We’re still alive and well. David has been working a new job. Ella has been reading her favorite books again. Aurora has been playing in the sprinklers. Lightning has been enjoying cub scouts and day camp. Wendy has been running around in skirts–daily. Peter has been getting into the sunscreen. And I, well, I’ve been doing the every day things as well as going to girls camp, planning out Liberty Girls, planning for my art class for a Transition to Scholar group for Ella, figuring out Knights of Freedom Summit* Family Activities, and enjoying the summer thunderstorms…the result is always worth it!

{*Update 4/11/2015: Knights of Freedom Summit is now owned by Heroic Youth and is called Mastering Knighthood.}

It was so nice not being as involved in the TJEd Forum as I was last year. Last year I was the Volunteer Coordinator. It’s a busy job, and I’m grateful that I didn’t say yes to this year. It wasn’t because of the people or the event itself, but it was something I needed to say “no” to after all the things I was taking on last year. It made my day to hear that this year’s VC pretty much followed all of my instructions I had created, and it worked! I was hoping I hadn’t forgotten anything. I had to do some major writing and rewriting last year to make it more systematic for any VC that came after me. That’s not what this post should be about though…

It was strange not to be “in the know” and help make things happen, but I really needed the classes I went to this year. It was my oldest daughter’s first year going. (I can’t believe she’ll be 12 on Saturday!) She was excited about going, and she was even more excited when it was all over. It made me so happy! My husband helped to video record one of the rooms, and I was surprised to find out they were recording them all! We pre-ordered the audio recordings, and I’m looking forward to hearing the classes I missed.

The keynote speaker was James Farrell from The Arbinger Institute about How to Influence. I loved the explanation of the parenting pyramid from here. The story about he told a story about his friend who helped his neighbor stop smoking was inspirational. Basically the man told his neighbor who smoked that he wouldn’t be eating until he stopped smoking. Wow! Would I be willing to do that?

Jodie Palmer’s class about Creating a Family Mission Statement was very helpful. I loved her ideas about how to involve even the little children. Sometimes what is important to them gets overlooked by us adults. I’m working on our statement now! There are so many possibilities, I just hope I can narrow it down!

Rachel Keppner reminded me that I’m working myself out of a job when it comes to chores in the home. I want my children to be a able to run a household successfully and learn the skills for it before they hit scholar phase.

I totally LOVED, my dear friend, Emily, and her husband’s class about raising a hero generation. They had some excellent resources and information to help parents raise upstanding, virtuous boys who stand for what they know to be right. I’ve been blessed to work closely with them both, not only as friends, but through the Knights of Freedom Summit* event they do each year. She and her husband, Richard, have recently been working on their website, Mastering Knighthood. I’ve been so pleased to watch it develop over time. I recommend looking through her pages. She has great relevant content for any parent. I’m so excited for them both to be getting their message out!

{*Update 4/11/2015: Knights of Freedom Summit is now owned by Heroic Youth and is called Mastering Knighthood.}

This weekend was filled with lots of love, joy, work, and tears. I had so much fun working with so many people, 3 in particular: Emily Clawson, Diann Jeppson, and Annette Jones. They are amazing women, and I’m so blessed and grateful to have had the privilege of working with them on the Salt Lake TJEd Forum put on by TJEd MarketPlace and co-sponsored by TJED Online. Being the Volunteer Coordinator was right up my alley!  I can’t even describe my experience in words that would be adequate, and it’s not just because I’m still exhausted.

To give you an understanding as to why my jackrabbit factor moment was significant to me, I need to begin with a little background information.   I only hope I can describe it well in writing.

Part of the revenue to produce the TJEd Forum comes from every seminar class and keynote being recorded to sell for downloads.  Of course, the recordings are also to benefit those who attended and those who couldn’t as well.  I don’t know about you, but listening to a seminar over and over again is what sometimes keeps me inspired and pressing forward!  Download sales are vital to keep costs down for attendees.

Each seminar room has a recorder and a room host in charge of each classroom and recorder. All of them were trained on how to use them and were given a recorder by our audio technician, Jerry Winters–who was awesome too by the way! One of the hosts was late for the training, and hadn’t received a recorder. I assumed this room host leader had his recorder or that the audio tech still had it. The Jerry said he had given out all of the recorders. I assumed that meant he had given out 14 recorders to my 14 room hosts. So someone had to have an extra one, right?

Gratefully I had room host leaders to help me do quick searches.  (Room host leaders are a few volunteers assigned to several room hosts so I didn’t have to run around fixing problems all by myself!)  I had the leaders check with each room host and each classroom to ensure that someone didn’t have two recorders or that a recorder wasn’t left in a room. I even had 2 people from the registration/information office (which was blessedly slow at the time) check each room as well as I tried to figure out what else I could do. Mind you, the keynote address was finished and everyone was moving out to find the seminar they wanted to attend first–thank heavens for cell phones!!!

