Thursday, October 30, 2008

WOW! A week goes by so fast...

{a whole week}
So I can't believe its been a whole week since I've put my thoughts down on paper. What's my problem? Well at least part of my lack of writing this week is the fact that my computer is currently sitting on the floor of our soon to be 'project' room. That is 100% my fault, since I couldn't decide on what color/stain I wanted the new furniture to be so for the last two months the furniture has just been sitting at the store waiting for me to figure that out. (I really need to work on my indecision.) Good news though I bit the bullet and made my decisions this week. So in a week or two my computer will be back on a desk and I'll be rocking and rolling again. I will be so thankful when I have an organized home school project room!!! WAY EXCITING!!

{brain dead mommy}
So its been a crazy week! I feel like I'm half brain dead to be honest. After going on vacation with Jarom and Megan for 10 days I came home with mommy amnesia. I had totally forgotten how to be a happy mom of 6. I kind of freaked out and am relearning how to be a joyful mother to six amazing kids. Its getting better everyday thank goodness, and I've learned a lot about myself and found lots of things I need to work on. I keep reminding myself it's the journey not the destination.

I'm almost done reading Jane Eyre and its been great. The book is AMAZING and so INSPIRING! However, just as powerful has been the journey of reading classics which started in September. If you'd have asked me a year or two ago if I was capable of committing and accomplishing something like 5 Pillars I probably would have laughed and thought you were crazy. I didn't think I was smart enough or capable of learning still. I knew I had a lot of holes in my education, but I thought it was to late to do anything about that. When I broke free of that mind set I remembered what I used to know as a child that its never to late to become who you are capable of becoming. That is an eternal truth...its never to late! Beginning the process of reading and becoming truly educated is amazing. I am still only a few steps from the starting line, but I am just grateful to have started the race. As I look forward to the journey that lays ahead for me its AMAZING!!!!. The possibilities are endless and my ability to live life to the fullest seem more possible than ever. I WANT TO BECOME EDUCATED and my life will change because of the education I choose to give myself.

{I blew the budget again...}
I have a problem sticking to our budget. Its not like I'm spending wads of cash, but I have trouble telling myself NO! So after much reflection I decided to publicly make myself accountable to stick to the budget for November!!!! I promise Scott.

Here are some of the things I am going to do to make sure I stick to our November 2008 budget:
1. NEVER use my debit card!
2. ONLY use cash for expenses (not including bills)
3. NEVER borrow cash from a future week to pay for 'wants' for the current week
5. Hold a weekly budget review meeting with Scott

Plan to teach the kids how to manage money:
1. During FC talk about our family budget.
2. Create a system for the kids to earn money so they can start budgeting and paying for some of their own things.

{my routine}
I've decided that its really important for me to be up and ready before the kids wake up. It is hard to do, but it helps me feel sane so its super important tome. This week has been okay, but I need to do even better. If I can just get myself up and moving before the kids my day goes so much better. Here's to trying to trying to wake up earlier!!

I am still struggling with getting our family routine developed too. I am trying to figure out what I am doing wrong and how I can get a better family routine established, because I know that its VERY VERY important. I feel like in order to get our family culture established it is essential to develop a consistent routine. I haven't figured out what is holding me back from really doing this, but I am going to keep trying to figure it out so I can get past my hold up and accomplish my goal!!

I am so grateful for my life and all the blessings the Lord has given me. I feel overwhelmed when I think of all I've been given in this life. I know that prayer works and that when we pray we can feel the Lord's love for us. I am nothing without God.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trip Overview

For my own records (you are welcome to read along) I am going to cover the highlights from our trip that I haven't yet written about. I have a terrible memory so I've got to get my thoughts down on paper or I am going to forget them!

On October 12th we left Phoenix and flew over to Orlando to make a two day stop over at Disney World. We hadn't ever been before and since the plane fare was the same with a two day layover we thought what the heck. I found a cheap hotel, but couldn't find a deal on Disney World tickets. Ouch were they a bit pricey, but we had a blast.

The first day we were able to hit two parks. We started out at Disney's Animal Kingdom which I thought had some really great features. Our favorite rides were the Safari (way cool) and the Everest Expedition a super duper fast roller coaster. Megan LOVES roller coasters so it was a blast to take her on all the scary rides especially this one.

