Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Early Retirement

I'm retiring from blogging.
I have a new project/commitment that I will be focusing on.
I'm building a team of leaders who are dedicated to having impact, on a large scale, on our society. One branch of that team is going to generate $100,000.00 in international student scholarships for BYU-Hawaii in the next year or so.
I will host a leadership call each Monday for our team. Our purpose is:
To Make A Difference.
It requires commitment,
a dedication to greatness, and

Wishing you well,

Friday, September 4, 2009


I believe that mastering the art of running a home and family is the greatest training for leading any organization. That is why I love to read leadership books. While they may have been written for corporate America, they often have themes and principles that enhance the home's efficiency and effectiveness as well.
Currently I'm studying Leadership: Great Leaders, Great Teams, Great Results, by Stephen Covey.

I love the title because I see parents as being the "Leaders," the whole family as the "team," and the family culture as the "Results."
I want to share just one applicable idea that came out of this book. Covey talks about organizations being able to identify their "Wildly Important Goal(s)." Also known as "wigs," for short.
Isn't that a great way of saying, "But what's the MOST IMPORTANT goal we have?"
Last night as I lay in bed, mentally preparing for today, I started to feel the ever-common emergence of stress and anxiety about how much I "had" to get done by the end of the day. There were so many things to do - scrub the bathroom, laundry, teach the kids, respond to messages, prepare Sunday lesson, etc., etc., and then......I CAUGHT MYSELF.
I realized that I was bringing on the "pre-breakdown" syndrome. And I said, "HALT RIGHT THERE!"
Then, I referred back to the Covey book - "What is my WILDLY IMPORTANT GOAL?" Followed by the question, "What's the one thing I can do (or do first) that would make the biggest difference in the entire day?"
That thought process knocked out the anxiety and stress and suddenly put it all in perspective. It was easy to answer and simple to apply: Teach the kids first - meet their basic needs of their bodies, hearts, minds and spirits. I can clean the bathroom when Sai gets home from work.
Problem solved.
Good Night.
(I've said this before, and I'll say it again, when I get a chance to meet Stephen Covey in person, I'm gonna KISS his bald head!)

Saturday, August 29, 2009


If I say, "parasites," what do you think of? Foreign countries, right? Returned missionaries who served in 3rd world countries. Guess what? People in the USA have parasites!
It is not uncommon or unusual for an American to have parasites. They come from our foods, our water and our pets! Most of the time, these people don't even know it! What they know is that they feel tired, mentally cloudy, and prone to sickness. Why? Parasites consume the nutrients we eat, so nutrition never gets to the organs that need it. Then, parasites deposit their waste inside of us. Not only does this weaken our immune systems, but it causes illness.
I recently met a mom who has a daughter that was diagnosed with Autism. Guess what was discovered later??? She had a WORM! A worm, eating all of the nutrition in her body and leaving her depleted.
Without health, we really have nothing - no energy, no mental clarity, no physical ability to SAY-GO-BE-DO! Income, travel, education, career, it doesn't really matter if we're losing the greater battle.
Are You Toxic? This is why we (the Naivalu Clan) eat super food and cleanse regularly.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fear of Pain

Today's thoughts while running BAREFOOT (6 miles) was about pain. In my experience, and from some reading, it appears that in general, people in our society fear pain; And those who don't are considered masochistic.
The fear of pain drives behaviors like avoidance, denial and self-medicating - which can present itself in many types of addictions: food, substances, sleep, RX medication, etc.....
David Wood has said, "That which we resist persists." We EMOTIONALLY RUN, from pain because we FEAR it.
Isn't that odd?
Where/when did we start fearing pain? Our ancestors, just a generation ago, let alone 2 or 3 knew that pain was a part of life.
Have technology and conveniences ... our search for efficiency (as author Chris McDougall says in Born to Run)contributed to this love of ease and fear of pain?
What is the cost?
Looking at my own experiences with emotional and physical pain, like leaving to go on a mission, natural childbirth, running a marathon, to name a few, have all subjected me to some degree of pain yet yielded life-altering rewards. The rewards all far out weigh the pain/sacrifice.
So...why do we fear pain? And what do we miss out on as a result? Where will this take us?
This leads me to think about repentance. How often have I spoken to someone who realizes that his/her choices have caused a separation from the Spirit, yet he/she has not attempted to repent because of...... a FEAR of pain, this time emotional/spiritual pain.
What an illusion!
Weigh the perceived "pain" against the joy of cleanliness, rebirth, love! Is there any comparison?
Going back to the physically "painful" experiences, like childbirth - pain is not terrible, it's a type of communication between the physical body, mind, and spirit. It provides information, guides and instructs, alters thoughts, emotions and behaviors; it promotes growth/progess/advancement.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today's Aspen Daily News

Dustin Franz/Aspen Daily News
Sikeli Naivalu, 5, poses for a portrait in Wagner Park on Monday. Naivalu, dressed as his favorite historical figure, George Washington, is a history buff and loves to go to the PItkin County Library.

