Friday, June 29, 2012

Scheduling in a "Relaxed" Home Culture

The Garden Bench by Tissot

This post was originally published at Latter-Day Homeshooling on August 5, 2011.  In order to better view the charts below, right click on the image and select "Open link in a new tab." 

PLEASE NOTE: You are welcome to print all the charts below for your own personal, non-commercial use. :-)

I am not a "scheduler." In fact, I totally rebel against schedules-- even when I make them! I've continually looked to outside sources to "fix" me, including great programs like this. But I like to be spontaneous! I like to switch things around randomly. And I like to go with the flow of my children's interests, so I NEED more flexibility in my home.

One day, I decided to simply accept myself and my family as we are, and workwith my natural tendency to work on a relaxed, unstructured-- uh, structure. *grin*

Something I learned from the "Managers of their Homes" program, was to split up the hours of the day into three separate charts. So I sat down and made a list of the things that we need to do during each part of the day, and then I made a chart for each. This way, we have a goal for what needs to get done, but we are not restricted by my inaccurate time estimates.  

Morning is from rising to 11-ish, Midday is from around 11am to 5pm, and Evening is from 5pm to bedtime.

See the chart below to see what we work to accomplish in the Morning.:

And here's what we work on through Midday.:

Here's how our Evenings work. (Please note that each of the activities listed under "Inspiration Time" are not done EVERY night. They simply include the things that happen through the week.):

I am a believer that scheduling IS important. but I am also finding that if I want to truly succeed, I need to work with my personality, and make sure that our schedule is working with our family rhythms, and not against them.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Motherly Intuition

This post was originally published at Latter-Day Homeschooling on April 5, 2012.
"There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity."~Washington Irving
A couple of months ago, one of my little ones was feeling pretty sick. As I rushed around to make her more comfortable, I felt quiet ideas come to my mind quickly and clearly. I was reminded of my own sweet mother and how she seemed to know exactly what I needed when I was sick or troubled. She always seemed to say the right words and do the most comforting things. And I pondered how I, too, instinctively know just what to do when my children are ill or upset.

I could easily attribute my
inspired thoughts to all my past experience. I am a mother of many, after all. But that doesn't come near explaining why this intuition has been with me ever since that first baby was born eighteen years ago. Granted, I have made some pretty stellar mistakes, but those seem to happen only when I ignore that still, small voice that fills my mind with thoughts and ideas I know are not my own.

I'd like to share an example from when I was a young mother with three little kids, one girl and two little boys, close in age. I believe they were five, three and two years old at the time. They all slept in a large room together-- the nursery. I had an evening routine where I would help them say their prayers and then tuck them into bed every night singing them lullabies until they drifted off to sleep.

My three year old son had a habit that I was trying to "help" him grow out of. He still insisted on drinking a sippy cup full of milk at bedtime. I had decided that he was too old for this habit, and I was happy when one night he couldn't find his cup. Secretly I was relieved!

I remember thinking to myself, Ha! Now maybe this will force him into giving up his silly cup!

As I helped my tiny son lisp his sweet prayer, he pleaded with the Lord to help him find his cup. I admit that I mentally rolled my eyes when he prayed to find it. I wanted it to stay nice and lost!

After tucking my babies in bed, I began to quietly sing to them. And as I sang, a crystal clear thought came into my heart.

"Check in his drawer."

I could see it plainly in my mind's eye.

No, no. I did NOT want him to have that cup! I was sure his little nighttime habit needed to disappear. That cup was not so important. He could go to sleep without it.

"He needs to learn this lesson. He needs to know that I will answer him when he asks."


I stopped singing and walked over to the drawer I knew it would be in. And as I opened it, there the cup lay, ready and waiting for my sweet son.

In that moment, I also learned many important lessons that have carried me through my parenting experiences. I learned that our all-powerful Father in Heaven hears and cares about the concerns of even the most small and simple of us.

I also learned that as a mother, I am a living, present tool in God's hands. Simply because the Lord has sent children to my home, He also gives me daily, hourly inspiration I will need to raise them. It's all part of the magic and mystery of motherhood.

It is humbling and a bit daunting to realize how close to God we need to be in order to mother our children. And yet, how comforting it is to realize that we have such divine, omniscient help available to us whenever we need it.

How grateful I am for motherly intuition.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Noble Fatherhood


Today I am so grateful for my loving Daddy, for my inspiring grandfathers, and for the wonderful father of my children.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Big Families

Our Family, December 2010

Probably because I am 24 weeks along with baby #12, and also because it's my baby's 2nd birthday today (Happy Birthday, sweet Eryn Mildred!), I've been thinking a lot lately about big families-- and why I've chosen to have one. It's not a choice that many make-- and in this day and age of rising infertility, it's a choice that some can't make. 

