. Non the less, they have made friends and had 2-4 boys over at our home regularly after school and throughout the summer months. Our home is the place for teen boys to be. It is great! :D

Though my boys are still quite reserved in large group settings etc... so are other kids like them who go to public school. They are growing socially. They are growing academically. They are growing spiritually. And though their rate of growth may not be the same as other kids... they are growing, and they will mature to adulthood just like everybody else. They were late learning to read, but hearing them read now, one would never know it. I am certain that any other delays will also eventually become insignificant, and the time will come when no one will be able to tell they once struggled.

So again, the key to homeschooling... it isn't having genius children (though if you look for it you will realize that ALL children are blessed with genius in some way).... it isn't a particular curriculum (I don't even have one. I pick up various supplies from various places. It is completely eclectic); the key isn't a certain number of hours a day, or a certain method; it has nothing to do with money (our is done quite economically); it isn't a lot of things... it is one thing - ASKING THE LORD TO BE YOUR GUIDE AND with FAITH, following that guidance in order to DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOUR CHILD.

I know this isn't easy. There is no special formula to follow that you can get from other homeschool mom's that will guarantee success for all children; each child is individual and each have their own needs etc. This means the secret formula is stepping out into the darkness with prayer and faith in the lord that He will guide you to what your child(ren) need... and just doing it consistently. There have even been many times in which I did not know what I would teach the kids until the night before... or even the morning of. I have never had a years worth of plans in advance. I have prayed constantly and been inspired and led by the Lord one step at a time. This may sound irresponsible, but it is actually a matter of having a tentative plan, yet knowing that I must pray daily for direction and being open to receive that direction and allow plans to change.

I hope this post helps you homeschooling mom's who know you are not enough to do this big job. I hope you will remember that you don't have to be... that if you thought you were enough - you wouldn't lean on the Lord or be asking Him to be your partner.

I hope you will know that with His help, there is no one who can do better! He loves your children. He loves you. He believes in you, that is why He sent them to YOU. And if you know in your heart that homeschooling is what is best for your family... make Him your partner and go forward with faith.

If you do this - if the Lord is your partner, you can not fail. :D

Good Luck, and Happy Schooling!

Corine ;)

Learning to Read through the Scriptures

I have a cool story for you... :D

When my husband, Miles, was 14, he couldn't read very well; he struggled just to read simple one syllable words due to learning differences (which some call "disabilities," but we know better than that ;).

One day Miles came home and saw two young men wearing suits, ties, name badges, and holding books in their hands. The moment Miles saw these young men and a book they were holding - everything in his life began to change.

Miles recognized the Bible, but there was another book he didn't recognize. He was intrigued by the book so turned his head sideways to get a better view of the letters without seeing them upside down or sideways. As he struggled to read the title... a good feeling came over him as well as a voice into his mind that told him "this book is true..." 

The title of the book was The Book of Mormon.

As he struggled daily to read the Book of Mormon, Miles learned to read. He read it because he wanted to know what it said; he had been blessed with a testimony that the words in the book were true before he even read it, so his desire to read it was great. And though he had tutors at school who tried to teach him to read for many years... nothing worked like simply reading from the scriptures.

A few years later, from the ages of about 21-23, he followed in the footsteps of the fine young men who visited his home and introduced the Scriptures to him and his family by joining the rank of "Missionary." How can you not want to share with others something that has totally changed and made better your life? Miles served a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Utah (what a great place to be for a new convert of the church who was still learning the gospel). {BTY - An elderly woman he knew sold cinnamon rolls during his mission to help support him while he was out serving. This has always been a blessing to Miles and has caused him to want to serve others more. Cool, eh? ;)}

Miles and one of the Elders he served with.
Miles is the Elder on the right.

Today, this fine young man of mine is now a strong and faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who reads from the Book of Mormon to our children daily (usually :) along with the Bible etc.

And when our children struggled to learn to read... you can probably guess what I did...  That's right, I pulled out the scriptures, and they too, learned to read. :D

9:30 PM... later the same day I posted this blog post...