Thoughts While Running...BAREFOOT

Still reading Born to Run, by McDougall. I can't believe the case he makes correlating injuries and running shoes.
Yesterday I told Sai that I was going to run barefoot.
"Are you crazy?" He said.
"Now that's funny," I responded, "How old were you when you got your first pair of shoes?"
"8 or 9." He responded.
"Does everyone in Fiji wear shoes?" I asked.
"And I'M crazy!?!"
"Ya, well, they've been doing it all their lives." He retorts.
"Well, then, I guess it's time I start." I concluded.

This morning at 5:30 a.m. it was cold. I walked across the street, carrying my shoes, apprehension flooding over me like a tidal wave. I recognized the fearful thoughts in my head, "I don't know how to do this!" Then quickly contradicted the imposter in my mind, "Of course you do...you were born to run!"
The ground was wet from rain. Yet almost instantly, as I began to run, I felt like a child, playfully meandering through the playground. It was easy and fun.
Running is fun!
Our society has killed the natural love for running by making it competitive and painful (through "technology" and "running shoes").
By punishing athletes with ladders and sprints,
By holding track meets where a small percentage of all kids are recognized for speed and the rest left feeling like they're not runners. (Big issue for me. This morning I recreated my elementary school track meet in my head. I remember who was there and who won. Then, while I ran barefoot, I spoke to them, "How many of you can do this? How many of you will be with me at mile 26 in 6 weeks? Who are you to say I can't run?")
Everything I'd read about Barefoot Ted in Born to Run was right on. My foot just knew what to do to avoid rocks and pokies. I naturally improved my posture and speed. And, did I mention, IT WAS FUN!
I've decided I'm going to train barefoot a few days a week. And when I'm with my kids, I will not use the phrase, "Slow down, don't run." If they start to run, I'll run with them. I want them to know that running is natural and fun and that we are built to run.
I'm taking their tennis shoes away and esp. Aisea's orthodics (communist contraptions.)
This is so fun and so freeing.

I challenge YOU, if you hate to run, GO BAREFOOT and revive your childhood joy!
(Honestly, I'm not a bra-burning hippy.....not yet :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


This past weekend I was able to spend time with my husband! What a concept! We (along with nursing baby, Josaia) went to Anaheim.
Here is Sai wearing Josaia in a sling and telling him about seagulls:

We had a weekend packed full of new friends, new information on nutrition and new motivation to succeed in life.

Hearing from doctors, nutritionists and individuals on the topics of our environment, our food, and our bodies, has excited us more than ever to get the best into ourselves and our children.
Here is a photo of me at the convention. May I just say that I gained 50 lbs while pregnant. Josaia is 4 months old. I have never gotten rid of baby weight this fast - nutritional cleansing works.
And, I've never had so much milk for the baby! Breastfeeding this time around has been totally different from any of the other 3 boys' experiences. Just look at chunky monkey Josaia!

Here we our with our friend, Ryan Rhoades, who weighed nearly 500 lbs at the beginning of this year. Ryan has lost 163 lbs in 8 months - no joke.

He won 2nd place, $2,000.00, in a fitness challenge. We are SO proud of you, Ryan!!! His whole life has changed!
More than anything, we were INSPIRED by life changes - health and weight are inevitably interconnected to accessing human potential. We beleive that physical self-mastery is the doorway to achievement, impact, and joy. When we are physically limited, we become mentally, emotionally and financially limited. Many people in our society are losing sight, losing hope, of dreams. People don't really dream anymore. The "American Dream," is more of a long, lost legend than a reality. It doesn't have to be. We are living our dreams and we are committed to being DREAM-MAKERS, helping others to rediscover and live their dreams too!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Just In Time!!!

I was JUST getting to the point of no return when it comes to my frustration with CDs! I love having kids songs and audio books to play in the car and at home, however, it seems no matter how hard I try to protect the CD's, they scratch within months. I've tried copying them and keeping an "archive" original, yet WHAT A HASSLE! I love what they learn from audio books and how their creativity and thinking emerges, (in contrast to TV). It introduces them to more classic stories and lessons and values being taught in age appropriate language and broadens their interests.

At the library this week, I discovered that they carry Playaways. Are you all onto this already? If not, check this out!


It's a digital book! No skipping CDs, no cassettes, just a book. Plug in the headphones and take it anywhere. You can check them out at the library...or, I just discovered that you can rent them via the mail!
This is incredible! I am SO signed up for 3 books at once - my running has just been revolutionized! Think about it...I can run AND LEARN at the same time! I am SO JAZZED!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A New, Competitive Sport - Couponing!

