t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.


Carnage at Full Circle

After the coop door was left open, 21 chickens and 3 turkeys lost their lives. Only 3 chickens and 1 turkey remain. Thanksgiving will be slim pickings at the ranch.

Don't tell Grandpa, but they are definitely still rookie ranchers. (They were also sold a bum calf this year which lived only a couple weeks and died of pneumonia.) Poor little poultry. Lesson learned: Close the coop door.


Snapshots of the Past 3 weeks

Planting the Garden...

Ellery insisted on buying some flowers with her own money to include in the bed.

Emmett proved quite proficient at digging holes.

Callista got really dirty, while mom lounged and pointed from the deck (lazy bum). Why can't we get that woman to work?

Preschool Graduation....

Ellery acted as photographer extraordinaire.

Dance Festival....

Of course the chicken dance, what elementary school dance

Ellery Spotlight....

Notice in the back "the lions den." This is where I spend about 12 hours a day. Glorious.

Spanish Princess Party...

Someday we will get the "real" smile :)
Swimming Lessons...


Overwhelmed and Lifted

I am overcome by the kindness and goodness which surround me. I am so uplifted and feel equipped emotionally for the next two weeks. Thank you, thank you to those who are so selflessly giving and listening. Here is a sampling of the hands of service touching my family and cheering my heart....

...a fantastic, homemade, healthy chocolate birthday cake made by Desiree (who also stopped by on Friday and let me cry to her) for my little Ellery's birthday on Sunday (it is gone already!)

A delectable basket of fruit which arrived today from Brent's parents (it is almost gone) just to lift my spirits...
A cheerful bouquet of flowers brought by my neighbor Julie simply to brighten my day (and they were so perfect to have for Ellery's birthday as well)...
...raisin bread "letters" for each of my children's name, and raw, homemade, sugarfree cookies, endless loaves of amazing bread from Adele, who also offered to take the girls to their swimming lessons next week (it is like my mom lives 2 doors down!!! She is incredible!)

...my bathroom cleaned, and cleaned how I would have done it, by Jill

....an unexpected dinner, straight from my blog, from Amy, and weekly play dates for Callista (complete with projects and crafts and learning experiences)

...a husband who let me cry for an hour in his arms and then told me to buck up and think about our quadriplegic neighbor, who whacked a large mouse yesterday under our couch (I was mortified, Ellery was certain it must be a rat because it was so big) and spent until 1 in the afternoon cleaning the house, takes the kids to carnivals, brought 5 little girls to the pool for a birthday party, and shook 4 inches of snow off all our fruit trees yesterday to try and save them

....a doctor who laughed at me when I asked if I could have my bedrest modified, and patiently responded to my queries yet again assuring me I am sick, but whom also scheduled my delivery for June 10th, just over 2 weeks away

...Callista who says the most precious things:
Me: My stomach is upset right now, I don't think I want anything.
Callista runs to me on the couch, lovingly cradles my tummy in her hands, lays her head on my belly, and says, "Oh mommy, why is the baby sad? Is she crying?"

...Emmett who doesn't tire of playing cars on the couch, reading nursery rhymes, rolling balls, and has taken to kissing my baby belly

...Ellery taking on so much responsibility, and being so brave with on mom on bedrest for her birthday

...A phone call from Jess which made me belly laugh for several minutes

....A last minute dinner from Marie and playdate for all three children

...A visit from Christy

....A visit from Brittney

....A visit from Terri

...A weekly phone call from Jessie at the grocery store, and walking Ellery to school

....movies, phone calls, play dates, and love from Kathryn

I am sure I left off more of the little miracles in the last 3 days, yes this is only in 3 days. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


Happy 7th Birthday Ellery

Ellery. All about you.


Weigh 47 pounds

Dislike piano practicing with a passion

Love to compose poetry

Always try to finagle someone into coming into the bathroom or basement or upstairs with you, it is far better than being alone

Memorize with brilliancy

Can't get enough of the Little House on the Prairie books

Have a way with animals

Are content with spending all your time with mom and dad

Love being read to but not independently

Adore chocolate

Finally feel like you are old enough to stay in your own bed all night

Play make believe and make elaborate houses from blocks and blankets for your barbies

Have a quiet confidence unusual for your age

Cough loud and often enough to turn heads and garner dirty, astonished looks from nurses, teachers, shoppers, park mothers etc

Love public speaking

Often comment about your sisters golden hair, wishing yours was blond too

Would take a snuggle date with Dad over a friends birthday party

Are so excited for baby Berkeley

Make our home a better place, full of your highly expressive love letters

We love you Ellery.


An Emotionally Weak Day

Tomorrow I reach 34 weeks. A landmark.