PS. See the comments section for more history on the kids' reading history. ;D

PPS. Miles went on to get a Masters Degree in college and start his own business as a sailboat dealer. He is also creating an online boating publication that is absolutely amazing! He is amazing! The things a person can overcome are amazing! Isn't life amazing? :D

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I love Homeschooling :D

Hi! This week has been great! We finally started homeschooling again... and I love it! School starts late in our corner of the planet, and our family started a week later than the public schoolers... but we're finally started and I am loving it! :D

The kids are older and more independent self starters than when they were younger; I am loving it! :D One of the boys (Dausen) is being a great example to his brothers by jumping onto his studies the instant he gets home from early morning seminary. He gets his required studies done early, and has plenty of time to work on his own personal electives (Photo Shop, pencil drawing, and guitar). I'm really very happy for him! I've said it before and I'll say it again... this boy is every homeschooling mother's dream child! Oh, but I have one of those challenging homschoolers, too... who wonders why any of it is important; and I really have to stay on top of things with him. I love the opportunity for balance these boys provide me! I thrive on accomplishing things - which just isn't possible without challenge... so I love what this challenging kid does for me!

Another thing I love about homeschooling right now is watching my kids enjoy family time more again. They have gone from being completely hungry for more time with friends (though they had it constantly all summer long), to wanting more time with the family again. And the more time we spend together as a family, the better behaved they are and the more they love each other. I'm amazed at how instantly I see small positive changes when our family gets back to spending quality, quantity, time together. I love it! :D Homeschooling is such a blessing to us.

This coming week our studies will increase, as we will be adding another subject as well as time out of the house to get some PE in. I'm looking forward to this time with my boys. I think they are going to really love it! We will probably spend much of our PE time swimming. The twins are incredible swimmers, so I want them to keep it up. I think I'll get them into Life Guard training so they can be life guards for work next summer if they choose to. The youngest really needs to swim more... it isn't yet a strength for him so this will be extra good for him. I hate to admit it, but it will be good for me too. :O

PS Miles is taking an active approach to being involved in homeschooling this year. Yeah! He's pretty much taking over the mentoring on Fridays. Yesterday he took the boys to a couple of fish hatcheries and to the Cabinet Gorge Dam (photos correspond...). He is teaching them Geography, Marine Biology, Earth Science, and some other aspects of Social Studies. I'm excited for the fun hands on learning and bonding time the boys will have with their dad each week. :D Our plans for this coming year are going to be so much fun to bring into reality!

PPS I still plan to write a page about each of my kids. Hopefully I will add them by the end of this month (1 down, 3 to go).


Stop looking here if you don't want to see a decayed frog... "boys stuff" to follow:


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Labels and Packaging...

I saw a glimpse of a movie last night in which a masked man was asked to take off his mask to show his true identity and responded with "No. The face behind this mask is not me." He continued on with a list of what else he was not... but said that it was the ideas he represented that made him who he was.

This, coupled with a blog I read (thank you Patty Ann! ;), got me to thinking about the packages we all come in, and the labels we are given based on various sets of criteria: statuses, reputations financial stability, body size and shape, etc., and of how the things that stand out so boldly... are simply the outer packaging which hold the true person within. Too many people live life as if the package the product. They forget that it isn't until you really get to know a person and what is in their heart that you get to open up that package of reputation and appearance and see them for who they really are.

The blog that I mentioned above (which inspired me to sit down and write this) talked about packages we receive in the mail, and about how the size of the package and the degree to which it is adorned has nothing to do with the real value of the real treasure inside of the package. I thought about how people are like that. We all come in packages that completely cover our true identities. On the outside we could be plain, simple, and small, or we could be glamorous, prestigious, famous, beautiful, etc. But all of that does not tell what a person is truly like. Buried underneath all of that is the true gift/person waiting to be discovered, appreciated, loved and enjoyed.

Our lives are like that. In a way, we often don't even see ourselves for who we really are; sometimes we don't see our true selves any more clearly than anyone else does. Sometimes we get so caught up in the package and labels that we forget to even look inside. If we could only see our own true potential, and what we already are within ourselves... I think we would astound ourselves.

How valuable the merchandise really is beneath all the packaging; and how insignificant are the labels.

And what are the labels? They are different things to different people. It is whatever a person focuses on and notices. For some, it is a level of hierarchy - a status symbol among men. For various people it could be any of the following: degree of spirituality or wisdom; physical stature and beauty; a talented or untalented person; rich or poor; young or old; smart or stupid; drunk or sober; happy or sad; good or bad; a child of a drug addict or child of stable and sound parents; bond or free... the possibilities are endless. The label could be anything at all to any one of us depending upon our perspective and focus, on what it is we are looking to see.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all learn to see both ourselves, and others as the beautiful people that our Father in Heaven created us to be. This is one of the fabulous traits of a person who is blessed with the gift of discernment. They can see people for who they really are and not be blinded by appearances; they can see the best part of a person - even underneath all the outward and sometimes very misleading packaging. This is my hope for myself and for every person... that we can all learn to see the good in each other not be deceived by the outer packages that the world wraps us up in.