Did you know that "couponing" is a verb?
Apparently, it is.
A few months ago, while in Utah, I was able to attend a Coupon Class. If you haven't jumped on board with this yet, let me just say there is absolutely no reason why every LDS woman isn't doing this!!!
Internet has made the whole coupon world so simple.
Did you know that Safeway stores allow you to upload coupons right onto your store's discount card - no cutting, saving, etc. They just get redeemed whenever you buy the certain item and they're automatically deleted when they expire! I can't wait til every store operates like this.
Ok. Utah people, get with Jodi Gardner and clan. She'll teach you at your home, or at an enrichment, and it's so fun and easy.

Here's the direct website, but Jodi will help you navigate it and understand this.
For the rest of us, there are many websites, but I am falling in love with www.couponmom.com

Here is the Coupn Queen, herself:

As I've participated in the class and been getting started with this, I have been SUPER EXCITED about the 3 key areas of potential that, "competitive couponing," (as I call it, it's my new endurance sport) has to offer every family:
1 - Saving Money and Becoming Debt Free
By using your grocery savings and applying it toward credit card, car, student loans, etc., you can move toward being debt free even quicker!
2 - Building Food Storage - Hello! Am I the only one who knows in my heart that this is so important, and yet, do I have a 2 year supply? So imagine if Mac and Cheese only costs you $.09 per box on a sale day b/c you have a coupon. Could you get a 6 month supply of it? What if toilet paper is free this week? You can build your food storage FAST without spending a dime more to do it!
3 - CHARITY - true self-reliance means being in a position to help others, I believe. When Coupon Class Lady, Jodi, mentioned how she donates loads of items to the Boy Scouts' Food Drive, to homeless shelters, for Christmas food drives, and even to her niece who is a "poor college student," the light bulb went on. If you have loads of household items like toothpaste, shampoo, cleaners, and food, are you not totally in a position to help anyone who is in need?

As I am a greenie at this - I would love any veterans to share their pearls with me.

And I challenge YOU to join me in seeing who can save the most this month - LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

How Can I Teach All This?

Long ago when I was first introduced to Leadership Education, I was also introduced to my ignorance and poorly educated background. Now this was 2005, post-graduate school. Having thought I had accomplished something academically, I was brought to the sad realization that, while I HAD earned degrees, I HAD NOT obtained an education.

I had to choose what to do next: was I going to shrink into the dust out of anger, fear and disillusionment, or would I start over in "preschool" and begin my education again, or build upon what little I had, with a Leadership Education paradigm?

I decided I wasn't ready to die, just yet, so I opted for #2.

I worried, initially, that I didn't have enough knowledge across the wide range of academia to be able to apply this paradigm in a homeschool setting for my children (it can be applied in any home setting, even when children attend public, private, or homeschool. The home can still be a Leadership Education home). But as I studied the "how-to's," my fears were quickly dispelled.

A recent experience, once again, excited me about the path we're on. Sai takes the kids to the Aspen Physics institute each week for a kids' science night. They host a barbecue on the lawn and have prominent scientists from around the country INSPIRE children with short presentations on various topics.

The activity begins each week with a teenage brother/sister team who do a science experiment right before the children's eyes. Sai met these teen's mother and, upon inquiring about her kids' interest in science, discovered that they are homeschooled. He then asked if she or her husband were scientists. She said neither of them were, but that they had championed their children's interests and exposed them to great mentors in the field of science. The family had been to universities for courses with their teens and just linked them with resources for their interests.

When Sai shared this with me, my thoughts were, "And to think that I may have once worried that I didn't know enough to teach some subject to my kids! I love them and I love to see them love learning; I can do just what these parents have done - admit my weaknesses and bypass them with mentors who can tutor ALL of us in our family!"

We love Aspen! We just roam around each day experiencing so much. And yet my mind sometimes wanders to think of all of the places, people and ideas there are in the world. Sometimes I think, "There's so much to learn, who has time to sit in school?"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Today While Running...

I was thinking about the change process in therapy. The only thing a therapist can really do to help a client is by living what she/he preaches. Regardless of what the therapist says, no matter how true the principles or how effective the behavioral strategies, her words are only as good as her own practice of them.
Why do I believe this?
Simply put, I believe in the motto of Leadership Education, coined by Tiffany Earl, "Inspire Not Require."
I conceptualize the process of change as one when the inner soul or spirit of a person listens to the voice of truth (i.e. the Holy Ghost) and is motivated to act on that voice because of an example (an "inspiring" example) in someone or something they've seen.
That's why I believe it's a principle applicable whether you're a therapist, a parent, a teacher, anyone trying to motivate someone - we must all understand the power in the concept of inspiring over requiring.
Now, obviously, there are moments like, "GET OUT OF THE STREET!" When you just require a child to do something.
But as I listen to myself and my spouse and make observations in public, I notice so much of the adult/child relationship is dictated by requiring children to do things that the parent doesn't do. I want to improve on this.
This seems as effective as policmen on the freeway monitoring speeding. What happens? The speeder slows down while passing the policeman, and then speeds up again later. There's no fundamental change in attitude or behavior. In fact, it encourages a challenge of authority, getting away with something, a sneaky feeling of success. I see kids behaving the same way.
I was thinking of how impactful it is to inspire a child through modeling. My kids are inspired to read when I'm reading; they are inspired to run because I run; they are inspired to go to church when I talk about how much I love church......
they are inspired to eat vegetables because I eat vegetables!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

So what DO you eat?