I have to admit I was surprised with how hot it was still in Florida and I shouldn't have worn a shirt that needed an undershirt. I didn't repeat this mistake on day two.

Monday evening we scooted on over to Magic Kingdom for an after hours 'No So Scary Halloween Party.'

This worked out great because we were able to do a TON in one day, and Magic Kingdom wasn't very busy from 7-12pm so we were easily able to hit all the rides we wanted to multiple times. (We hit Space Mountain 3 times and Buzz Lightyear 4 or 5 times.) We also got our faces painted for FREE...something Megan had been dying to do all day long and had been willing to pay $15. She was so glad she waited for the Halloween Party and got it for FREE.

After 14 hours at the park we were tired, but had been having the time of our life!

Day two at Disney World we went to Disney's Hollywood Studios. It is similar to California Adventures. We had a great time hit lots of ride, but we didn't take our camera. Day two was all about hitting the rides. Some of the highlights were Megan getting selected to do the Jedi training by Star Tours, going on Tower of Terror two times in a row, experiencing 0 to 60 in 2.something seconds on the Rocking Roller Coaster, and just hanging out all day together. I felt so footloose and fancy free with only the two older life at the park was relaxed, kicked back, and easy.

On Wednesday we were scheduled to fly out to Puerto Rico, and of course we had a scare with a hurricane coming right by PR. Luckily it didn't hit PR and we were able to get there no problem. Scott's parents however we visiting some islands in their mission and got stranded for an extra day trying to get a flight back to PR. We actually ended up beating them home and hung out with Tenery the first night. She is awesome!! Jarom of course didn't wast a moment, and started searching for bugs right away.

The first thing he caught was a millipede and he was delighted. He also caught his first Coqui Frog and was thrilled. After that Jarom showed off his lean mean machine body to us all, and followed that up by raiding a package filled with candy that Emily had sent the family. He made sure we all knew that he could use the extra fat and calories so there was no need to limit his candy intake. What a hoot! That boy is to smart for his own britches.

Thursday morning Susan and Stan arrived and we were SO EXCITED to see them! It didn't take long before Megan was at Grandma's side helping her with whatever task she was doing. Here Megan is helping Grandma sort some of the missionaries mail. That girl is such a helper!

Later on Thursday we went over to El Morro and took a little tour of the Spanish's strong fort built in the 1500's I think. It was very impressive!

Friday we hung out at the beach all day long. We went over by where all the fancy hotels are, and ended up on The Ritz Carlton's beach. It was great! We sat in their comfy beach lounge chairs, rented boogie boards and surf boards...flew a kite, and basically had a blast. Unfortunately we didn't use enough sunscreen and we all ended up getting a bit burned. I guess that is the price you pay for hanging out on the beach all day!

Saturday we headed over to El Yunki (the rain forest) and did a little exploring. We all loved it and wished we could have had more time to spend there.

After the rain forest we headed over to Fajardi for a kayak ride in the Bio Bay. It was simply amazing! We paddled over to a bay and were able to experience first hand some tiny little creatures that use a type of luminescence as a defense mechanism. When you put your hand in the water it would glow. The wake of the kayak would glow, fish swimming in the water glowed, everything glowed. WOW! I'll never forget that. It was really dark and Megan got a little spooked, but as a whole everyone had a blast seeing something so unique!

Sunday we went to church nearby with Grandma, Grandpa, and Tenery. The entire 3 hours were in Spanish and boy did I wish I could understand more of what they were saying. I am determined to learn how to speak Spanish!! I would love to go back and visit again before their mission is over, but this time I'd like to make more of an effort to learn Spanish before we got!!! Sunday was also Jarom's birthday which I have already written about.

Monday we did a ton of exploring and finished the off with a horse ride on the beach, but I've already written all about that day previously. So I won't go into more detail than that.

Tuesday was our only full day with the Blackhursts who had arrived Monday evening. We decided it would be the perfect day to take the ferry to another island of PR Culebra...and this island was amazing!

The ferry left at 9am and we had to be there at 8am and it took about an hour to get there from Grandma's house so we ended up getting up around 5:30 and getting out the door by 6:30ish. It was an early early morning!