I have to admit feeling very frustrated by my appointments this week. My proteins doubled, but the umbilical cord is looking better. My blood pressure is the same, teetering on severe. It took almost 4 hours today at the hospital. It can be so aggravating...I feel like the next three weeks will just be more and more of the same...one test looks worse, one looks better, blood pressure the same.

Today I don't feel like I can handle this laying around, dependency on others, burden to my family for 3 more weeks.

Timely enough, my dear friend Brittney sent me some quotes on adversity today. These are from Richard G. Scott.

"Find the compensatory blessings in your life when, in the wisdom of the Lord, He deprives you of something you very much want. To the sightless or hearing impaired, He sharpens the other senses. To the ill, He gives patience, understanding, and increased appreciation for others’ kindness. With the loss of a dear one, He deepens the bonds of love, enriches memories, and kindles hope in a future reunion. You will discover compensatory blessings when you willingly accept the will of the Lord and exercise faith in Him."

"I testify that when the Lord closes one important door in your life, He shows His continuing love and compassion by opening many other compensating doors through your exercise of faith. He will place in your path packets of spiritual sunlight to brighten your way. They often come after the trial has been the greatest, as evidence of the compassion and love of an all-knowing Father. They point the way to greater happiness, more understanding, and strengthen your determination to accept and be obedient to His will."

I need to do some thinking on this. Clearly the compassion and kindness is oozing around me everywhere. It is hard to handle, how many thoughtful things are being done to us. I see a different side of so many of my friends and neighbors. It is so uplifting and inspiring to watch these good people serve.

But today I just felt frustrated by my inertia and prideful. I sat in the hospital and haughtily judged everyone around me. It seemed everything about them screamed they didn't take care of themselves. Didn't care. Why was I in the same place they were? I sat stewing at all my doctors, still feeling this is all a big sham. I am embarrassed, I don't make a habit of sitting around critiquing others and thinking I know more than them. But it was what I sat there doing. Very un-Christlike.

Clearly this trial won't end anytime soon if I keep up this attitude. As I said it is an emotionally weak day for me. I haven't been with my husband or children, and they strengthen me so much. I'm sure when Brent returns he can kick me off my sorry violin, make me laugh and offer some perspective.

I go to ponder on the compensatory blessings the Lord has to offer me... :)

One fun note:

At my ultrasound today, they mentioned for the second time (two weeks ago also) how much hair little Berkeley has. This is huge!! My babies are always bald. (See recent photos of Emmett for clear evidence of this, and he is almost 2 1/2.) Apparently she has long flowing hair on the back of her head. It is probably a nice thick mullet...but there is always a chance of some hair on the top too. A mother can always hope ;)

A final post note:

And then, as I read this again, I think how ridiculous I am to even claim this to be adversity. This is so temporary. An immediate end is in sight. Not many others can say that of their trials.


All Dolled Up

Callista. All dolled up for her cousin's princess party.
Ellery's comment: Wowww Callista. Everyone is really going to like you when you are big.
I think she was overcome by the mascara.

Callista does have killer eyelashes and the deepest, richest eyes I've ever seen. For all their darkness they sparkle like the jewel that she is.


A Few Moments

Callista: Dad this pancake is burnt.
Brent: Callista eat your pancake, it is not burnt. It is just like a toasted marshmallow.
Me: Stifling my snickers from my permanent postion on the couch, because really brent is such a trooper to cook all the meals...he even said I better coach him on how to make bread!

Grandma: Rebecca I smell some natural gas in your house.
The house was thoroughly sniff searched...later in the day...
Callista: Grandma, you know that smell? It was probably a dead rat. We have dead rats in our house, you know. They are stinky!

Admittedly, we have caught our fair share of mice in the attic this year. One was incredibly stinky. How do mice get in the attic anyways?

And one more little fun shot...

Emmett has taken to calling Callista "nanni." She introduced this name for herself out of her own volition. It immediately stuck with Emmett and he now begs to "tow" nanni for rides behind his quad.


My New Diagnosis

Test Results

Last Thursday I had a great doctors appointment. This Thursday things took quite a turn. I went into the hospital for my NST (non stress test), where they monitor the baby and my blood pressure for an hour or two. My BP was high and continued to rise for 90 minutes. Usually as I lie there it come down as I relax. My urine results came back over the 300 mark.

Finally my doctor paged and wanted me over at the office. My doctor was very clear, there is no more messing around with this. I am to be flat on my side all day long. We need to make it to 34 weeks. (Today I am 33 weeks, so the next week is ultra crucial.) He wanted me to see the perinatologists again the next day. He sent me home.

