Sunday, April 18, 2010

The BK Jar

[What's going on?!]
I've noticed over the past few weeks our level of criticism, saying unkind things, and generally being short with each other has climbed a bit. as I enjoyed another wonderful Arizona afternoon I sat outside under a tree which is my self appointed 'inspiration' spot. I thought about the problem, and at first wanted to just have a firm (unkind) confrontation with the lot of them, and lay into them how unkind they'd all been to each other lately. However, after about a second of that I realized that this was a TERRIBLE plan and tried to lay my frustration aside so I could actually receive a little inspiration.

[Trying to Be Intentional + Pure Inspiration = A FABULOUS Plan]

Nothing came until finally right as we were beginning our family meeting and ready to address the issue it hit me, and I enthusiastically started telling them all about the new systems we were going to start implementing in our family.
  1. Person of the Day: Each day we'd have one special family member who'd be recognized as the honored one of the day. They'd be able to pick their seat first for meals, choose who says some of the days family prayers, pick their chores first, choose the plate/cup they wanted, and be served first at breakfast and lunch. (We tried to include all the situations that typically turn into family fight and let the person of the day always get their 'way.')
  2. Chore Cards: Starting next week when we are back to our 'normal' routine we're going to start a chore card system. This allows everyone to pick a certain number of chores each day (not knowing what the chore is) and put back one or two of the cards they choose. This will help everyone know what to expect at chores, and eliminate the complaining that comes when mom assigns chores.
  3. Assigned seating in the car: FINALLY (I've been thinking about doing this for years) we decided to implement assigned seating in the car that will be rotated weekly. We already have next week figured out. WOO-HOO!!! Just doing this one thing will resolve a lot of the drama!!
  4. Posted Schedules: I'm recommitting myself to type up a schedule for each day. I did this really well for a few months earlier this year, and then for some reason stopped being so diligent at it. I can tell a HUGE difference in the kids when they know what is expected of them, and how the day is going to flow. I think we can all appreciate the sense of comfort that comes when we know what others expect of us.
  5. The BK Jar: Ever since last conference I've been trying to figure out how to get our family to do a 'Warm Fuzzy' jar. I tried to do one months ago, and it never really took off. Well, tonight during our family meeting it hit me. Now was the time. It all started when I we were talking about our goal to be kinder and say kind things to each other. This conversation transitioned into a talk about coming up with a key word we could say to help someone who was caught in the act of saying or doing something unkind that would help them recognize what they were doing and get them to stop. Jarom and Megan said what about saying 'BK' for Be Kind. I loved it and so did Scott so I said what about starting a warm fuzzy jar around this goal we have for our family. We finally decided that anytime you were 'BK'ed' (caught in the act of not being kind) and were able to stop right away you could put in a warm fuzzy. We also decided if you stopped in the act yourself you should put in a warm fuzzy. And finally we said if you were kind to someone you were being kind and should put a warm fuzzy in. Then, we discussed what the reward should be when the jar get's full. Someone laughed and said...since its a BK Jar we should all go to Burger King (aka BK) and get whatever we want off the menu. The kids were thrilled, and I was too!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

So many great ideas out there...

Okay...its late, and I'm up reading, and having fun getting caught up on some of my favorite blogs. I just found this great idea, and have to share it. Its called a Friday Group, and think I want to start one...anyone interested? Here's the link to read all about it, but basically its a group of four women who spend 2-3 hours together each week and help each other out with whatever the host needs help with...LOVE IT!!!

I also LOVE this idea. This gal covered these homemade boxes with fabric...SO FUN!!!

And isn't this a stinking cute clock?! I'm trying to liven up my craft/sewing room a bit, so these are great cheap ideas!! Okay now I need to find time to do it...LOL!!

Loving Life!!

Its kind of funny because this week has been a week of extremes. Emotionally...I went from totally losing it on feeling this almost of out of body sensation of joy and peace today. Part of me wishes I could have skipped Monday all together, I mean it was just a terribly miserable day. Then, I think of the joy and peace I feel today, and wondered, if it isn't in part a result of the journey I went through this week (including Monday). Hitting a low helped me work towards, and really embrace the high I feel today.