After arriving at Culebra we hopped on a shuttle bus that took us over to two of the most amazing beaches ever. First though we stopped and got some Pinchos a popular PR treat. Basically its meat on a stick. It was pretty tasty. Here we are all holding up our Pinchos. Cheers!

After changing into our swimsuits we started off on a 20 minute hike (and it was a hike) over to an amazing snorkeling and exploring beach.

It was an adventure to be sure! We all had a great time, but I think the boys had the best time of all hunting for treasures along the beach. Jarom found a bunch of sea crabs, shells, coral, sponges, etc... He was in heaven.

Grandpa even joined in the fun! What a great sport!!!!

Megan spent most of her time looking for shells and playing with Eliza in the water. She also really enjoyed going out with Scott and snorkling.

Denny and Scott went snorkeling all over the bay we were in. There was a coral reef along the bay, and it provided some great snorkeling spots. I had a blast checking out all the fish!!

After we were done at the snorkling beach we headed over to the most AMAZING INCREDIBLE fairytale beach. There were hardly any waves, the sand was like find powder, the water was almost tourquoise not to mention the perfect temperature. Talk about unreal.

Before we were ready to leave it came time for the shuttle bus to pick us up so we could take the last ferry back to PR. I hesitantly left the beach of paradise and headed back to the ferry. But I'd love to go back there someday. It was perfect!!

On the way home Jarom and Brigham had a great time hanging out on the ferry. They were so hyped up from a day at the beach that they could hardly keep themselves still the whole hour and half it took us to get back to the main island. What great little buddies.

{hanging out at Grandma's house}

The kids loved hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa again. One morning they helped Grandma make pancakes and were so excited to be big helpers.

Grandma gave Megan a big coloring book to draw in. It had both Spanish and English words in it and Megan had fun working on coloring it just so.

Its no surprise that the backyard was Jarom's favorite place at Grandma and Grandpa's house. We all got a good laugh when he decided to climb the bamboo tree. I just love his energy and exploring nature.

{Back to Reality}
I think I've now covered most of the highlights of the trip which is a huge relief! I have to admit it was bitter sweet to leave Puerto Rico on Wednesday the 22nd. I loved the strength and inspiration I felt when I was around Scott's parents. They are such wonderful people who I love and admire so much. Its been strange having them gone for so long, and seeing them again was comforting and exciting. However since we didn't take our whole crew it was so great to get home and see all the little kiddos again. They are such amazing children, but I have to admit after only having two kids for the last 10 days I was in a bit of shock trying to get back into the mode of a mom of 6. I am sure by Saturday I'll be back in full swing and ready to conqure the world. As of right now I am in survival mode trying to recover from the trip and figure out how to be a happy inspiring mom to all my little ones. Today I did okay, but I could have done much better.

I am so blessed to have such amazing children, and hope I can live up to the enormous responsibility I have to raise them right.

Here's to reality and figuring out how to cope again!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Let's See the WHOLE Island in one day...

So today was AMAZING! We leave on Wednesday we only have a few more days to do any last minute things we want to do while we are here in Puerto Rico. So today we planned to basically see the whole island...okay not really but we did end up seeing a good chunk of it today, and had a BLAST doing it.

Before I go more into today I have to get this side story down on paper, because it has really effected our vacation here in the PR.

So this story is kind of bitter sweet, but I'm just going to tell it straight. Jarom lost his Nintendo DS somewhere between Florida and Puerto Rico. It was his birthday present (that we gave to him early so he could have it before this trip) and unfortunately the much anticipated DS was lost before he even hit the be NINE. It was very sad because we didn't realize it was missing until we got to airport security in Florida, and we couldn't go back to the hotel and didn't have the number for the cab who took us there. We were already cutting it a bit close on time to make the flight so all we could do was call the hotel and hope they found it when they cleaned our room. So far nothing has turned up.

It's an expensive thing to lose that is for sure, but as a result we've had the best time playing interactive games, reading, and talking together on our many journeys this past week versus having the kids consumed with the DS games. So in a weird sort of way I'm happy we were DS-less this vacation. Its opened our minds and encouraged us to hang out the old fashion way without the DS-distraction.