I've been asked what we eat for breakfast if cold cereal is out. We do hot cereals: oatmeal (not instant, the kids call that "slimy oatmeal"), 10 grain, Zoom (whole wheat), cream of wheat, eggs and whole grain pancakes, etc. The greatest result was one day when I offered them "emergency food," (i.e. Life cereal,) and they said, "Mom, can we just have hot cereal?" It was so great to see their change. When THEY know what good nutrition feels like, they crave that. YIPEE!

I ran 13 miles today - It wasn't fast, nor pretty, but I did it. 10 weeks to go until the marathon.

In this journey, of health, I have desired to be a vegetarian. However, I'm stuck, because the recipes I look up online are so sickly UNHEALTHY! Tons of sauces and cheese and just stuff I don't want to eat. So if anyone can guide me in this, please do.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thoughts While Running

I'm reading Born to Run, by McDougall. It's about an indigenous Mexican tribe who are called the "Running People." They race for days at a time, without stopping!
It's brought so many things to mind about the power of the human body - it is a miracle that God created. Also about the fuel we put into our body. When I consider the diet of the Tarahumara (Mexican Tribe) in contrast to the overabundance of toxic waste we Americans call, "food," the correlation between our ills, disease, emotionality/mental illness, and inability to run up a flight of stairs is OBVIOUS!

Today I thought about my kids and how I had been a person who said, "We eat healthy." Which is now a phrase I chuckle at when I hear. The American definition of "healthy," and the body's own definition of "fuel," are not in the same category. Several months ago I did an in-house experiment; I just stopped buying packaged snacks. Just stopped. Crackers, mainly, were the culprit. The fast, throw-at-them-in-the-car-easy-to-vacuum-up-later kind of snacks. When I realized, thanks to Nutritionist Jim Rhoades, that high fructose syrups are a slow death, I began to see that they are in a majority of what I feed my kids in between meals. Then guess what? Getting lots of fruits and veggies in them was a challenge at meal time. Cold cereal - also went out the window -NO MORE. I had thought that just because I never did the cheapy bags and did Quaker or Post "healthy" cereals, that we were doing alright - WRONG! Behind the "nutritious" advertising - is high fructose syrup. This kills the immune system and is equal to putting sugar into your car's gas tank. Ever heard what that does to an engine? Well, do you value your car or your body more?
So guess what the result of the experiment was? After the first day of, "Mom, I want cheese crackers!"
"Sorry, we don't have any."
"What do we have?"
"You can choose between craisins, prunes, or apple slices."
And guess what? They ate it. Now, when we head out the door, the snack bag looks like this: celery sticks, baby carrots, apple slices and water bottles. Guess who gets sick less? Guess who has more energy? They are walking about 2 miles a day with me around town now - plus running and playing at the park. Guess who has digestive systems that are working well?

STOP THE INSANITY! My thoughts this morning while running - to inspire other moms to free their kids from the addictive addititives in packaged foods. Bless their bodies, minds and spirits by setting them free!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

So much for good intentions...

Well, well, well....
I had exciting things to post and I was accumulating great photos along the way to announce that we have moved back to Aspen, CO for the most beautiful time of year! And then, guess what? I lost my camera last week! All of those photos, gone! I think I left it in Denver. We drove to Denver to go to the temple and it was closed, by the way. So that little 3 1/2 hour trip turned into a day at the science museum. That was really fun and we thank Uncle Noa for hosting us.

Ah, life.

I am loving running (marathon training) early in the morning up here at 8,000 ft. I realized that when I run, I dream. I commune with God. I feel alive and invincible. I do not experience doubt and fear. I am happy. The world seems open and available, as if anything is possible. Those endorphins are something else!!!
This is how I feel:

I am a colorful hot-air balloon
rising with the sun
peacefully floating
in the moment
experiencing the cool mist of morn
the stillness
able to move above and beyond

Friday, June 26, 2009

More On Simulations

The power of simulations has impressed me for quite a while now. I wanted to share some other types of simulations we've used to teach principles or provide learning opportunities:

GENTLEMEN BEHAVIOR - I have envisioned that I want sons that know proper behavior; they need to know there's a time and a place to wrestle and other situations where more formal etiquette is necessary. I'm not at all against wrestling and rough housing. Research shows it positively impacts the ability to set boundaries. It's more the TIMING of the wrestling that matters to me. Sacrament mtg., for example, is NOT my favorite time to play Don King.

