Thinking about phones….

I haven’t seen my iPhone for an hour or more. I have been tucking kids into bed, helping Maren finish her homework, talking to Brandon about his upcoming trip and homework, checking in with Nicole about the schedule tomorrow, reading scriptures, having family prayer, and getting little details done. My phone makes a big difference to me in many ways. I love having addresses, directions, and phone numbers in one place. I like to stay on top of email. Texting from that phone is so easy and efficient. I like having my scriptures with me at all times. It is convenient to look up things on the internet. I like to check Facebook here and there during the day. It is great to have a camera and video camera


with me whenever I need it to capture fleeting memories.


P1000253I can type notes and thoughts quickly and have them with me. My calendar is portable and full of all the vital information. But…..

having my phone also distracts me.


It keeps me from being present with my kids. I sometimes want to keep on top of my email so much, that I check it too often. I am available to whoever wants to text me, but not always to the people in front of me. I don’t read as many books as I could. I have been trying to put it down during the afternoon hours especially. But it is easier said than done.

I love this post from April Perry about technology. I resonate so much with what she wrote. I have felt the calming magic of non-distraction in the last 2 hours. I have the best talks with my kids when I don’t know where my phone is. I have great conversations with Erik when it is gone. On Sundays I often don’t take my phone to church or look at it much. I have more time to ponder and think on those days.

So is there a perfect balance with phone use? Is it possible to have the strongest relationships possible with family and have the ease and effectiveness of an iPhone in helping the day run smoothly? Those are questions on my mind. One of my new year’s resolutions was to park my phone during the afternoon hours. I haven’t figured out a system for doing that yet.

But my relationship with these people are worth everything to me, so I am determined to figure it out.

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Field Trips and Being There

I have had lots of chances over the years to drive on field trips. Today was a great outing down in San Jose. Camille’s 6th grade class went down to the Rosicrucian Museum that houses many Egyptian antiquities. The weather was clear and sunny. The drive was lively with six kids in the car. First we walked around the grounds, seeing obelisks, sphinxes, fountains, Roman statues, and peace gardens.

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Then we had an hour and a half guided tour and saw amazing Egyptian artifacts. I knew all about King Tut, having seen his exhibit in the late 70s in Los Angeles. The kids had just studied all about Egypt, and the tour guide asked dozens of questions about details and facts in Egypt. The kids knew the answers to almost all her questions. I was impressed with how much they had learned in their social studies class.



King Tut, Cleopatra, cat mummies, Ra, the Sun God, and Nefertiti


This is a copy of the Rosetta Stone discovered in Egypt that helped archaeologists decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics.


Fun to spend the morning with Camille and her peers in discovering more about Egypt. I am glad I have the chance to be there with my kids at home and on field trips. It is a blessing to have the flexibility to be one of the parents along for these kind of enriching activities.


Blueberries and Resolutions 2013

This morning I had my favorite breakfast. The sun was shining through the windows, and I had just put in some bedding to wash.

IMG_1284In the last few days I have gotten my home more organized and my mind uncluttered. I have been thinking about dreams. Part of making new year’s resolutions is dreaming of improving, expanding, and changing, either yourself or your family or your commitments or focus. I looked at making resolutions this year as a reflection of what may be holding me back from really pursuing my passions and thriving. This year I have four main resolutions. A month into 2013, it is interesting to review my goals in detail. Interesting because this year I am really keeping them.

The first resolution is to start a blog and write six days a week. I have done this one just like I envisioned so far. It has been fun to write and take pictures and reflect on connections, relationships, and joy. The daily nature of writing helps me to see my everyday life with new eyes, noticing the happy moments and interactions as a part of a bigger picture — growing closer together as a family and also growing toward the person I want to be.

The next resolution is to take off the nagging extra weight that I have been carrying around for the last few years. I have had ups and downs and mostly remained steady for a few years. But I think having the extra weight gone will give me more energy and help me fulfill more of my dreams. This year my sisters and I have started a daily email support group to eat more carefully and take some weight off. A week into this program with them, the weight has started to drop off. It helps to set weekly goals and have accountability to someone who is going through the same process. We share our successes, tough spots in the day, and weigh in once a week. I actually have hope that this time this resolution may come to pass. So far so good.

One resolution I am still working to implement is being present with my kids and family in the afternoon hours by not having my iPhone ever present. At the Power of Moms retreat last weekend, we talked about how technology and distractions keep us from having balance. This may be one of the biggest issues of our day — how to have technology bless our lives instead of distracting our attention from the people in front of us.

The fourth resolution is to give specific weekly service to each member of my family. I take Erik lunch on Sunday when he is at church all day. I make a warm breakfast for Nicole after seminary and before school once a week. We had french toast this week, and it was yummy. Brandon and I have cereal chats one evening before bed; he eats cereal and we talk about whatever is on his mind. On Friday afternoons I make cookies for the three younger girls like I wrote about here. Each of these have been fun and uniting.

Speaking of fun, we have definitely tried to make January’s focus fun.

Birthday celebrations.


Power of Moms retreat in Los Angeles with some dear friends.

P1020088Dance parties.


California Adventure


Taking time to dream and dare.



Out of my comfort zone is where I find the most fulfillment and joy — leading discussions at the Power of Moms retreat, writing and sharing thoughts on this blog, and parenting. I am ready for February!



When I was tucking Robin into bed tonight, she said, “I didn’t want to go to my friend’s birthday party if you weren’t going to be there to pick me up.” I just flew in from southern California where I attended a Power of Moms retreat. I got home in time to hear about the day before everyone went to bed. I realize that my kids really need me at the crossroads of their life.

It is easier if I am the one to pick them up. They feel more secure if I am home when they walk in the door from school. Brandon needs to figure out how to get a physical from a doctor before baseball tryouts on Monday. He was asking to talk to me after family prayer to find out what to do about that need. Camille wants to get up in the morning to work on her talk for church with me. I feel blessed to be there most of the time at the crucial transition points. Indeed, there is security and power in being a mother who is present. It turns out there is no place I would rather be.


Listening is an art form.  When two people hear and listen and understand, there is no better connection.  But it is hard to accomplish.  It takes discipline.  It takes suspending selfish needs and refraining from interjection of  personal footnotes.  I find that I am a much better listener to adults.  I have always considered myself more of an adult person than a kid person.  So I find it easier to listen to the complex stories of my adult friends and family than to the younger concerns of children.

But a little while ago, I learned about the concept of being truly present.  This means completely tuned in and present in mind and body with the person, usually one of my children, with whom I am spending time.  This requires putting aside pressing to-do lists and tasks to be completed and simply turning my attention and thoughts to the person I am talking with.  This is a marvelous concept.  Being present with my kids as they tell me about the details of their thoughts and life is one of the goals I have.  Being present with Erik as he tells me about work or soccer coaching or helping others in our church is what I want to be.

When I feel listened to and understood, it helps me feel whole and valued.  I get this in a few places.  One is in prayer as I pour out my heart and wait for the desired answers or confirmations.  And I often get this from Erik as he listens so well to all the musings and wrestlings of my heart.  It draws us closer.  It adds to the feeling of love I receive from him. It helps me feel worthwhile.

Being present with all people — in the store, in the neighborhood, in my home, in heaven. A goal and aim for my life.