I also hope that when others see us in a way that is not encouraging or true, that we will remember that these labels are only packages, and that we can break ourselves free from the packaging and labels that would bind us down if we believed them. WE CAN show the world and more importantly... ourselves... the beautiful person inside just waiting to come out.

I hope that we will remember that we are created by a loving Father in Heaven who wants the best for each and every one of us and makes great things possible for us all. He loves us all and has made us all capable of wonderful beautiful things.

Find the courage within you to tear free from the negatives labels and chains.

You were created to do and be wonderful things; so if anything is dragging you down... get up and show the world what you are made of. If there are people who doubt your abilities or true divine nature, prove those doubters wrong! Get up and "Rise and Shine!" for all the world to see the great work that God created when He made you.

Corine ;D

PS You are wonderful...

Here it is, another day, this post has already been seen; but I just found another video that I have to add; but I'll just add the link this time.

:D  Enjoy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Home Schooling... or Public Schooling?

Hi! :D The public schools started up again in our part of the state of Idaho this week. As you know... we do our learning AT HOME ~ and ABROAD - not at the public schools. So it came as quite a shock to me when my sons began begging me to send them to public school. Since I have been going through my own internal struggles lately - I've been like a zombie. So it wasn't too hard to twist zombie mom's arm into considering the change of schools. And I really can't blame them for not wanting to stay home with the zombie. :O

But then last night I began to feel better. Like magic, my outlook
improved. Life was again seen through the eyes of a clearer view. I wasn't depressed any more! My brain started working again!! Suddenly, that break I would be getting wasn't the only thing I saw when I thought about public schooling!!! I wasn't a zombie any more!!!! :D And so, this morning I said to my husband...
"Miles, I've been thinking about the decision to let the boys go to public school, and have been wondering why we decided to let them do that?"
Miles was somewhat wishy washy, and sluggish with his shoulders in his response...
"I don't know. You said they could."
I took a double take over the word "you" but ignored it and went on with questions.
"Yeah... I know I considered it; but WHY? I've been weighing it out the pros and con's... thinking of the things I planned to teach them that they will never learn at public school. Thinking about the mommy influence I have to teach them things of an eternal nature during homeschooling and of the leverage I will lose if they go to school and are sure to come home and say, 'no mom. I'm NOT reading that, I already went to school today!' I've thought of the wasted time in public school, and the lousy social environment in which you "get what you get" rather than choosing a positive environment. I think about the time I am looking forward to spending with them while their friends are all at the public schools, and of the blissful fact that during this time... I get to have them all to my self. :) I think of the vacations we can spontaneously take as a family - while we home school. I think of the educational opportunities I have in mind for them which are not offered in high school, and which they won't have time for if they go. I think of all this, and I wonder... WHY are we considering letting them go to school full time?"
And all he could say was, "I don't know; I guess because they wanted to go to be with their friends." And then I thought about the fact that they AREN'T even going for the academics, and of the fact that they will learn better if they are doing something with the intention of learning. I remember when I was home-schooled and then decided to go back to public school just to get to know kids more quickly after my family moved to a new location.  I wasn't going for the education either. I was going to SOCIALIZE and believe me, it showed with my grades! I skipped classes to hold informal private counseling sessions for my friends. I didn't care what it did to my grades... I had friends to help, and they were a much higher priority. I don't recall doing a lick of homework. Not a lick!... until I went to college; because when I went to college I was going for the education, and I loved it! And believe me, it showed in my grades! ;)

All of this quickly ran through my mind. And then I remembered times in my youth in which I loved home schooling and taking just a class or two at the local High School (fun classes like cooking). So I thought about the Honors Government and AP Government classes offered at the local public college prep Charter school and suggested to my husband that maybe we could home school them for the most part, but let them go to charter for these classes. Miles looked at me with big eyes.
"Government class. Are you sure you want to do that? What views do you think the teachers will be coming from?"
Oh my gosh! My wheels started turning... My mouth fell wide open... and then I looked at him with big eyes and asked,
"and we were talking about sending them there - full time!"
 We both laughed.

And then there were the boys feelings and desires to consider. They are thinking of going to socialize, so they need fun relaxed classes while there. I decided to stick with the original plan of enrolling them in fun electives at high school, and/or just getting them involved in other activities outside of school for their social life.

