Inspiration on parenting

Putting Second Things First?


Do you have guidelines for yourself as far as ordering your day goes?

It always seems that my day comes unraveled pretty quickly if I get things out of turn.  I mean, when I read and pray and shower and dress first thing, everything else goes much better.  I’m not running around trying to play catch up and feeling out of sorts.

Self-care, and then home care, seem to set a foundation for the rest of the day that you can then build upon and feel that you are making progress, that you are gaining traction with the things you want to accomplish.

It seems that society is becoming more and more lax as to personal care and in general, we seem to be making everything more casual.  Of course I’m happy not to be expected to wear heels all day while I clean my house, but there is a lot of personal respect and confidence that comes from daily personal care, especially first thing in the morning.

It’s like setting a stage for the rest of your activities.  A centered mind and spirit and a clean and groomed body sets you up for engaging in life, welcoming in guests, working with others and contributing to your friends and family and community.

Little people also need this care!  They need to be dressed and clean and cared for and ready to go to work, helping to take care of their own spaces as they are able and contributing to the family in simple ways. It is amazing what little ones can do to be helpful and how much they gain from being needed!

Of course our days vary and sometimes we are rocking a sick child or dealing with unforeseen problems.  But for those regular, every days, I hope you will have the joy of meeting your days head on.

Much love to you,


To Save Sanity: Tidy-Up!


Isn’t it amazing how quickly the string with no knot at the end can loose all it’s beads? I’m referring to the proverbial string that we are beading every day by doing household chores.  It has no knot because this kind of work doesn’t stay done for long!

I imagine we all go through stages of being very vigilant in maintaining order, and then sometimes we get buried and need to regroup.  One thing to bear in mind is that our domestic engineering has much to do with the environment that we are creating, that leads to the feeling that exists in our home.

It never ceases to amaze me how comforting and peaceful general order can be.  I don’t mean immaculate, all day, every day, no-finger-prints-ever kind of order.  I’m just referring to the movement of light and air and a sense that someone has the reigns!

If you are practicing time-blocking, then you have a pretty good sense that things are getting attention in their turn.  But what about the overall messiness factor of every day?

Tidy, has become a popular word because of some good books that have been in circulation the last few years.  I think that there isn’t anything simpler to do to change your stress level and to enliven family members than a quick renewal of order.

When you want to involve everyone, and that is only right since clutter and messes usually are made by everyone, I’d suggest setting a timer and playing music!  Especially when you are engaging small children, music can be the way they understand that a time limit is being set.  And music makes everything more fun I’d say.  (We used to play a Veggie Tales CD we owned…I think my kids know those songs pretty well and we had fun singing along and being goofy.)

Tidying doesn’t mean deep cleaning, so no one needs to feel overwhelmed.  It’s just like taking wings and gently hovering around putting pillows back in place, returning toys to their proper storage spots, opening blinds, righting a stack of books, etc.

While you’re in hovering fairy mode, you can keep the mood light and simple and have a small reward at the end!  A picture book in the rocking chair, a cup of milk and a cookie, a sticker on a chart or whatever you can think of.

For teens, it may just be time to visit with Mom, or a time to think or a time to put on their earphones and go into auto-pilot.

A note on toys: if your whole house is overrun with toys and children’s books or clothes or stuffed animals, I think it is safe to say you have too many.  

It is important for the different areas of your house to function as they are meant to function.  When you can’t walk through your laundry room because you trip over excess toys and clutter, it isn’t going to serve you very well.  If your bedroom is always covered in children’s items, it may not make the best sanctuary for your marriage.

If you find that keeping order is next to impossible, go for the goal of getting rid of half of everything you own.

Half of the books.  Half of the toys.  Half of the clothes. (Laundry doesn’t need to take over every surface!)  Half of the kitchen do-gadgets.  Maybe even half of the furniture!

Letting in light and air can do so much for our mental health!

I wish you well in creating the spaces you desire, where your family will have room to learn and play and to just…… breathe.

All my best to you! You’re doing great!




A Little Story



“One morning while washing dishes I heard quarreling raging down the hallway from the living room.
Steven, our four-year-old had snatched a toy away from Timmy, who was bawling for its return.  I felt unreasonable anger sweep over me, but knew I couldn’t sort out the problem while I felt like that, so I kept washing dishes, praying for guidance and a calm spirit.

When I felt calmer, I went to the living room, gathered Steven in my arms, and talked about what Jesus would want us to do, and what our Heavenly Father expects of us.  But the more we talked, the tighter Steven clutched the toy.

Frustrated, I continued to pray, and suddenly Joseph Smith’s admonition to “teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves” came to my mind with new insight.  I continued to explain the correct principle to Steven, feeling after the Spirit.  All at once I felt he understood.

I stood back, confidently expecting him to hand the toy to his brother.  Instead he climbed on his little bike and scooted out into the kitchen, around into the hallway and back into the the living room.  Round and round he went, watching me intently.