I was trying not to panic. I had less than 15 minutes to find this recorder so all the classes could be recorded. I was overwhelmed with a flood of emotions. I knew it wasn’t my fault, but I knew the implications if 5 sessions were missed, especially since they were youth forum ones and would not be repeated!

All of my room host leaders let me know that all of their room hosts had only one recorder and no one found an extra one anywhere.  The registration office assistants said they didn’t find one in any room they checked either.   At that point I told them to make sure the classes were started on time since we couldn’t wait for the recorder.  I had also been in contact with our audio tech and Diann Jeppson, the chairman of the forum.

My emotions were overwhelming me, and I decided I needed to just have a quiet moment to calm down and relax enough to let the Spirit tell me what to do next.  I went into the nearly empty registration office, sat at the back and bowed my head.  I decided that if I was going to cry, it wasn’t going to be negative emotions creating it but positive ones instead.  So I said a prayer of gratitude for finding the recorder and visualized having the recorder in my hands (mind you, I didn’t know what the recorder looked like).  I asked Heavenly Father to guide me to the next step.  The change from negative emotion to positive was clearly apparent to me.  I felt more at peace.  It allowed me to release the fear and let the Spirit speak to my mind.

I stood up from my chair and felt no particular thought or prompting.  So I took action anyway and walked out of the office.  I spoke with the registrar (and one of my best friends, Emily), and we talked for a moment.   Then she said she was sure that I just needed to do something else and it would show up.  (I’m so grateful for her encouragement and reminders of what I knew in my heart to be true!)  I did something–although I couldn’t tell you what– and walked back to the registration office.  Emily reminded me at some point in the brief conversation that some of the adult sessions were being presented twice, or in other words some classes were being recorded twice!  I just needed to find a class in the first session which was being recorded twice and use the recorder in the other room to buy me some time!  We figured out that Leslie Householder’s presentation (she’s the author of The Jackrabbit Factor, Hidden Treasures, and co-author to Portal to Genius) was being done twice in the first session and it was next to the room with no recorder.  I asked Leslie if it was okay to take the recorder and we’d record her second session.  She said, yes, of course!  The room host leader, Shelly, took it to the other room and got it taken care of.

That bought me an hour of time to figure it out.  Shelly came back to talk to me, and we looked over the At-a-Glance schedule to see what we could do if we couldn’t find the recorder.   This is where I was absolutely astounded by how Heavenly Father planned to make this occurrence play out perfectly!

I looked at the second session for the same room Leslie was in.  It was being recorded in another room at another time of day.  Woohoo!  That’s 2 hours time to find the recorder.  The third session was also being recorded another time!  Then the fourth session was as well!  That gave me 4+ hours to find the recorder and still have all the presentation recorded.  I was so excited!!!  The last session in that room was not being presented twice though, so for the last session I needed to find another recorder to switch out.   I couldn’t find one, but then Shelly piped up that the room that we gave the recorder to, wasn’t being used that last session because all of the youth in that room would be in a combined session somewhere else!  We could give that recorder back to the original room!

I could not hold back my excitement!!!  I ran over to tell Emily our good news!!!  At some point, I told Jerry about our solution.  I couldn’t tell Diann yet because she was presenting in the first session, but I couldn’t wait to tell her.

Not 5 minutes later I was told that one of the room hosts had the missing recorder but didn’t need one because she was in one of the big rooms with the audio equipment.  So there weren’t really 14 recorders given out, just 10?  The other 4 rooms had bigger audio equipment and didn’t need the room hosts to do anything regarding the recording equipment.  I didn’t know that it worked that way or I would have checked those room hosts first!  Of all the questions I asked while prepping for the forum, that one I never thought to ask.

I called the room host and tracked it down.  When I held it in my hands I wasn’t as excited about holding as I thought I might be.  Then I realized it was because I felt that emotion during my prayer first!  I walked down to the room host who I took a recorder away from in Leslie’s class, and gave it to the room host for her next sessions.  I told several people of my experience, and of course, recommended Leslie’s books so they could find out more of what I was referring to when I said “Jackrabbit Factor Moment.”  Her booth was right across from the registration office too.  You can get her book for free here.