There are opportunities for my kids to have good social lives; I need to look for them, and take them! Another thing I can do is continue welcoming the kids' friends over and making our home the "neighborhood hang out station". ;) There are kids here at our home constantly during the summer months, as well as after school and on the weekends during the school year. It is very cool.

So... what do you think? Will my kids be OK if they don't go to public school again this year?

(Above photo taken on line from bing images.)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I added a page to my site today! :D

I added a page to my blog today... Check it out, it's about my daughter, Mindy. :D


Hi. :D ~ I would like to introduce you to one of the most amazing young women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Mindy Moore... my daughter.   :D

Had she been my age instead of nearly 21 years younger than I am... we would have hung out together and been amazing friends. We would have gone to the mall together and had our photo taken together (we should do that again!)... we would have slumber parties together... talk with each other late into the night; sing karaoke together; laugh together at each other and at ourselves; play cards now and then; taken photos of each other (even in the dressing room at a Ross... for the sake of getting photographs of ideas for characters in the stories she writes ;); browse together at the local fairs... especially Art on the Green and the Hayden Days fairs; We would have been each other's therapists; shared secrets with each other; totally admired and respected each other; had a blast together... we would have been AMAZINGLY CLOSE FRIENDS!

And the cool thing is, even though we are 21 years apart... even though we are an actual and total generation apart... even though a lot of other people say to their daughters, "I can't be your friend, I have to be your mother;" I don't say that. Criticize me if you want to; I don't care! I have to do what works for me and my daughter (OK... I am her "mom" first, but I am also a friend). We are great friends, and we do... DO all these things. :) (I am so blessed!)  

Let me tell you a little about Mindy. She is the most amazingly compassionate and kind person I know. She has the gift of empathy; she KNOWS what you feel, and she CARES. She knows what to say, and how to say it. And she does. Ever since she was a little baby she has been displaying deep, meaningful compassion for others. When she was a baby, it used to crack her dad and I up as we would watch her notice a child crying and quickly crawl over to the child and with all the energy of her tiny little body and huge soul - she would comfort that 3 times larger than her child...  you would think she was the child and the child was the baby. She was way beyond her years.

Mindy is still beyond her years. On a regular basis, Mindy surprises us all with the wisdom and compassion of an ancient Goddess (Can I say that? It just sounds so cool! LOL). She is somewhat quiet and not at all hyper or in a rush to do anything. She can seem to be standing there - not doing anything - but don't let that fool you. Deep inside is a woman of great activity. Within her are synapses firing right and left... multiplying like mad and accomplishing amazing feats. She is thinking things most people never dream of. She is feeling things more deeply than most people could handle feeling. She is living in a quiet, meditating and thoughtful way... she is - A spiritual and intellectual genius! She is quite and still. And then all of a sudden she will reverently and slowly say something... deeply profound... wise beyond her years ~ and it absolutely takes your breath away.

Mindy is a reader and a writer. She has been doing both for as long as I can remember. As a toddler I read huge stacks of golden books to her each night before she went to sleep (yes... really; she was very demanding! And... I LOVED cuddling with her and rocking her as I read to her, so I was glad she demanded it. :). I did not send her to public school until the second half of Kindergarten; I taught her to read and write first, then sent her when I got too busy to continue. When her teacher assessed her she informed me that it was obvious to her that Mindy had been to a "really good" school and had a "great" teacher; she was WAY ahead. I told her teacher, "Thanks for the compliment - but honestly, she was just blessed with the talent. :)" She has always had several books that she is reading all at once and has read hundreds of classics. If only I had read a tiny portion of the books she has read in her life so far. It puts me in awe.

But Mindy loved learning at home so much more than at school and frequently plead with me to teach her at home. Things worked out her way; she was home schooled off and on until Junior High, and then completely self taught from Jr High on. She was always sort of a homebody. Completely self directed and self driven, she continued to write and joined various writing clubs and forums to share her stories on. She also taught herself to be a computer pro and has helped her dad and I a great deal over the years (her dad and I are both quite comfortable with the computer... but this kid cracks codes and can figure out anything in a jiffy). She went through a phase of creating amazing music videos as a past time a couple of years ago (with the Windows Movie Maker, which doesn't have a lot of special effects... but her talent did the job). I'm impressed with them and may add a link here so you can view them on you tube.