Okay back to today.
We had a bit of a late start...for some reason we didn't hear Scott's phone's alarm. Oh well. We ended up getting out the door around 9:30ish and plugged our first destination of the day Adjutas into the GPS. It is a small city in the center of the island that has a really amazing natural lake right by it. I'd seen a picture of it in a magazine and thought it would be great to check it out. So off we went.

Detour One:
On our way to Adjutas we realized we were going to be driving through Ponce a city I'd read about that was suppose to be scenic and nostalgic. So we decided to veer off the highway, and make a quick stop in Ponce. It was getting close to 11:30 so we thought it would be nice to have a little lunch before we continued on anyway.

Just like most cities Ponce's city center was busy and parking was hard to come by. After circling around for 10 or 15 minutes we got ourselves parked and set out for a quick self guided tour of Ponce. The central square was nice...not quite as impressive as I thought it would be. But we did find a bathroom to use, ate lunch at a great little local joint we found out about, and I was able to get some new sunglasses (the pair I brought is MIA). So over all it was a success! The craziest part of Ponce was getting lost on some one way streets in a near by neighborhood. The homes were more run down than I thought they would be, but it was a learning experience to see what kind of circumstances they live in. Makes me grateful for my home back in the QC.

Here we are in Ponce's city center.

Finally we did find our way out and were off on our way to Adjutas and the mysterious lake. The drive to Adjutas was AMAZING!!! I couldn't believe how green everything was in the center of the island. WOW!! As we drove on the highway we all felt like we were seeing something right out of a movie or fairytale. The thick green trees on each side of the road framed us in as we looked out onto small towns. Thin wispy clouds were rising out of the mountains, and everything about it felt like a fairytale. For a half our or so we found ourselves in the middle of a heavy thunderstorm and rolled the windows down to enjoy the warm rain. I LOVE LOVE family drives and our middle of the island drive in Puerto Rico is now one of my all time favorites. Not only was the scenery to die for, but the company was outstanding. We chatted it up, laughed, and simply enjoyed each others company. One of my favorite things was how nice Jarom and Megan were to each other. I loved how they sang and played together all day in the back seat of our car. What a perfect day!!

Scheduled Stop One:
It only took about 25 minutes to get to Adjutas from only took another 20 minutes once we reached Adjutas to get to the first lake stop...and it only took another 30 or 45 minutes after this picture was taken before we reached the middle of the jungle. Which was so beautiful.

Everything about this island is picture perfect. Unfortunatly I don't yet posses mad picture taking skills so this picture of Scott and the kids standing in front of the lake doesn't really do it justice. Oh well! It does look a bit better when you see the bigger version of this picture, but I think you really had to see it in person to experience how amazing the landscape was.

Detour Two:
So right after we took the picture above we looked at the GPS and it told us we still had one mile to reach our destination. That should have been a red flag seeing how we were already at the lake. But in the picture of the lake in the magazine it had showed a foot bridge crossing the lake and I figured the GPS was taking us to another side of the lake so we could cross that bridge. I had visualized in my mind what it would look and feel like to have us all cross the footbridge, and it was pretty onward we went and the real adventure of the day began.

Pretty soon after we started driving we were all blown away by the scenery and couldn't really focus on anything else. The GPS kept telling us we were a mile away so we kept driving. We drove by lots of tiny houses on hills. Found wild wondering chickens everywhere we looked. Saw plenty of grandmas sitting on porches enjoying the afternoon breeze. But we never again found the lake. We drove through the most densely covered roads with thick trees and ground cover...took lots of pictures...oh and continued to be a mile away from the lake. After about 30 or 45 minutes of driving we began to realize that the GPS couldn't figure out where we were going when it started to tell us to turn and look for 'unpaved' roads that didn't exist.

We were an hour (so we thought) from where our next stop was and pretty soon realized we weren't going to make it even if we did find a marked road soon and were able to get back on the highway. About this time I kind of started to panic. We were totally lost in Puerto Rico, there weren't any homes or people in site, and the GPS which should have been our life line in a situation like this couldn't figure out where we were or how to get us to a real road. Scott thank goodness took control and suggested we say a prayer. After the prayer we reset the GPS and within 10 minutes were on a real road and actually knew where we were going. Whew...what a relief and answer to a very heartfelt prayer. I am so glad the kids were there with us during this experience. Megan pipped up after we were headed in the right direction and said 'I'm so glad we said a prayer. It helped us find our way.' How right she was, and how thankful I am for her faith. I need to have more faith like her!