Tonight at a book discussion I attended, we discussed Great Expectations, and at some point in the night we talked about the power of life's experiences, and the growth and perspective that can come from these times in our life IF we choose it. WOW!! What a great lesson to remember yet again. This life is about BECOMING not achieving or checking off a list of items, or getting through a day, or purchasing an item, or anything else that simply helps us climb another rung on the latter. NO!!! Its about changing, learning, loving, and BECOMING!!

So even though on Monday I lost it, today I am BECOMING something maybe even as a result of that experience on Monday. Tonight as I type this I'm LOVING LIFE, and excited about the unlimited possibilities that lay before me. I'm saying goodbye (yet again) to a life of mediocrity and HELLO to a life of INTENTION!! I'm going to intentionally choose to love, intentionally choose to grow, intentionally choose to conquer my fears, and intentionally choose to...fill in the blank, which will hopefully allow me to intentionally choose to become who I am suppose to become...this is so exciting!!!

In general conference they described this process so perfectly when one of the general authorities quoted President Monson saying:

"LEARN what you need to LEARN...DO what you need to DO...BE who you need to BE!!"

I think I'm going to put that up on my wall. What a great motto to live by. During conference they didn't call it TJed, but that doesn't matter. Over and over the leaders preached the principles of relationships, learning, growing, and BECOMING!!! These are the principles of the gospel, the principle of The Thomas Jefferson Education, the principles of freedom (for country and self), but most importantly to me they are the principles of truth and happiness. We weren't just sent here to make it through...we were sent here to BECOME GREAT!!!

Life is good, and I'm loving every second of it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Living in the land of overwhelm...

For the last few days I've been living in the land of overwhelmed. I have a nice list of things I need to tackle, and for some reason I've been doing everything in my power to create road blocks to prevent me from tackling them.

Yesterday was especially crazy...just one example is my sweet 2 year old who changed her clothes 6 times, destroyed my laundry room 4 times (and I'm in the middle of folding and washing right now so it was messy), decided to 'swim' in the irrigation, discovered the chocolate chips (and helped herself to them), emptied out 4 glasses of water on the floor of the the dental office (don't you love it when they have the water dispenser in the lobby), oh yes and helped the 1 year old sister draw all over her face with a sharpie.

Normally it would have just been one of those days...however because it happened to take place in the middle of a out of control purge week (which has made the house SUPER messy), I started to lose it!! So, as you can imagine last night I finally had a melt list was growing, the house was getting dirtier, and I was starting to feel sorry for myself!!! I seriously started to freak out...I don't like to lose control of my life, and I could see it starting to slip away from room, one mess, one child at a time.

After all the kids were in bed I walked into the laundry room to fold the last load of clothes, and discovered to my horror a VERY dirty laundry room. After throwing a 2 year old tantrum I pulled myself together. I had a realization and a decided it was time for ACTION not despair.
  1. I had a half torn apart...half organized house that needed to get DONE!!
  2. I had a dinner issue that I needed to fix.
  3. I had a exercise issue that I was SO done with.
  4. I had gotten out of our 'normal' routine and needed to get us back on schedule.
  5. I had a disciple/respect/dependency issue with the kiddos that was my fault and I was ready to get working on it again!
It felt good to identify the problems so I could figure out how to attack them. Here were my solutions:
  1. Purge Issue: The house would be put back together by Thursday!
  2. Dinner Issue: I was going to start doing the freezer meals next week!! And would cook one day for a month of meals!
  3. Exercise Issue: I have never been able to consistently go to the gym and now with homeschooling that is even more unrealistic. So I decided to do the Couch Potato to 5K program. I actually found an iPhone app that helps you implement the program. I'm going to start this next week on Monday, and I am SO EXCITED!!!
  4. Routine Issue: I am going to spend time on Friday thinking about what our current family routine should look like for the next few months. I'm then going to write it down, and post it all over the house!!! WOO-HOO!! I'm feeling better already.
  5. Discipline: I'm going to re-read Nicholeen Peck's book and get Real Love in Parenting and read them both this weekend. I think this will be just the shot in the arm I need to feel like I CAN be the amazing parent I want to be!!
I know it all starts with ME!!! So I'm ready to get the 'issues' I've been putting off figured out so I can BE the person I'm meant to BE!!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Art of Becoming...