Speaking of responsibilities, Mindy has always made me proud in the way she is so responsible. I'll never forget how wonderfully cheerful she learned to sew (around the age of 7) because she was responsible for a hat tearing and needed to sew it up. She has always acknowledged her duty and with a willing and cheerful heart has been willing to make things right. If she breaks it, she buys it or fixes it. And she doesn't ever ask for a free ride. She works for everything she has. I am proud of her for babysitting to buy her first car so she could get a job and have a car to get to work with. I must show you some photos; I'm so proud of her! :D Let me just first tell you that her old beater car looks awful (actually, Mindy and I both sort of think the multi colors look cool ;); but it runs and it was affordable! :D

Here is where Mindy works...

Here is Mindy, sitting on her beautiful car! :) ...which by the way, she LOVES...

because it is hers, and because it has a CD player and great speakers!

I almost forgot to tell you about Mindy and her sailing experience. I used to call her my little dolphin because she was is addicted to the water. We moved near the Coeur d'Alene Lake when she was 9.5. She took to water like a fish and could often be found at the end of a dock - jumping in and diving down 15 feet below to bring up rocks etc. from the lakes floor. When she wasn't diving or swimming she could be found sailing.

It was this summer at the age of 9.5 that she got to learn to sail. She was so good at it that the following year she was participating in a youth sailing event that her father and I were helping out with through the "Fast and Fun Program". The man who was running the program was short on captains. I recall looking around the beach to see if there were any adults nearby who might be able to help out. Before I could find anyone, I was surprised to hear the manager point to 10 year old Mindy and ask... "What about her? She looks like a great sailor; can she captain for one of the boats?" Of course, she was thrilled to! By the time she was 14 she was working with her dad on the beach as a Jr Sailing Instructor, and in the office of her dad's new sailing store... helping me with my responsibilities of bookkeeping, talking to customers, answering phone etc. At 15 years old she was a regular secretary there taking turns with me (mom :) so I could be home part time. It was great for me to have the break and very educational for her!

These days, Mindy can be found working at the Cafe' Carambola busing tables and helping out with various things in the back with the cook. She is becoming quite the cook herself; Mama Mia! She will one day make a man very happy! ~ :D ~ She cooks for the family every Thursday night while I am at the Family History Center as well as on what ever other night of the week she gets some kind of wild and creative cooking idea; the boys really love her cooking; I'm going to have to step it up a notch to keep the boys happy when she heads off to college. :O ~ Oh well... gives me a reason to pursue one of my dreams! :D Perhaps I will one day give her a run for her money! ;)

I have to head off to go somewhere, so this will have to do for now. But I must first leave a quick note to my girl...

Dearest Mindy,

Every day I thank our Father in Heaven for sending you to our family. I am so thankful for you, and so happy with you. You have far surpassed anything I ever could have dreamed of having in a daughter. I am SO PROUD OF YOU! :D 

Thank you Mindy... for being YOU! You are a beautiful, kind, intelligent, and righteous woman.

I love you so much!!!

Love always and forever,

Mom  :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Family Routine... From Chaos to Order

The topic that is on my mind today is not one of fun and games; and I hope it isn't boring. But it is without a doubt, a big part of this journey we call life, and I am going through it right now so I'm going to write about it. :) I hope this writing makes it's way to those who will find it of interest and benefit.

(This photo doesn't really show the type of chaos I had in mind to show... but hey - it's a photo! :D... Photo taken from

Being at the crossroads for my children is one of the things that are on my mind today. Life gets SO busy. And I'll admit... now that the youngest, age 12, and is not only able to care for him self, but has recently been hired quite a bit for childcare, it is SO easy for me to get busy with my own projects and not spend enough quality time with the family. I have had experiences recently (click here if you wish to read about one of them) which have taught me that as a mom who no longer has young children... I still need to be home at the cross roads for my youth/teenagers; young kids aren't the only ones who need their moms home.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I was very surprised to discover the huge negative repercussions that accompany not being home with the kids enough. My mom was always home when I was growing up, so I didn't have any idea what it was like to not have a mom home to talk to about anything at any time or to notice when I needed guidance even when I didn't. This I had to learn from witnessing the occasional negative repercussions my kids have suffered. I am learning that the best way for me to avoid these negative repercussions for my kids, is by being home when they come and go, and simply sticking with a basic routine in which we do meaningful things together regularly and consistently.

As far as the routine goes, I'm talking about living gospel principles like daily family scripture study and praying together as a family both morning and night as well as other gospel teachings; weekly Family Home Evening gospel study lessons and fun activities; working together; and eating dinner together as a family as frequently as possible.