Scheduled Stop Two:
Even though the GPS knew where we were again, my faith in that little gadget had been shattered and I was skeptical that it would know how to get us off the little back roads and onto the highway we needed to get onto to make it to our beach horse back riding excursion. Eventually I began to trust it again, and finally an hour and a half later we finally made it to Tropical Trail Rides. Scott had called them on our way there to tell them of our situation. We ended up being an hour and a half late, but they were so wonderful and brought in another trail guide who took us on our own private Martineau Family horse ride. It was wonderful! Grace our trail guide was so impressed with the kid's confidence and riding skills that she let us trot and canter with the horses. Which she said wouldn't have probably happened on the earliear trail ride. So it was a blessing in disguise that we were late. During and after we all couldn't help but smile constantly and all of us kept saying over and over again that the entire day had been a BLAST!

Okay one last story...
before I hit the pun intended. Megan and Jarom have been taking lessons for a few months now and the horses they've been riding are trained in the English style of riding and respond to physical and some verbal cues. The horses we were on were today were trained in the Western style of riding and didn't respond to verbal cues. Anyway, Jarom didn't really believe us and was convinced that every time he told his horse to 'canter' it actually responded to his cue vs the fact that the horse in front of him was cantering. Megan heard Jarom and too believed that the horses knew verbal cues. Megan was riding behind me at the time when and I heard her say over and over again the verbal command 'canter.' After about twenty times of saying it she was a bit frustrated that the horse wasn't responded. Scott heard her frustrated little voice, and told her not to be frustrated. He tried to explain to her that the horse responded to other physical cues such as tapping the horse's belly with your heels. He told her the horse didn't understand English and that was why he wasn't responding to her saying 'canter.' She sighed and with a sad voice said. 'Oh Duke (the horse) doesn't speak English. Well Dad its just that I don't know how to say canter in Spanish.' We all got a good laugh out of that. She figured since the horse didn't know English it must speak Spanish, and that was why it wasn't listening to her. So CUTE!

Megan and Jarom were both amazing on the ride, and they kept telling me that they can't wait to tell Cori their horseback riding teacher about their ride on the beach. Megan even accidentally got her horse to break into a gallop and is excited to tell her teacher all about that experience. She was giggling up a storm as she gallped passed us all...she wasn't scared at all. I have to admit I was a little frightened to see her going that fast on a horse, but she held her own and did great.

All the way home we talked about horses, and the possibility of getting horses of our own one day. It was so fun to see the kids trying to think of ways to make that work for our family. Megan and Jarom were inspired and so were we!

It was an amazing day!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jarom Turns 9 in Puerto Rico!!!

So today was Jarom's 9th birthday. He revealed to me just now as I was writing this that he was a bit worried that his birthday wouldn't be really fun hanging out with a bunch of boring adults. However he then told me that it turned out to be one of his favorite birthdays yet!! WOO-HOO!

So today is Sunday not exactly an ideal day for a 9 year old to have a birthday bash. Jarom was a super sport though, and didn't complain even once that he couldn't understand much of anything during church (since we went to a Spanish speaking ward for church with Scott's parents who are mission presidents here in Puerto Rico).

In fact Megan and Jarom both bravely went to Primary even though they couldn't understand much of what they were saying. They were so brave! When we got home they told us they sang 'Hello Hello' to them in Spanish. They thought that was great. They recognized the tune, but not the words. Oh how I wish we could speak Spanish!!!!

After church Grandma made us all a very yummy birthday lunch which happened to be one of Jarom's favorites Fettuccine Alfredo. He was in HEAVEN!! To finish us up Tenery whipped up a Confetti Chip Yellow cake also a favorite of Jarom's. After that Jarom was feeling pretty happy, and declared this birthday was turning out to be pretty great!
After our birthday feast and a short nap we headed out on a beautiful Sunday drive to experience a little more of Puerto Rico. Everything is so green and we were loving the scenery. WOW!! We made a short stop at an amazing beach that was full of surprises. Jarom of course immediately started exploring and looking for little creatures. It didn't take long before Scott and Jarom found some crabs, sea urchins, and a few other little sea creatures. His birthday was turning out to be better and better by the minute. Finding and catching animals is something Jarom LOVES!!!!

