Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lincoln's Birthday Party

We recently held a birthday party for Abraham Lincoln. We have enjoyed learning about "Honest Abe" and wanted to honor him for his birthday. We invited our cousins and a few friends over for a few activities, cake and ice cream, and then, A VISIT FROM ABE HIMSELF!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Update on Meditation

My "ah-hah."
In what state of mind do you receive revelation/spiritual inspiration? Past, present or future?
Easy question, isn't it?
The present. The Holy Ghost cannot speak to you in the past or the future, right?
Now, honestly, out of 100% of your day, what percentage do you think you spend in meditation, or in other words, in the present?
My brother answered by saying, "About 2%."
That 2% has an interesting correlation with what brain research shows in the book The Answer. It states that our conscious minds account for about 2-4% of our daily activity and that our unconscious minds control 96-98% of what takes place in our lives.
How much of our lives, then, is directed by the Spirit?
What spurred this was reading Julie Beck's testimony in the March 2009 Ensign. On page 19 she states, "Each sister should seek to have the Holy Ghost guide her." It is such a common sentiment in our church, that it's almost unnoticeable. However, I've had meditation and being in the present on my mind. So I asked myself, "When can the Holy Ghost speak to me?"
It is true that most of us spend most of our day in the past or the future. Yet, many of us would agree that our goal is to "live by the Spirit." Well, perhaps there's more of a formula or behavioral approach to accomplishing that goal than we think. Maybe it takes more physiological effort than simply stating that as a desire in our conscious minds.
...and you have GOT to watch this! It makes me want to run to the top of a mountain and shout for joy!

Thanks Quincy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I learned something cool today: meditation is being in the present.

Why is that so amazing? Because it is SO RARE! For a while I've thought about how most (if not all) of human emotional problems/issues, whatever you want to call them, originate out of people living (or dwelling momentarily) in the past or fearing the future. Harboring feelings from the past of pain, trauma, loneliness, rejection, judgment, resentment, jealousy, loss, .....whatever it is... this occupies our minds. Our thoughts dictate our emotions. Going deeper, to the unconscious mind, our beliefs dictate our thoughts.
Other people have fears and phobias. These can relate to incidents from the past - past incidents may have formulated very strong beliefs and so we project them into the future with fear. Anxiety, worry, anticipation, "what ifs"..... concern about the future cause us more trouble.
Being in the present = meditation. The unconscious mind does not know the difference between past and future - everything is present. So when we are literally totally focused on the moment, we are open to the power of our unconscious mind.
Don't get what I'm talking about? Pick a time, whether you're alone, with kids, spouse, anyone, and try to be present - meaning, focus on every one of your 5 senses and what you're experiencing in that moment. See how hard it is to keep your conscious mind on track.
Coolest exercise I discovered - take a bath. Slip down into the water til your ears are under water. This will bring you right into the present as you can hear your own breathing AND your heartbeat. Focus on that. See how long you can stay focused on that.
I now realize that we don't live in the present very often or easily - and we therefore miss a lot of inspiration that comes in the present - not in the past or future - but in the present.
This is BIG for me - just try it. See what happens with your kids or your spouse when you are with them and TOTALLY PRESENT. Amazing.
(Thanks Kami Mitchell!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mentoring Moments

Leadership Education (an educational philosophy AND a book title) have done more for me as a parent than any other single source. It has revolutionized how I view education for myself and my children, enhanced the role I take on in my children's education, and it has significantly raised my expectations of human potential in general.

One principle from this philosophy is known as "mentoring." "Mentors, not professors," is based on the principle that a mentor is an individual with an area of expertise or knowledge who is committed to conveying her/his knowledge through inspiring teaching methods, such as:
  • starting where the student is,
  • pacing with the student's interest and understanding, and
  • promoting exceptional growth by challenging the student in ways that push him/her right up to the edge of comfort and ability.
In contrast, a typical professor/student relationship is more hierarchical in nature where the professor is elevated by his/her expertise and is invested in providing lectures and the student's job is to absorb whatever the professor teaches.

Also, the mentor relationship is generally one on one.

Mentors are first, parents, and then anyone who assumes or is assigned that role.

I have been astounded by this one concept alone. The power and potential in it is phenomenal. I have had loads of professors in my life, K-12, associates program, bachelor's program and masters program, and really only 2-3 "mentors" among all of them. It was those mentors, however, who shaped my self-esteem, character, knowledge and skills, and passions more than all of the other teachers combined. The point: it doesn't take a lot of teachers to educate a child.