Eating dinner together as a family:
I know it may sound strange, but the one we have struggled with most is actually sitting down at the table and eating dinner together. This is something that our family severely struggled to establish due to bad habits created while my husband and I were both attending college while raising our young children. We had different schedules - night classes included - to avoid needing daycare for our children. This meant that one of us were usually either in a class during dinner, or studying. This happened again a couple of years after school got out, when we decided to build a business. This bad habit was unfortunately... thoroughly established.

During all these many years of college and building a business, I was so exhausted so much of the time that it was easy for me to frequently fall into letting the kids eat when ever they were hungry... which meant we didn't regularly eat "dinner" "together" "as a family." We have eaten together "off and on" depending upon what has gone on in our lives, and how busy I am.

So sad... I know. And I'm here to tell you that was one of the WORST mistakes we ever made. If I could do the early years over that is one thing I would change. I would have been home and made and served dinner every night, even if it meant eating pancakes or cold cereal on the toughest of days - the priority being - being together.

So, as embarrassing as it is to admit this, dinner together as a family is a habit that our family is just again re-establishing (this time with commitment to continue for life!). The kids became totally accustom to grabbing their food and running back to a game etc., so this is an area which takes a bit of training. This is one of those situations in which a couple of the kids sometimes think we are trying to "ruin their lives" or "waste their time." But we are holding to our guns and requesting that the kids stay at the table for dinner and stick around for family scripture study. We are even doing this at the table to make the "staying" easier. :O - Hey, what ever it takes, right? The cool thing is that even with some resistance and complaining here and there, we are making this transition, and I can tell the kids are beginning to get settled into this routine and are actually (much to their surprise, I'm sure) beginning to enjoy this time together around the table. :D

Give permission to make mistakes and be OK with your best:
I can not go back in time; and so I choose to not beat myself up, but to instead remember that this entire life is a time of learning and growing... and it isn't over. I choose to learn from my mistakes and make changes in my life now. (By the way, great thanks goes out from me to all my dear friends who have been so kind as to constantly remind me not to be so hard on myself - both in the living world as well as in the blogging world! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I really am learning to take this good advice. :)

What does it take to go from chaos to order?
So, what does all this mean for me? Family-time is finding it's way back at the top of the list of priorities, where it should be. And that means diligent service and sacrifice on my part. It means I have to be consistent and on top of things at home... It means balancing taking care of kids and still taking care of myself. Being there to teach responsibility, and still managing to give them room to progressively learn to motivate themselves to initiate responsible behavior for themselves. As the kids gain independence, it gets easier for me to just spontaneously forget about everything and just do whatever I feel like doing. But as I already stated once, I am learning that family, at all ages, still need mom to be the glue that holds it all together... and motherhood comes with no vacation time.

Establishing order and routine:
Which leads me to discuss another change I am making... reestablishing routine and order (something that has been completely lacking here all summer). This means having time set aside to work as a family to regularly maintain our home and keep it clean. It also means the kids are expected to do their individual daily chores before they get on their gaming systems or get together with friends etc. The beginning of this establishment was met with some resistance with one of my kids (which I haven't had trouble with for years; possibly because we were so consistent with chores before this summer came). Thankfully, I am also seeing that a firm yet loving insistence, coupled with refusal to argue... smooths out the bumps and does the trick.  I also LOVE knowing that I can simply make reasonable rules, and consequences for breaking the rules... very clear, and then let the consequences do the teaching! :D (I used to be a terrible nagger; and boy did I pay for it!... so I'm loving my new parenting style!) It's also nice to know that no matter how the youth respond initially, firm and kind consistency soon win over their cooperation - every time!

Celebrate family:
So, with all the changes being made around here, as part of my own celebration of family this month (see sidebar link), I am planning on making a greater effort to again, firmly and consistently engaging my family in activities that help us to be closer to our Father in Heaven, and closer to each other. Namely... daily family scripture study, daily prayers morning and night, weekly Family Home Evening, and spending one-on-one time with each person in the family as well as spending fun recreational time together as a family. I am also planning on writing pages to honor and tell a little about each family member this month. Wish me luck! :D

And speaking of wishing luck...

...Here's to wishing you all a family filled month - without too much chaos!  ;)

Corine :D

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Hi! :D Have you noticed the link on my sidebar "Celebrating Families?" This is a link in reference to a month long celebration that I have been looking forward to. September is a month in which many people around the world are celebrating family (as an anniversary to the The Family: A Proclamation to the World). I'm excited to celebrate family this month. So, though it is 10:22 PM, I'm going to post a quick bunch of photos in celebration. I hope you enjoy! :D



It's all about family.