An Unwelcome Phone Call

An hour later he called me. "Rebecca you probably don't want to hear this. I just spoke with the perinatologist for a long time. We need to admit you at least for the night. We may have to keep you there indefinately. We can't risk your pressures elevating during the night. I will meet you over there."

And so I went. My pressures stayed elevated until I finally fell asleep around 11 pm. Then they dropped. Yesterday morning I felt confident they would say "Oh, now we see you are just nervous...thank goodness we don't have to worry!" Not the case.

A Maternal Fetal Consult

I saw a new perinatologist who I really liked. She helped me understand what was going on. Another doppler on the umbilical cord showed resistance building. Not a good sign. She helped me understand that most preeclamptic women's pressures don't stay high "constantly." It is normal for them to go down in sleeping or in relaxation. She said, I have this disease. It is a disease of my placenta, and not my body. She felt confident, based on my history of the last 3 children, with strict bed rest I will be able to make it to 37 weeks. They sent me home with directions to try to sleep all day. I only exaggerate a little.

I did get another 2 doses of the betamethazone for the baby's lungs. Apparently, if the first dose is given before 30 weeks another dose is very helpful. Callista was there when the nurse gave me shot yesterday. Brent tried to convince her the shot was for her, I think the needle would have gone in one side and out the other on that little bean!

If my blood pressure doesn't get any higher, my protein sky rocket, or the umbilical cord become too rigid....basically if I stay the same we are okay for another month. That is what I am praying for. However, even if I do have to deliver earlier, my mom, my mother in law, Brent and I all feel at peace that our litte Berkeley will be born healthy and strong.

Now will she be full of fluid? That is anyones guess. Two out of three so far. I sure hope not. We have enough mucus in our family already!


It doesn't do a lot of good to ever ask why, but something struck me. Women who have chronic hypertension are at a far higher risk of developing preeclampsia. My blood pressure is very low. However, in my early 20's it was not. My Dad has been on bp medication from the time he was 22. My mom's mother suffered her entire life with high bp and we assume was preeclamptic (both her children were extremely small and born early). I've always been aware of this genetic tendency. But I thought it was eradicated by my controlling the symptom of high bloop pressure. With meticulous attention to diet and exercise I keep very low bp. But, genetics are not on my side and lears it's ugly little head in pregnancy. Beyond my control. I do know, my good health would be an entirely different story if I just didn't bother.

Here I Lie...

and I feel grateful for so many things...

First and foremost Berkeley Rose (yep that's her name). The miraculous gift of this wriggly, tiny girl in my tummy.

Second, clarity. Finally, I feel I am beginning to understand preeclampsia is a disease of which I clearly do suffer. It isn't just me getting nervous at the doctor.

Third, an amazing community of love and support from family, friends, neighbors and church. Including, but not limited to and in no particular order:

  • Telephone calls from those who wish they were closer, expressing their love and concern and moral support

  • Lists made by my dear sister in law of things to keep me occupied as I lie here

  • Play dates for my children

  • A husband who does the laundry, cleans the house, attempts to make meals, plays with the children and continually teases me to keep my spirits up

  • A mother who lives only 2 hours away and comes once a week to clean my house, grocerry shop, and make a real meal fitting for our five fussy eaters with so many "no we don't eat that in our house" items

  • Comments on my blog, many from people I have never even met expressing their love and concern and prayers

  • Neighbors who call me from the grocerry store and ask if I need anything

  • The little nine-year-old girl across the street who comes over everyday to play but I am afraid she does more helping than playing, she is my third daughter

  • A relief society president (leader of our congregations women organization) who always seems to call right when the drama hits to check on me, and of course no one tells her, except the Spirit, who also reminds me it is okay to receive service and not just give

  • A wonderful neighbor who brought us 4 hot loaves of bread yesterday...oh how that was a treat for our longing palates...we miss homemade bread!

  • Rides for my children from preschool and piano

  • Meals from friends who go out of their way to respect how I feed my family

The other day I was reading with the girls in the scriptures. We came to a verse which described how the people were overcome with joy. Ellery said "Mom their cups were overflowing weren't they?"

My cup overfloweth.


Poem for Spring

Homemade raspberry lemonade popsicles ...

...and strawberry blossoms

There are so many things I treasure about Spring and Summer. But one thing, is always hard...

We found the poem Bed in Summer in our new book A Child's Garden of Verses, composed by Robert Louis Stevenson, and enchantingly illustrated by Tasha Tudor. I have decided this is a must have for every mother's library.

The girls fell in love with this poem the moment they read it. Proof, it was memorized in just a couple days, and is quoted randomly throughout the day and especially at bedtime.

Bed In Summer

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
And hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

What child in the world can't relate to these charming verses? This poem gave us a wonderful opportunity to talk about what makes something good literature. We discussed the timeless, universal nature of this poem, and the how the precise, figurative language gives the poem life and interest (ie. dress by "yellow candle-light," instead of "in the dark").