As I've read examples of mentoring relationships, I realized that as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we have access to amazing people right within our own little congregations. There is a potential mentor for nearly any general subject one could conceive of, and with a little searching, maybe to a stake level or beyond, likely a mentor on any specialty subject as well.

This introduction is all to explain what happened today. Sikeli (5) has been fascinated with the Prophet Joseph Smith for a while now. He loves to be read the Friend magazine clips on stories from the prophet's life. He dresses up like Joseph and loves to ask questions about him. I decided to provide him with his first, "official" mentoring session outside of our family setting. In our ward, living just around the corner about 3 houses away, is Gracia Jones. She is a Deseret Book author (a few of her books shown above) and the great-great granddaughter of Joseph and Emma Smith. She is also the first baptized descendant of the prophet. A potential mentor? Could it get any better than that?

I sat by her Thursday at a Relief Society function and just asked her if she'd have 3o minutes when Sikeli could come to her house and ask questions about the prophet. She said Friday would be great. When I told Sikeli on Friday morning, what he was going to get to do, he immediately dressed in his "Joseph clothes," and was ready to head out the door. I dropped him off with Sister Jones and when I returned, he had lots of stories to tell me. He had held some household items that had belonged to Emma and held and felt a replica of a death mask of the prophet.

Do you think this is at least as effective as an FHE or primary lesson on the Prophet Joseph Smith? Like I said, this one principle, mentoring, has opened my eyes to unlimited possibilities in my children's education. I have to take the lead, I have to search them out and set them up, I have to expose my children, but then, I just sit back and watch.

GET THE BOOK! Leadership Education - by Oliver DeMille

Naivalu parenting motto: We are NOT raising children, we're raising leaders.

Monday, February 9, 2009

What's Guiding YOUR Life Right Now?

(Not his real hair!)
Maika - 19 months Aisea 3 1/2 Sikeli 5
Above and beyond all else - these 3 guide my life!!!

I love learning from other people!!! I love it when friends share what they're learning and doing. So often, their examples lead me to find new passions in my own life.

I had the most amazing weekend! I travelled to northern Utah, BY MYSELF!!! (Can you believe it?) I was able to visit some friends and help my cousin at a bridal show. I loved visiting old friends and I realized that email, phone and blogging does not cut it in terms of maintaining relationships. So much more happens with face to face conversation.

The themes in my life seemed to repeat themselves at each home, as I shared what interests me these days. In light of this experience, I thought I 'd make a list of "My Favorite Things" that have greatly impacted my learning:

1. The book entitled, "The Answer" by John Assaraf and Murray Smith The title can be misleading as it includes something about "how to grow any business" - do not be deceived! The information pertains to every day life. It shares a lot about neuroscience and the latest understandings of the conscious and unconscious minds, how to identify irrational beliefs and how to re-write them. It is life changing.

2. Book - "Leadership Education" by Oliver DeMille. This can be ordered through the George Wythe University bookstore - This is the educational paradigm we use in our family. Whether you're homeschooling or public schooling, this amazing book can show you a new way to think about education and can be implemented into your family culture as you see fit. You do not have to homeschool to be greatly blessed by this book. I Love it!
3. Book "Out of Our Minds" By Sir Ken Robinson - a researched backed look at educational & social paradigms and their exclusion of creativity as a standard part of curriculum and as a valued aspect of civilization, respectively. The irony presented is that what is needed now, more than ever, in the workplace, in leadership, etc. is.....CREATIVITY. We are moving into a new era - a shift equal to that which took place in the past as we merged from an agricultural civilization into an industrial one, then from industrial into technology, we are now in a new shift. Old ways of thinking will not work in the current, global market. Great book.

These are my "food for thought" nuggets.
4. As for my physical body, We are still way into cleansing and love the products from Isagenix. We see the benefits in our own family and extended family and friends. We also support the mission of the company.

5. Spiritually - Loving the November '08 Ensign. It's so interesting how much of it fits into and lends support, or clarifies, rather, to the other things I've been reading. Also the Strengthening Marriage course manual produced by the church and LDS Family Services.

6. Homebirth - a little manual called "Powerbirth" that also comes with a DVD - the single best education on homebirth. This is so simple and obviously natural to understand and to implement. Recommended for anyone who is curious about homebirths. Also, the DVD "The Business of Being Born" It's a must. If you are for or anti homebirth, this is an education - very provacative for one's thinking.
This is where I'm at right now and what's guiding my life.

Please share with me what is guiding YOUR life right now and what your "favorite things" are.