Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September Rolls On...

Happy Fiona

Dear Fantastic Missionaries (and family!),

Life is busy, busy, BUSY, as always. It's always funny to review each week, because after getting through it all, it somehow becomes a big mish-mash of "What the heck did we do this week???"

I will try to remember everything that went on, just for y'all! ;-)

On Tuesday we did some science for homeschool (We still take Mondays off for cleaning and Sunday recovery.), and just stayed home learning and making messes all day. It was nice! :-)

Twinners MacKenna and Grayse

Daddy's car is out of commission, due to an expensive hybrid battery that we have to replace. ($2500 for a BATTERY. Yikes.) So he has been driving the van to work, and it's been a pain to not be able to go where I need to go, but it's kind of nice, too. The biggest problem with all of that is driving Daddy back and forth to work if I need the van that day.

It's kind of funny when I think about how Daddy now works only 5 minutes (And within biking distance) from our OLD house, as opposed to 20 minutes away from our house here in Gilbert.


Davy-boy is getting so big!

Wednesday was busy with history for homeschool, and then Activity Day, 11yo scouts, and mutual. The big kids got to go to SKATELAND for a combined activity and had a great time! They loved telling everyone about how we used to live around the corner. :-) 

Handsome Gavin

Thursday ended up being crazy, partially because Bonny and Lliam worked for the H-- in Mesa again, and partially because I got wild hair and reorganized the laundry room, which has been really bugging me of late. With Bonny and Lliam gone working, and Gavin was hiding in his room downstairs, I moved a very LARGE cabinet from the garage to the laundry room BY MYSELF. (Applause, please!) I was very proud :-) and sweaty. :-p

Bonny and Lliam brought home a box full of treasures. They were given a Polaroid camera from the 1960's, some old shoes and handbags for costumes, and even an 8-track tape. They were in awe of it all! LOL!

Ronan is the Lego Man

Friday brought our homeschool classes here to the house, with the Biology kids here in the morning, and me teaching my English lit class in the afternoon. I am LOVING it! But I hope the kids are enjoying it. It's a bit more sedate than my usual Shakespeare classes, but I'm doing all I can to make it fun.

Next week we will be discussing "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," which is an epic poem from the Medieval times. The version we're studying was translated by Tolkien. Yeah, it pretty much ROCKS! :-D (Brennan, you would LOVE it!)

Avalon loves to SMILE!

Saturday was BUSY. Bonny and I went to her first meeting for the Nutcracker ballet, followed by grocery shopping at American Discount Foods, and then transporting the Bon-bon to ballet CLASS and home again. She was cast as a toy soldier in the fight scene, and she is ECSTATIC! :) 

Ballerina Bon

Later that night, she also babysat for the W---. She came home exhausted! Between working for the H--- and babysitting like crazy, she has almost earned her payment for Europe this month. We are so proud of how responsible she is. What a girl!

Dierdre also was babysitting on Saturday. She's been babysitting a lot lately, too. She was set apart as the Beehive class secretary yesterday. She is such a sweetheart!

Dierdre, head of the breakfast team, making breakfast.

Sunday we had awesome meetings, and S--- sang while her mom played the violin. It was beautiful! Lliam came for the second and third hours, but then left and spent the day at a friend's house. He didn't get home until just before 11pm, and then he and I had a long, good heart to heart.

Wow, I LOVE that young man! He is struggling with some things, but he is still a wonderful son, and our relationship has never been better. I know the Lord is really working in his life. 

Lliam entertaining our Fiona

Well, I have oatmeal to scrape off the kitchen floor, and a fussy baby to feed, before I gather my cleaning crew to work on the kitchen.

Lovely Eryn

We all love and miss our sweet missionaries! THANK YOU for dedicating this time in your life to the Lord. I know that it is blessing us, you, and so many others.

With so much love,

Mom (a.k.a. Queen Mother of the Universe)

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Some Advice on Leadership

image via Pinterest.com

I have a lovely online friend on Facebook that tagged me to give her some advice on her efforts to start a school in her area. I was flattered and surprised, but wanted to help, and so I sat down and wrote out seven of the lessons I've learned in my efforts to lead in my community.

As I read through them, I realized that I have never taken the time before now to sit down and think through the things I have learned over the past eight years. And so, I decided to record them here, as a way of reminding myself of the lessons that God has given me. 

And if they can possibly help someone else along the way, that is wonderful! 

Well, here's my advice, for what it's worth!

1) PRAY. I could never have had the strength and inspiration to wade through all the kinds of challenges and difficulties that DO happen, without it. Keep a constant connection between yourself and God. He has a much better view of things!

2) SIMPLIFY. If you are an idea person like me, you may have all kinds of grandiose, complicated plans that you're musing about, but I would advise you to scale things down to what you can realistically handle. There will be time to add more things as time goes on, and you have a better idea on what will be required. K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, sweetheart!)

3) FIND YOUR "WHY" AND STAY FOCUSED ON IT ALWAYS. If you haven't already read it, take the time to read the book "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek. Our "Why" is the most important ingredient to successful leadership. Make it the center of everything you do!

4) DO NOT TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE! It is an impossible thing to try to do, and it can never, never, NEVER happen! So do what you can to help others, but don't own their problems, and be prepared to be criticized. Sometimes, the criticism is warranted, and you need to listen.

However, there are often people who do not wish to have the responsibility of leadership that still want to steer the boat with their strong opinions. These people will usually criticize you no matter what you do! So, don't change your direction, unless a trusted, wise friend or mentor gives you advice to do so. (And if they do, LISTEN and follow it!) Just don't change things constantly in order to please others. Follow that inner voice-- your gut, the Spirit, whatever you want to call it-- and trust that you are going in the right direction. If someone doesn't like how you are doing things, allow them to go and start their own!

5) USE THE INTERNET. Have a website, use social media, and stay in close email contact with your community. If you have a teenager in your family or among your friends that can take on the social media presence for you, do it! You probably won't have time to maintain all of these yourself, so find some good help, but always have an Internet presence that accurately represents who you are and what your vision is. That way, like-minded people can always find you.


There will be times when people will tell you how awesome you are, and you might begin to buy into it. DON'T! Just bring them back down to earth, and remind them that you are just a mama with a dream, and are doing your best to see it through. It's sad, but true, that there are some people that might even try to put you on a pedestal so that they can knock you down.

Just don't ever get up on that pedestal-- it's lonely and cold there! (And it's a LONG way back down to earth!) Stay down on the ground with everyone else, and keep your principles and ideals and your "why" up on the pedestal.

I had an amazing mentor once remind me, "Peoples are peoples, Rachel," and it's true. We are all children of God, just trying to do our best.

7) KEEP YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT. Your husband and your children and your God are the most important things in your life, so be sure to never let your dreams and goals harm those precious relationships. Be 100% willing to step away from-- or completely drop-- whatever it is you're doing if it EVER harms your family or your principles and beliefs.


Love, Mama Rachel