Over the past week I've been reading Plutarch's Lives. I'm taking an online class for the heck of it, and we're studying The Great Books from the Western World. This is my second one-month class. I've learned so much and its hard to believe that only a month ago I didn't even realize that such a series existed. For those of you who aren't familiar with it...The Great Books of the Western World is a 54 volume series that includes the original works of important literature, writings, philosophy, history, etc... that has really made the western world what it is today. Talk about AMAZING stuff. Granted its a bit overwhelming, but its also exciting. It starts with ancient Greece stuff, and ends with Freud. During my first class we read Plato, Socrates, Aristophanes, and Aristotle. This month we are reading some of the writings of Plutarch, Aristotle, and the entire books of Matthew and Acts. I've finished the Plutarch reading, and I'm half way through Aristotle.

I must say that so far I am amazed at these men (okay except for Aristophanes...I'm not sure what to think of some of his plays). A few days ago, I finished reading Plutarch's writings about Lycurgus and Numa...and then this weekend I watched conference and my mind was swimming with all the uplifting information. Plutarch was an influential man (and was actually for a short time the king) in Sparta. He's agenda's and initiatives helped create the culture and stigma many of us think of when we hear of the warring city-state of Sparta. Numa, (whom Plutarch compared and contrasted him with) on the other hand was the second king of Rome. Unwilling at first to become the king, his legacy was one of taking a war loving people, and inspiring them to become a peaceful people. Ironically as Plutarch says, "...both were aimed at the same design and intent, which was to bring their people to moderation and frugality; but of other virtues, the one set his affection most on fortitude, and the other on justice. Numa did not out of cowardice or fear affect peace, but because he would not be guilty of injustice; nor did Lycurgus promote a spirit of war in his people that they might do injustice to others, but that they might protect themselves by it." Its interesting as I read more about these two leaders how who these leaders were inside and what they believed in on a very personal level made all the difference in how they solved their nation's problems and their ability to change their people's hearts.

Today, during conference someone quoted President Monson and it really struck me. "Learn what you must learn. Do what you must do. Be what you must be." How simple this statement is, but how profound. The more and more I learn the more I realize this is a pattern that is taught in all good inspired literature. We can not inspire, lead, teach, or help others if we haven't gone through this circle ourselves. Just as so many leaders throughout history follow this does Numa. He was voted in to become the King, because the people recognized him as a virtuous man. He was who they all wanted to be. He was religious, content, happy, knowledgeable, kind, authentic...Plutarch described him as "a shining and conspicuous example of virtue..." he went on to say, "virtue in the life of their prince will bring them spontaneously to virtue, and to a conformity with that blameless and blessed life of good-will and mutual concord, supported by temperance and justice, which is the highest benefit that human means can confer; and it is the truest ruler who can best introduce it into the hearts of practice of his subjects." Numa was able to turn a war loving people into a peace loving people by love and example not force. Numa was the person he expected his people to be. (I must digress here for just a moment to define virtue according to Aristotle. Aristotle defined virtue as 'fulfilling the measure of your creation.' Or said in another way 'doing what we were created to do!' Understanding this definition will helps clarify what I mean as I continue to use virtue as a defining quality in good men and women throughout history.)

Today I was reading Politics by Aristotle, and he wrote, "in some sense virtue...has actually the greatest power of exercising force...power seems to imply virtue." Then in conference I heard a talk preaching this same principle. The talk was about teaching and leading others, and how we can only do that when we ARE the example of what we want those we are leading to BE. It was as if this weekend I needed to understand this principle of learning, doing, and being. I saw it in Numa as described by Plutarch. I read it in the words of Aristotle. I listened to it in a talk from a general authority during conference, and in during a lecture about Greatness by Dan Ralphs on Friday.

I once heard someone say that information is simply a collection of data that can be obtained in many different ways...HOWEVER knowledge requires DOING, ACTING, and APPLYING all that information. The process of DOING turns information into knowledge, and changes me so I can BE who I need to BE! If I ever expect myself to be able to lead and inspire others (especially my children) I must BE who I want them to BE. It all starts with me. I realize with more clarity how much learning, doing, and becoming I still have to do so I have the ability to lead my family on the path of virtue...I have got so much to do, because I have to BE who I want them to BE! Thank goodness I am starting to understand the cycle of Becoming!