Right before Jarom let these two little critters go we took a picture of his light and dark crabs. We saw a couple really large crabs as well, but they were never able to ever catch those. Oh well...probably better anyway. I would have hated to have had either of them hurt by a crab.

To finish off Jarom's perfect birthday he decided to set a goal to capture 9 Coqui Frogs one for each year of his life. We all kind of smiled at him since the one that Jarom had been able to catch the first night we were here was the first one caught alive at Grandma or Grandpa's house.

No worries...Jarom changed all that, and with a little help from others holding flashlights he was able to find and catch 9 Coqui frogs. They are the cutest little frogs and are only found in Puerto Rico. One of the most unique things about them is the sound they make. Its not your run of the meal no. They make the most unusual bird like sound 'coke-ee' (like their name). I don't think Jarom will ever forget the nine Coqui frogs he caught on his nineth birthday.

Its been such an amazing trip so far! Its hard to believe we only have 3 more days before we fly home. Megan and Jarom have been excellent traveling companions. I've really enjoyed hanging out with them and Scott for the last week. What a blessing to have the opportunity to come visit Scott's parents here in Puerto Rico. Its so inspiring to see them working so hard and be so devoted and committed to missionary work.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Taming of the Shrew

I finished reading The Taming of the Shrew on Thursday while I watched my kids playing on the beach. Earlier I'd been swimming with everyone in the ocean which was a blast. Much to my surprise the ocean water in the Caribbean is mucho caliente (very warm). I was LOVING IT!!! We all tried surfing for an hour (Jarom was the best by far) as well as boogie boarded for 4 or 5 hours which was super fun! I am normally a total whimp in the ocean because I hate being cold so I was more than pleasantly surprised to find the ocean water felt like the temperature of pool water in Arizona in July. AMAZING!

So I guess you could say that Thursday was what I would call a 'Perfect Day.' A wonderful combination of spending time with my family and a good book!

Taming of the Shrew was very interesting and I really really (to my surprise) enjoyed it! I liked listening to it (I listened to a dramatized version of it while I followed along in the book) and was so excited that I could follow the story line and understand what the different characters were saying to eachother. It was a huge confidence boast because I've always been so intimidated by Shakespear.

Now I feel like I can conqure the world. I can't wait until I get home and have time to sit down and write a paper on it! (Boy how my life has changed. I can't believe I am actually enjoying Shakespear and looking forward to writing a paper.) I feel so blessed to have found the Thomas Jefferson Education Philosophy, and came to believe that I have the power to become anything and learn anything I want to. One of my favorite sayings right now is, "Its never to late to become who you were meant to be."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Learning is Life!

On Sunday Scott and I were on a long boring plane trip with our two oldest children. So I was surprised when I looked across the aisle and Jarom and Scott were literally cracking up. I was tickled to see them having such a great time together! However when I saw they were reading Jarom's very cool math book Life of Fred I couldn't help from smiling. They were giggling and having a wonderful time learning math. They read, laughed, and worked on math for 20-30 minutes before stopping...took a couple hour break...then spent another 20 or so minutes reading and working on math again. We were on vacation, but it didn't mean learning couldn't be taking place. I wish I had learned math with a smiling laughing teacher. AMAZING!!! What was equally cool was the bonding that was taking place between Jarom and Scott!

Learning is life and life is learning!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Focusing on the Vision

"Where your focus goes, energy flows, and that thing grows."

{5P blessings}
This year I am a co-coordinator in a 5 Pillars class and its definitely been a HUGE learning experience for me. As part of our training to coordinate the class we have a couple of conference calls I get to be a part of each month. I just got off of one of those calls and it was AMAZING, and I feel like I needed to write down some of my thoughts before they escape from me.