When desires to wrestle are apparent - I like to set the stage for it. We create a padded wrestling stage, go over rules like "No biting, punching or kicking," and teach proper take downs and pins. Then they start in their corners and obey the start/stop whistle. This is a simulation. I think it teaches skills, allows aggression to escape and also teaches self-control b/c they learn to start and stop the activity, not letting it escalate until someone needs a ride to the ER.

Next - in raising gentlemen, I was trying to think of a medium to teach them appropriate behaviors, other than lectures :) That's when I became hooked on Knights. I love the code of Knights and stories that teach great values of bravery, loyalty, honor, chivalry, etc. So we use knight books, dress ups, acting out scenes, etc. as a medium for developing the values of knighthood.

Another desire I had was to be able to take my children to others' homes, such as for visiting teaching, if I absolutely HAD to take them, and have them behave respectably. So I teach one older lady who lives in a small apt with "old lady things." She's delightfully tolerant of children, wonderful to them. I called her one day to ask if she would participate as a hostess for our "Gentlemen's camp." That's what we call it. I explained to my boys that adults like children who behave well. I stated that clearly about 3 times. Then I shared that when adults like children, they often give them special privileges, opportunities, attention and rewards. On the way to the woman's house, I gave examples of how to act in a new person's home, how to ask for permission to touch things, how to speak properly, etc. At the home I just let them explore, interjecting at times to help script the conversation. For example, I'd see Aisea reaching for a glass vase and I'd say, "Aisea, say 'Sister Young, can I hold this vase?'" He'd pause and repeat that phrase. We did this type of coaching throughout the visit and when I could tell their interest was beginning to wear, we ended the visit. Sister Young was very complimentary to the boys and had a treat for them. As we left, I affirmed their behaviors and reiterated, "Adults LIKE children with good behaviors. She said you are welcome to come to her house again!"
They enjoy our "Gentlemen's Camp," and also now have another "friend," at church that they enjoy sitting by, doing things for, and just saying "Hi," to each week. (I think it makes her day too.)

Simulations for building confidence and self-worth:
I know these are critical core beliefs and are built early on. Therefore, I want my children to feel a sense of mastery in the experiences they have. I believe that is how they build confidence and self-worth. When they are asked to give talks, sing or say a scripture at church, for example, I do two things: 1st, I let them choose the topic (or scripture) and dictate the talk to me. That way, it's their words, their testimony and by me helping them share what THEY want to share, I feel it validates them, their knowledge and their abilities. 2nd we go up to the church during the week and rehearse their talk several times with the microphone. I just make it fun, not like a forced "YOU MUST DO THIS," kind of drill. We have fun. They play with the mic and sing in to it, make funny sounds...get all that "boy stuff" out of their system, and then they're ready to really practice. I refer to General Conference speakers they've seen and remind them of those behaviors, giving them a visual for posture, reverence and delivery. After they've done it a few times, we go an play in the nursery. It's just a fun practice trip to the church. Then I'll read their talks to them while they eat breakfast a couple of more times, not asking them to recite it, just letting them listen while I read with feeling and emphasis. These are simulations. When the real event happens, they're comfortable and prepared. They give great deliveries and receive affirmations from others that reinforces the principles of confidence and self-worth.

It seems that almost anything can be taught through simulations and they are empowering. They empower the child to overcome fears and anxieties while in a safe, confined situation. They build confidence and self-worth, provide a depth and breadth of experiences, build logical processing skills, and ultimately set a precedence for them to learn to practice, practice, practice anything they want to become better at.

Monday, June 22, 2009

True Joy Comes from Living Priorities

I love marathon training!!! It's NOT about running - running is just the vehicle for peace of mind, solitude, and inspiration.
This morning, while running, I realized that my mission in life is tied to my top three priorities:
1. Spiritual Progression
2. Physical and Mental Health
3. A Great Leadership Education

These are the things I most value, most desire, for myself and my family, and what I wish to share with the world.

Today I want to highlight a story that brings me great joy. Being a vehicle in changing people's lives brings me real, lasting happiness. Way to go, Rachel!!!

Here is Rachel - from Hawaii -
She lost 50 lbs in 12 weeks! She feels incredible, both physically and mentally/emotionally!