I was disappointed and angry.  I had tried to implement the Lord’s way but had not been successful.  I wanted to force his obedience now, but remembered the second half of that principle: “let them govern themselves.”  I stopped and waited. I knew I had taught him.

Steven continued riding his bike, watching me each time he zoomed past.  Then he stopped, looked at me, climbed down from his bike, walked to Timmy, and handed back the toy.

Grinning, Steven raced to me and threw his arms around my neck.  We laughed and hugged together; Steven dabbed at the tears running down my cheeks, and said, “We’re happy, aren’t we Mummy”  We were!”

Kathy England, as quoted in You Can Have Happy, Obedient Children, by Don and Arda Christensen



I remember those days of overwhelm. Of not much sleep. Of foggy mornings. Of tears of joy coming to my eyes when I really looked at my children. At their innocence. Of fluffy bedheads. Of trips to the library; the stacks of picture books I think I enjoyed as much as anyone. Of feeling content to have my kids in the car headed home, hearing their curious thoughts about the world. Of wanting to freeze time, then speed it up on the difficult days! Of wondering if my children would survive each other. And if they could survive without each other. Of friends coming and going. Of meals and meals and meals and meals.  Of simple pleasures. Of being cuddled on the couch reading together. Of musicals. Of band practice. Of lessons and teachers and notes and schedules. Of jump ropes and roller blades. Of tea parties and Halloween costumes. Of sewing for Christmas.  Of sometimes pushing too hard. Of clinging to my journal. Of drinking in encouragement and strength from lessons and leaders from church. Of instructive dreams. Of binding myself to God in pleading prayer, at times pounding on heaven’s door in distress and sometimes approaching in joy. Of receiving answers, soft and powerful that let me know things would be ok. Of having the Word jump off the page to correct my thinking, moving me, lovingly urging me to change. Of celebrations. Of goodbyes. Of letters. Of essays. Of music theory and practicing, practicing, practicing. Of dances and dresses. Of ties and tuxedos. Of courtships. Of weddings. Of pregnancy’s and surgeries. Of baby smiles. Of joy and joy and joy….

I believe that the judgment day will be full of visual evidences of what we truly wanted.  And the revelation of how grace met us and bridged the gaps between what was and what we hoped and searched and worked to bring about.  And how the ripple of our heart’s desire went out and didn’t ever stop….

Slow it down to here and now.  Feel it.  Laugh and cry.  Taste it.  Hold it.  Believe and hope.  Get help when you can’t do it alone.  Turn off the virtual world.  Look at the sky. Sometimes let the wind blow your stresses away.




Years ago, I went to a week long educational event, where you could choose from an array of classes on everything from parenting to the Middle East, and attend as many as you could squeeze in from 8:00-7:00.  I loved it! And I went for several years each summer, hungry to learn more.

After a few years, I would come home and type up my notes and do my best to apply what I had learned.  It was a great experience for me and I believe my home was greatly benefited by that opportunity.

One of the classes I attended on several occasions was a parenting class taught by a man named James Jones.  As I listened to him, I heard him call me out on the ways that my thinking was unclear, the ways that I was confused in knowing what was good parenting and what behavior of mine was an attempt to quench the guilt I felt for my parenting mistakes and the cover-up of my own disconnectedness.

He corrected me as I sat in a group of sometimes hundreds of people (probably all getting a clue like I felt I was) and yet I never felt put down or discouraged.  I think that maybe that is because Dr. Jones tells you about his own journey in parenting that led him through a maze of frustrations, of hitting brick walls, of having his confidence shattered and of the great ah ha’s he had that were humbling and extremely valuable.

Then, several years ago I ran into him.  I was grateful for the opportunity to thank him for the profound ways that he had helped me and my family.  And I asked him how I could get my hands on some of his books that had gone out of print, to share with my clients!

I was amazed when he told me that he had decided that he would like to put all of his work, that is multiple books and audio recordings of books and classes that he has taught, online somehow and grant them to the public domain so that anyone could download them and have them for free!

He said that I could call him in a few months and see how things were going with that project, and so I did.  I think we talked every six months or so for a couple of years.  And then this week, after someone asked me a question that I thought his work could answer, I tried to call him again to see what had happened thus far with his idea.  And all four numbers that I could find for him said they were disconnected.

Then almost at the same moment, I saw the post of a friend who had tagged a parenting blog with a note to herself to read it later…and as I looked at it I saw that it was labeled James Jones parenting!

I am so happy to report that when you visit, you will find an invaluable resource for your family!  I am in amazement at the generosity of the Jones family and of their efforts to make a lifetime of work and learning available to anyone and everyone! For free!  At the touch of a button!

So to Dr. Jones and his family, I say a very big and heartfelt THANK YOU!  And to you readers I say, if you are a parent, I encourage you not to delay!  Check out the site and download these books and audio classes and books.  They will be a blessing to you and to your children.  They may even change the course of  eternity.

Blessings to you and your family.


P.S. Thank you Bree for your timely post!  xo