{Focusing on my weakness}
Its funny because last night I started writing a whole entry for my blog about a BIG weakness of mine. This past week had been kind of crazy and didn't turn out like I had wanted it to. I know this is due to a weakness I struggle with and decided to dissect that weakness in hopes to solve the problem and move on. It was more than ironic that this morning's call helped me see things differently and realize that I needed to approach my issue from a different angle. I love how the Lord puts things in our path when we need it most.

{The Cycle of Focusing}
For lack of a better word I am going to call part of what I learned today the cycle of focusing.

1. Hear the call...recognize I have something to offer (our family, children, world, etc...)
2. Admit to and own my weaknesses and/or objections.
3. Ask the right question, be humble, and recognize the answer.
4. See the vision.
5. Take my focus off the my weaknesses and put my focus on the vision of what is at hand.
6. DEDICATE myself to the vision.
7. Start seeing growth and result as I focus on the vision and NOT on my weaknesses!

{The Story of the Fleas}
In the book the Hiding Place a story is told of a group of women at a concentration camp being infested with fleas. Most of the women become frustrated with the fleas and the annoyance they are to them. However the main character takes the focus of her suffering and asks God. What is the purpose of the fleas? What is God's hand in this? Her answer is that because of the fleas the guards are staying away from the women preventing mistreatment or abuse towards the women. What an amazing example of taking the focus of 'ME' or my weaknesses and instead focuses on the vision of what God has for her in this situation.

I am trying to build a family that is cohesive as well as a Thomas Jefferson Leadership community that is cohesive. I know that as I serve my family and my community that I am far from perfect. I know that I have many 'fleas' (weaknesses) that will try to distract me from focusing on the vision and instead try to get myself to focus on myself. As long as I am focusing on my 'fleas' I won't have the ability to focus on the vision and will feel frustrated with my lack of progress and the enormous amount of flaws/weaknesses I have. If we get caught in our weakness it will become the message heard in everything we do.

Instead I need to acknowledged my weaknesses then focus on the vision by asking the right questions. If I can focus on the vision great things will start to happen! I really do believe this. Its kind of like the saying 'You have to lose yourself to find yourself.' Its scary though because I have to have faith in the process.

Pride is something that struggle with sometimes. If I work hard at accomplishing my vision whether it be in my goal to have a clean organized home, well behaved children, personal study, etc I sometimes can't help from wanting the credit for being successful with my vision right? Even though I know this is wrong its hard to overcome the natural man and realize that it isn't about me. 'I can do great things if I just get out of my way.' I need to remember that 'Great things can happen if no one cares who gets the credit.' When I hear things like this I know they are true and I want to get myself out of the focus and focus on my vision.

{Mother Teresa}
Do it Anyway
by Mother Teresa

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered -Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives -Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies -Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you -Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight -Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous -Be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow -Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough -Give the world the best you've got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God -It never was between you and them anyway.

{My Journey}
For me this blog is about journaling my personal journey through life so I can learn, grow, and remember all the amazing things that happen along the way. Its about having accountability with myself and others. Its about celebrating my successes and growing from my failures. Its about keeping track of what is going on with my kids as we embark on this scary yet amazingly satisfying journey of homeschooling. Its about recognizing my weaknesses and strengths. Its about being transparent and real even though that is scary and makes me venerable at times. This blog is about my life.

{My Focus}
I pray that during this self discovery process called life I will realize that my life isn't about me. If I can focus on listening to the voice of God, HE will let me know what I should be focusing my life on. If I can listen to His voice and act on the vision He has for me in this life the Lord will magnify me in whatever way He sees fit and I will be able to accomplish the mission I was sent here to fulfill.

Facing my weaknesses allows me to see more of my vision and this allow more miracles to happen. I think this happens because once we acknowledge our weaknesses we are venerable and are able to open the door to God ask for help and accept his miracles in our lives.

I have a long ways still to go before I am able to clearly see the complete mission the Lord has for me in this life. But every once in a while I am humble enough to see part of it and gain a vision for that part of my mission. Everything comes together for me when my focus is in the right place. I need to get this quote in big vinyl letters up on my wall so I can remember this principle.

"Where your focus goes, energy flows, and that thing grows."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Corn Dogs and Fall Break

{fall break}
Do homeschoolers have fall break? I had never thought about it until this week...