There are many women I love dearly who have wanted children, who would have welcomed big families, and yet the expected babies never come. This breaks my heart! I don't understand why I have been blessed with so many, while other's arms ache for more children. But I do know that God has a plan for each and every one of us. And He will let us know His will in all things. 

Which brings me to reason #1 of why I have a large family...

1. Each child was sent to my home because the Lord inspired me to have another baby.

Even though many might think that I am just ignorant ("Don't you know what causes that?!") or careless, I can assure you that I did not get married with the idea that I wanted, or would have, a dozen children. I have always had the conviction, however, that God's plans are flawless-- that He can see and understand things I cannot comprehend right now. And so when He prompts me that something would be best for me, I try and do it.

I am NOT perfect at this! As any of my long-time readers can attest, there have been times when I have been less than excited about having another baby. There have been tears and rebellious moments. But, luckily, the Lord is merciful and patient. He has dried my tears and given me the strength to face the unknown, the unusual.

Each one of my pregnancies and children has taught me, challenged me, and shaped who I am. The Lord really DOES know what He is doing. Trusting His plan for my life has been the best thing I've ever done.

2. I love and adore people!

I get excited just thinking about how unique and individual each one of my kids are. They are such amazing people to know! I am so humbled and awed that I get to be their mother. I love everything about them-- the way they look, their personalities, their hopes and dreams for life. 

Each one is so different and yet similar. I see bits of myself, my husband, his parents, my parents, grandparents, ancestors and forebears in them! I get goosebumps thinking how much one daughter is like several of her grandmothers, and I laugh when I mix my son's and brother's names up every now and then-- they are not the same, but one has the echo of another. And the list goes on and on.

I am happiest when I am surrounded by a crowd of people. And my Heavenly Father knows that! Every day, I am enveloped by people I love and who love me back. And they teach me, and challenge me, make me laugh, make me cry, get me angry, and fill my heart with joy. I LOVE BEING A MOTHER OF MANY. It's not easy-- of course not! But the payback is AMAZING.

3. My spiritual convictions tell me that one of my most important purposes is to bring children into the world.

For me, there is nothing as humbling and satisfying as being a partner with God in bringing His children to earth. I believe that we all lived with God before we were born; that we chose to come to earth and gain a body, so that we could grow and learn and be tested. Eventually returning back to God to report what we did and what we learned.

This personal conviction has been a driving force for everything I do in my life. I cannot remember a moment when I did not believe this to be true! I know there is a bigger plan than just the here and now. I believe that God doesn't change, and that His commandment to "multiply and replenish the earth remains in force."

Long ago, I decided that I would NEVER, EVER want to be approached by a child in the next life who tearfully asks me, "Why didn't you let me come to your family?" 

I could not bear to have one babe think that they are unwanted! I want all who want the chance to come to be welcomed and loved.

4. Being pregnant and having babies brings me joy.

I am in awe of what a woman's body can do! I love the thrill of feeling a baby kick and squirm inside of me. I love watching my belly grow round and full with life.

I love that it takes me nine months to prepare for the eventuality of giving birth-- the biggest test and challenge I have ever experienced in life! 

I love that I have to lean on God and my husband and my children so fully, that I must look outside myself for strength and courage. And yet, in the end, it's just the Lord, the baby, and me. (Though I also could never do it without my sweetheart holding my hand, speaking comforting, calming words in my ear!) We are all partners in the biggest, everyday miracle that can happen in this life. There is nothing else like it! 

I love the rush of joy at the moment of birth and the thrill of meeting a new little stranger, one who trusts me implicitly and needs me absolutely. How beautiful is God's plan of bringing life into the world!

Babies grow up and children move on. 
But they will always be my children and we will always be a family! How cool is that?! 

When everything else in life fades in importance, when hobbies and possessions settle into their correct places, tall and strong stands a loving, unified family. 

No vacations I could take, no material desires could ever own, no career I could ever have would bring me the happiness and satisfaction I have from devoting time, money and resources to inviting children into my home and family. 

And having children brings my husband and I closer together, strengthening our marriage. We get to be co-creators with God-- what could be more rewarding?

I love my large family. I see each child as the individual they are-- they are not merely a lump of clay for me to mold and form. They come with their own vibrant personalities, with strength and vision for their lives. I am grateful to know them, to guide them, to love them.

I cherish being their mother. And I would never have it any other way.

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