I was so relieved and physically drained after the recorder was found, yet I was still on an emotional high.   I am eternally grateful to have experienced this event.  It increased my faith and proved God’s love not only for me but also those who would be affected by the outcome.  I was just an instrument in His hands, and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

First of all, if you haven’t watched the Stickman Video or read any of Leslie Householder’s books or blog posts, I highly recommend them! Her explanation of how the mind and God’s laws work was just what I needed to keep me moving forward and succeeding. For the video, click on the link at the top of her main site that says “Stickman Video.”

Okay, now for the miracles. My numbers on the scale have been going downward, despite not going walking in the morning for the last three weeks (my first walking partner can’t do it anymore, and my second one may not be able to either…and I need accountability right now! And another reason to get up at 5:30am). As of yesterday, I’ve lost a total of 20 pounds since mid-December when I began my focus on becoming healthier! I’ve gone down 3 dress sizes since then as well! I was pleasantly surprised that I fit into a size 16 again! That means I can shop in the regular women’s department again! WOOHOO!!! I know that the reason for my success is because my Heavenly Father is helping me, and I have been working on my mind-shift. My mental state is creating my outward circumstances (see the Stickman Video for more info about what I mean).

Saturday my husband and I went to the Thomas Jefferson Education Adult Forum. I had helped with a couple of things before the forum, but I hadn’t confirmed the time we needed to be there on Saturday. I assumed it was at 9am (what was I thinking?), but I had planned to be there by 8am (thank goodness!). I checked online to see what time it began (mind you, it was now 7:35am and it takes 20-25 minutes to get to the hotel and get seated), and to my surprise, it started at 8am! My sweetheart was still shaving, but we managed to get out the door by 7:45am, makeup and breakfasts in hand. We both said aloud, “They are saving our parking spot, and it’ll be one we can easily fit in.” (We have a Dodge Caravan, but the Hilton parking garage has pillars everywhere and it’s a tight fit even for our minivan.) Dh then said, “and we’ll have good seats for the keynote speech.”

When we arrived at the Hilton parking garage, blessedly there was no “Lot Full” sign like we’ve seen at past forums when we were on time. This time, we were late! We get our ticket and decide to go up a level instead of down. We turn a couple of corners and lo, there was an empty spot behind a suburban parallel to the wall instead of perpendicular like most of the other parking spaces. We backed right into it. It was awesome!

We got out of the van, strapped the baby in the stroller, and headed up to the hotel. We get to the registration tables and grab our name tags. On both of them were notes from Diann (the forum organizer and friend of ours) to sit in the VIP section in the front. That was totally unexpected! We both looked at each other and smiled. We sat literally right in front of the podium.

Baby Peter did well for a while, but because one of the microphones was right in front of his stroller and he began babbling, I decided to go nurse him and stand at the back so he could walk around. My dh was able to sit up front, and listen intently to both speeches. My baby was happy, my sweetie was happy, and so was I. We both enjoyed wonderful, uplifting, and inspiring classes the rest of the day as well as a yummy lunch with friends. My dad and his new wife, who were watching my other children, had dinner ready for us at their home when we were done. Did I mention that I’d had 2.5 – 3 hours of restless sleep the previous night because of my baby? I was more alert than I expected to be the whole day. That was a miracle as well! Everything went so smoothly. It was an awesome day!

I just had to share my experience. It reminds me so much of other little instances when God saw fit to give us little miracles because we asked and believed and trusted that He would. God is good, and all the credit goes to Him!

I’ve been struggling to find ways to inspire Ella to read more. She goes through phases of wanting to read a lot, and then nothing. She keeps trying it out and then is done with it. She asked me, a week or so ago, when the last day to turn in the sheet for a free book from Barnes and Noble was. I told her it was Tuesday, September 2nd. She decided she really wanted that free book, so she’s been working at getting the books read. She only has to read 8 books to get it. She has been fighting reading this summer, so I backed off about it. (I didn’t want her to hate reading like I did at her age…because I was forced to do it. You know the saying the people don’t resist change, they resist being changed? That is so me!)

Ella has read all 8 books this past week. I know they’re not super long books (they are chapter books), but her reading that many books in one week is an accomplishment for her. She’s loving it, and so am I. I hate to even ask her for help sometimes when she’s reading her books because I’m so glad she’s doing it! She goes back and forth between Love and Learning Phase and Core Phase, but the L.O.L. phase is beginning to be the most appealing for her.

I hope Ella’s seeing me read more has helped increase her desire to read too. I went through my own phase of not wanting to read anything recently, and yet I wanted to read everything at the same time. I let myself get through that resistance and overwhelm and now I’m back to my wanting to read phase. I love seeing my own phases of learning as I watch my children go through theirs. I see what I lacked as a child (a love for learning), and I can help ensure my children are guided in the right way to gain a love for learning throughout their life. Not doing it by force or pushing, but by love.