Rachel loves how she feels, physically and mentally on Isagenix - but she was having trouble with how much it cost. Then she took out her financial records and reviewed the money she'd spent over the past couple of years trying, unsuccessfully, to lose weight:
24 Hour Fitness - with a personal trainer 3 times a week - $3,000.00-$4,000.00 - she didn't lose weight.
2 Attempts at Weight Watchers - $300 - $500 per month, including the classes, coaching and foods they tell you to buy. She didn't lose weight.
Then she quit her stressful job as a social worker and wanted to have her own business - distributing a makeup line - that start up and inventory cost her $5,000.00 and didn't go anywhere - she still has product on hand that she hasn't sold.
After reviewing the numbers - she is now celebrating how cost effective - even CHEAP - Isagenix is. Not only is it cost effective, she says, the best part is......IT REALLY WORKS!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Not the Ideal Simulation

Last week we had a family function in Las Vegas. The town, itself, is not my ideal place to live, play, or be. However, I do have memories of going to Vegas on occasion as a child and driving up and down the Las Vegas Strip, marveling at the big buildings and lights and all the hustle and bustle. So, being the brilliant mother that I am (sarcasm there, you'll see), I suggested to Sai that we go down earlier in the day to take our boys to see the Exclaibur hotel, the NY NY, and other "great sights" on the strip. All I can say is - BIG MISTAKE!
We parked at the Excalibur and walked through - the casino. Not much to see except some same sex love and enough smoke to cook a pig. My boys had their noses covered as we hurried through the building, hoping the polution outside would not be as bad as it was inside. There were a couple of statues of knights - the highlight, but not much else. We walked out on the strip and saw the Statue of Liberty and then got trapped in blocks of construction. Half the strip was demolished and there were construction barricades/tunnels that we had to walk through. This is where it gets ugly. We passed many soliciters who were trying to pass out cards, that looked like baseball cards. We just passed by them, but when we got into the tunnels, the ground was littered with these cards and they were...inappropriate and immoral (don't want to link my blog with any specific words, so I hope you get the point). I wanted to die. There we were, stuck in a bleak tunnel, nothing to look at, but the ground, littered in these pictures. Shocked, I told my boys, "Look up! Can you see the clouds?" I tried to keep their eyes toward the sky as we walked and walked through this seemingly endless hell. Once out, we were still bombarded with the soliciters as well as huge passing trucks touting billboards with topless girls in undies. We determined that Sai would run back and get the van and come rescue us, so that we wouldn't have to go back through "hell."
I was devastated - only a mother can relate - here I pray and worry daily about what my children will be faced with and exposed to in their lives, and then I bring them face to face with evil. I wished for a magic wand. I regretted being so stupid and clueless. Then I realized, I had to teach. I noticed Sikeli seeing one of the disgraceful passing trucks and I made eye contact with him and said, "Remember what I've said about modesty? The Lord wants us to respect our bodies. Satan wants us to show them off and have others look at them. That's not okay." I apologized to them for bringing them into the Lion's Den. I told them I hadn't realized it was so filthy. I asked Sikeli if he felt the same spirit there as he does when we go to the temple grounds - he shook his head, no. Then I related our experience to Lehi's dream, saying, "Remember the 'mists of darkness?' Where people get off the path and are led away to sin? This is what that means. People are here thinking this is fun and entertaining, and it's not. It's fake. It's the temptations of Satan." We had some discussions and I felt some sense of peace and hope.
We found a secluded, grassy spot to play and wait for dad.
Relieved for the refuge, I fought back tears. Tears for my stupidity, and tears for the realization that this is the world today. That no matter what I do, my children will walk in a world of filth - one that is far different from the world I knew as a child. One where blatant sin traps have replaced subtle temptations. I'm raising leaders - priesthood leaders - missionaries - husbands - fathers. I realized that this is no small endeavor. EVERY DAY COUNTS! Every interaction either builds and solidifies their strength, character and testimony, or challenges it. As Julie Beck said, "Mothers Who Know Are Teachers." We must be. Because they WILL be taught - the only question is, "If not by us, then by who?" The answer: The World.
This experience follows the recent theme in my life - the need for simulations and educational experiences - and added to my conviction to make every day a spiritual, principle-based, learning experience.
May God be with all of us as mothers.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Simulations - I

I'm getting serious about SIMULATIONS - creating teaching opportunities is so fun and more importantly, effective. Here's what happened today:

I decided my "Knights of Fiji," (Sikeli and Aisea) needed to venture out on a "Quest of Safety." They had never been around the neighborhood block alone before. I informed them of their "Quest," to stay on the sidewalk, go all the way around the block, not cross any streets and to not go anywhere with any kids or adults. I coached them on what to say if anyone should approach them, esp. if some adults were concerned that they were unsupervised. Armed with their "weapons," (a spyglass in one hand and a stick in the other), off they went.