Monday the two oldest had horseback riding lessons. Scott was flying out and asked me to run him to the office after I dropped them off at lessons so he could get a ride with Clate to the airport. When I got back to the house after dropping Jarom and Megan off at lessons I looked in the back yard and saw Cooper with two neighbor friends playing. I was perplexed. Weren't they suppose to be in school? Then it hit me...fall break.

I have to tell you I hadn't planned on having fall break when I was visualizing my week, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow. We have the best neighbors and an awesome cul-de-sac to play with them in. So if the kid's friends are playing we know about it and how can I possibly tell them 'No' to playing. Most of my kids (maybe even all of them) are core phasers and the main jobs of a core phase child is to; work, play, and learn core truths (right/wrong, true/false, good/bad) right? So its important for them to socialize and free play. (Of course its also important to expose them to many academic concepts too.)

I guess what I am trying to say is that this week I had to keep stopping myself from being frustrated that I hadn't gotten more done with the kids. The truth of the matter is we got a lot done, just not what I thought we'd do, and not in the way I thought we'd do it. I am still a bit angry with myself I didn't do a better job this week at inspiring my kids to realize that having a break doesn't mean we are entitled to be entertained by electronic devices all day. I need to work on being more inspiring with my kids.

All that put aside we did accomplish some important things...we perfected our skills of playing with others, resolving conflict, and sharing. All good things. I just need to focus on finding joy in the journey! I also need to realize that the journey I have planned in my mind isn't always the journey that I am suppose to take.

Parenting my children with love and the spirit is my only hope to be the kind of parent I need to be so we can all find joy in the journey and each recognize our divine and eternal nature.

{corn dogs}
So Monday I quickly shifted gears and soon we had played with most of our next door neighbors. It was a party. For lunch Megan ate over at Maddie's, Jarom ate over at Tanner's, and Koen ate with us and enjoyed some tasty corn dogs. I don't know what it is with boys and corn dogs but they all seem to just LOVE them.

Cooper isn't sad. He just likes to make silly faces for the camera.

{Growing Up}
I can't remember which night this was, but one evening this week all our neighbors were out chatting in the front with all the kids ridding around and Brad came out with a wheelbarrow of broken up cement. All the little boys were eager to help unload the cement into the trailer. What a hoot. It wasn't long before someone was hurt and crying.

Jarom is turning into such an amazing helper. I am beaming with pride as I type this because I have recently been so impressed with the way he is stepping it up. I am so grateful because I have really needed the helper around the house. He is such a good boy and responds to my requests quickly and usually without complaint.

One night this week Jarom did most of the work needed to prepare dinner for the whole family. Scott and I did help out, but for an 8 year old I thought he rocked. What a little man he is turning into.

{grass reseeded}
On Wednesday we reseeded our lawn with 'winter' grass. I LOVE LOVE winter grass, but I hate the two weeks of keeping my kids off the grass so the kids don't ruin the seed. What a would be really nice if the same grass could grow all year. Wouldn't that be something! I have to laugh because until I was in High School or Jr. HS I really thought that everyone no matter where they lived had to reseed for winter grass. What a sheltered life I led. :)

Today was day 1 of staying off the grass. It went okay, but this morning the kids couldn't help but jumping over to the swing set and walking on the grass to get to the swing set. So we moved the energetic little kiddos out front to the cul-de-sac. A family down the street came down and played with us and before we knew it most of the kids on our street were out playing with us. SO FUN!! I was just grateful it kept the kids off the grass so I didn't have to keep after them about that.

{Megan rides again}

Megan learned to ride this summer at the homestead using at little 12 inch tire bike. When she got home were so proud she could ride without training wheels that we got her her own bike. The tires were bigger than the one she learned on so that was a bit scary, but the fact that it got so hot after she got back from the homestead, and I had a newborn made it almost impossible for her to practice from the last 3 plus months. Today she decided it would be different from here on out, and convinced Jarom to help her put her training wheels back on so she could practice. About 10 minutes later she convinced him to take them off because she was ready to ride with only two wheels. What a girl!

With a tiny bit of help from me and Jarom she was up and riding on two wheels in no time. She was tickled and little surprised that she remembered how to do it after such a break.