Just as they rounded the corner, a friend appeared in our driveway in his dune buggy car. The boys love to ride in this topless gas guzzler. I told the friend of our quest and asked him to find the boys and tempt them to ride with him. He agreed, and off he went. It wasn't long before he was back in my driveway, noticeably solo in his buggy. He told me that he had invited the boys to go for a ride. He said Aisea was eager, but Sikeli told him, "No, we won't!" As the driver egged them on, saying, "Come on, it will be fun!" Sikeli shook his head and said, "NO!" And then walked away. Eventually, Aisea followed his older brother.
I was SO ECSTATIC! That was a hard test - to have someone they know invite them to do something they love doing. But they PASSED THE QUEST!
When they returned, I met them at the porch and congratulated them on a job well done. They earned the title of Knights for their bravery and obedience!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It Clicked

In other news...
I had one of those moments when something I had learned in the past, suddenly sunk all the way in.
It happened at the library. I was just watching my boys participate in a program and make their way about the library, each attending to his own favorite section, and I suddenly got it: Core Phase.
Leadership Education (by Oliver DeMille) defines "phases" of learning, rather than grades. The first phase is called "Core Phase," b/c it's the development of the "core" of a person - his/her allegiance to God, Self, Others or the Adversary. And it roughly encompasses the ages of 0-8. In short, it's character building, values, morals,...the inner compass...that which guides the individual throughout life. Imagine the coincidence that research shows that by age 8 a person develops his/her character/personality and at that age we become accountable in the eyes of God.
As I sat observing children in the library, it just hit me, and just clicked: kids can learn anything; Therefore, I can spend my time drilling them on flashcards, with info, facts, trivia, etc., teaching them colors, letters, numbers,...yada yada yada...all the academics and they could learn it and become "brainiacs," or I could relax on that and focus all my energy (at this period in their life) on character (coupled with a love of learning - meaning, making learning fun and just part of our family culture)and at the appropriate time (which is the Scholar Phase - adolescence)integrate intensive academic focus.
It was as if I could see in that moment the long term ramifications of each pursuit. And it just clicked! I noticed kids who were NOT in Core Phase - there were kids at the library who said rude and mean things to other kids. They didn't listen to, or obey the teacher; They weren't aware of others; They weren't really processing the discussions, rather just being herded around like cattle, going here and there as dictated by the teacher and/or parents and mostly in their own little worlds. This question came to mind, "When will these behaviors change?" The answer, "They won't. The kids will just get bigger."
I could see character (or lack of it) being built right there. I realized that GREATNESS forms early on. I felt that honestly, nothing matters more, nor will bring more joy to my sons in their lives, than
learning to work - I'd rather have them in a garden than at a desk right now;
Learning to serve - I'd rather have them writing thank-yous to people than practicing handwriting scripts;
Learning true principles - I'd rather have them reading scripture and church history books for children than Dora the Explorer....and the like;
Learning the classics - I'd rather have them singing and reciting nursery rhymes, songs from plays, classic fairytales, .... then becoming familiar with the latest cartoons;
Learning loyalty to family - I'd rather have them spending time with their brothers, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, than playing with their "best friend" down the street while ostracizing a sibling;
Learning to behave like gentlemen - I'd prefer that they know proper etiquette and understand appropriate times and places for certain behaviors, than to behave as monkeys or "boys just being boys," in response to outsider opinions of them and of boys in general.

And the finale in this "ah-ha" moments was: And all of these things that I want them to know...MUST BE TAUGHT. They won't just know them. They won't just accidentally develop them - they must be taught. AND in order to be taught, I have to create situations - better yet - SIMULATIONS - in which they can be taught and practice each of these things. Wow. There's a curriculum for you. Who has time for school with all this learning that needs to take place :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Gettin' Cultured - Part 2

I was so inspired by my dad's "Tractor Square Dancing" that I felt it was time to take my boys back to where it all began.
My dad was raised on a ranch near the Beaver Dam State Park in NV. It's been years since I've been to the ranch, and my boys have no memory of it. So this past week we convinced grandpa to take us to the ranch for a few days. No cell phone service, no internet, no traffic....just nature. It was an "ah-hah" for me. So many of us discuss the growing, yearning desire to live more simply, more healthily, more happily - yet we continue to live day to day in an ever increasing state of chaos and "busy-ness." I believe this desire is part of the collective unconscious - a trend occuring throughout society, yet many are unaware of what they're feeling and worse yet, unaware of what they can do about it.
So what can we do about it? Just get in the car and GO! (Okay, it may help if you HAVE a ranch to go to...:) It was SO freeing. The peace and stillness of the ranch was conducive to a peace and stillness within me. It opened the channels of inpsiration and put my children into focus as the priority, over other time demanding/consuming "necesseties" of my typical home life.
We stopped by the Hafen ranch on our way to the Mathews ranch. Let me just say, I was overwhelmed. I have known these people all my life - in fact, our families are currently in their 5th generation of sociality - one with another. However, on this trip, I was impressed by the thought, "This is what's meant by 'salt of the earth.' These people are truly that!"

Here are my boys at the Hafen ranch in front of the old school house where their great-grandpa Mathews attended school.

Here are some photos of a great-grandpa Hafen entertaining my kids as if they were his own. Love you people!!!

Then at the Mathews' Ranch we leared all about our grandpa's upbringing. My boys had a great time - Thanks Grandpa!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gettin' Cultured

My dad was raised on a ranch. He wears wranglers and western cut shirts, everyday. He wears "nice" boots to church. He watches RFD TV (never heard of it? Consider yourself LUCKY!) He recently retired and with lots more time on his hands he has been becoming more and more savvy with his internet skills - as a result of some tutorials from my brother. My dad's favorite site is Youtube. I find my children sitting with my dad watching the most interesting (sarcasm there) things. When I ask him what he's exposing my children to, he replies, "They're gettin' cultured."
Here is one clip I just couldn't resist sharing with you. This is the type of "culture" we get in my house.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Just a quick plug - www.sanaejamesphoto.com

This friend of mine, a mom, a photographer, has gone from having a photo hobby to putting out images that look like a high end fashion magazine photographer!!!
Sanae - your work is AMAZING! Where were you when I needed a family photo shoot???
I want to hear comments from what you all think - I really can't believe that she is an "amateur."

Just for fun

Here are some photos. While getting pictures done, my husband whispered to me regarding the photographer, "She's no Natalie Norton." We miss you NAT!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


The word, "Empowerment," to me, is not a neo-nazi-feminist word that should scare anyone. It simply means: to have the ability, and permission, to accomplish something. Disempowerment is the opposite - it's when the environment is controlled by a dominating force which suppresses the individual's agency.
I believe that at times our own choices disempower us - we give our power away to external forces - and live a far less effective, less satisfying, less impactful life, than we could.
I love Victor Frankl's own example from his experience inside of a Nazi concentration camp, detailed in "Man's Search for Meaning." He teaches that while "liberty" (your ability to move about at will) may be controlled by others, "freedom" is completely up to you - it is a state of mind.
Through this type of "freedom," empowerment emerges.
I believe in empowerment - as a principle. I want to empower my children to have and use their inner compass - to have the character to act with integrity and the self-worth to overcome sin.
I want to empower my husband to feel comfortable in his greatness.
I want to empower my friends to live their dreams.
I want to empower LDS women to be truly happy by shedding limiting beliefs about perfectionism.
I want to empower women everywhere to accept their beauty and potential and to not play small.
In order to do any of this - I must first empower myself.
Homebirth was a powerful experience that added to my sense of empowerment. I was able to create a birthing environment that gave me permission to do, say and feel anything I wanted to, anything that felt natural or necessary. I was not inhibited in the least. It provided me with the space to maximize my OWN abilities and strengthen my faith and reliance on the Lord.
Another empowering experience is marathon running, and since I just REGISTERED FOR THE ST. GEORGE MARATHON, coming up in October, I wanted to highlight this empowering endeavor by sharing one of my favorite clips. I believe that empowerment evolves from sacrifice and pain because they are intrinsically linked to triumph, success and greatness. Here is a look at why 5 people run - it hits home for me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Share the Cause

My favorite line is..."anyone who walks away from this, walks away from the obvious." (may be paraphrased).
Really, truly, if we don't have our health, what do we have????
These are some questions I've asked myself lately:
1 - Do I know ANY family that doesn't have at least 1 person with a preventable/degenerative health condition?
2 - Do I know why my kids' immune systems are so low? (Why they repeatedly have colds and coughs).
3 - Do I know what is in the water I drink?
4 - Do I know where my foods come from - where and how they're grown?
5 - Do I know what hormone injected cows and chickens do to my body and my kids'?
6 - Do I see the increase in disease within our society, affecting kids at a younger and younger age?
7 - Do I get that it is an environmental issue - that "toxins" are real?
8 - Is it true what I've heard that this generation of kids will die at an earlier age than their parents - a 1st in the history of America (a "1st world" nation.)
9 - Is it true that obesity just surpassed tobacco as a leading killer in America?
10 - Is it really that common for kids to have bowel/constipation problems? (I thought it was just my kids).
I find more and more moms becoming educated and concerned about these things. I want to learn from any of you - what do you know and what are you doing about it?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Meeting the Brothers

Here are glimpses of the first moments that each Naivalu boy had with their new baby. We introduced each of the older brothers, one at a time, so they could spend some time just with mom and baby alone. Each one was in awe of their new little brother. When it was Aisea's turn, he entered the room and said, "Oh my goodness, it's a BABY!"
Pictured below are the "Birthing Team" members - Grandma Mathews & Liz - the midwife, Sai, Angie & Anja.