The Trolley Lives Again

After two summers of no trolley, the trolley lives again! Brent has been building trolleys since childhood. Unlike those of his adolescent years, ours does not cross any gulleys or narrowly avert trees.

Emmett's first experience. He was a big fan.


Naturally Sweetened Gingerbread Spice Cake

If you are in the mood for a moist, rich and spicy healthy cake, this is your ticket. Be aware, the flavor and spice are robust, not for the faint of heart. My family including all my children, devour it.

Naturally Sweetened Gingerbread Spice Cake

2 c whole wheat/grain flour
1 t baking soda
1 t ground ginger
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t allspice
1/4 t salt
1/4 c olive oil
1 large egg or 2 Tbsp ground flax
1 cup raw broccoli
3 large carrots
1/2 cup coconut water or plain water
1/2 c kefir or plain yogurt
1/4 c molasses
2 t vanilla
1 T grated orange zest

Combine first seven ingredients, and mix well. Add agave, oil and egg. Put broccoli and carrots in a blender, with just enough coconut water (or plain) to puree. Add to mixture, it should be about 1 1/2 cups. Add remaining ingredients and mix gently. Bake in 2 small loaf pans 45-55 minutes in a 365 degree oven.

Xylitol Glaze

1/2 cup xylitol
1 t ultra gel or 1/2 t cornstarch
1 t orange zest (opt)
enough water for desired consistency

Combine xylitol and ultra gel in blender. Blend into a "powdered sugar." Add water and drizzle over hot cake.

In math, We are learning fractions and how to follow a recipe. This recipe was Ellery's first independent cooking attempt. She did fabulous. It is adapted from the Jessica Seinfeld "Deceptively Delicious" cookbook. Ellery loves to peruse this cookbook, I think because it is pink and has really big pictures in it!


Phonogram Fun: Our New Homeschool Reading Program

We've begun our Writing Road to Reading program. Also called the Spalding Method. The girls really enjoy learning the 70 different phonograms, on the flashcards you see in the video above. Ellery is close to knowing them all. Callista has learned about half. Emmett, is hilarious. This is by far his favorite part of the day. He searches for the phonogram cards and starts making monkey sounds, okay letter sounds. Don't worry, he isn't really reading the sound from the card :) but it is amazing what he picks up while he terrorizes the toys and books.

About the Writing Road to Reading Method

I love this method so far. It was very overwhelming to me at first. The book, the marking system, it all seemed so complicated. I bought the Writing Road to Reading book, the Kindergarten and Second Grade Teacher manuals, the phonogram cards and CD, word builder cards, mental action posters, spelling notebooks, and McCall-Crabbs Test lessons in reading. All available on their website. I also ordered from amazon a book which breaks down the Spalding method for homeschoolers. It is titled, Teaching Reading at Home and School by Wanda Sanseri.

Paring it Down

After spending many hours the last 6 weeks, I have decided only to use the Spelling/Phonics portion of the program. Based on the research I have done with the classical method and the way children's brains work, I am not going to start teaching formal grammar or writing this year. Instead we will focus on copywork (copying word for word, punctuation etc. of scriptures, poems, and selections from the stories we read) and dictation. This takes the "overwhelming" out of the program. (It cuts out about 2/3 of the book.) Spalding recommends 3 hours a day for the complete program. Clearly that was not going to work for us. The proven methodology of this program is in the phonics/spelling/reading. The other parts have been added later, to make a complete language arts program.

What I Don't Need

I probably didn't need the teachers manuals. They are written for classroom teachers, but sold as homeschooling manuals (a little deceiving). And they were expensive, (70$ a piece). I may use them more next year, we will see. So the verdict is probably still out. However, if you are on a shoestring budget, pass. Ellery wasn't yet ready for the 2nd grade curriculum. She needed to be introduced to all the phonograms, rules, marking system. That part felt a little overwhelming, playing catch up. I think beginning reading in this program is far simpler than starting an older child.

We use the McCall-Crabbs reading passages a little differently. We use them for dictation/recitation. I read them to the girls (or Ellery reads) and they try to recite back as much as possible what they heard. When they get better at this we will move on to writing as much as they can.

Sanseri's book is very helpful. She strays from the program a bit, but she has some great scope and sequence ideas for homeschoolers. It is definitely worth it.

Advantages of the Program

What amazes me about this programs is how phonetical the English language actually is. There are very few "sight" words. I am struck by the huge loop holes in the other phonics programs I have used, and researched, or seen Ellery use at school. There is so much more to things than long a and short a. For example there are actually 5 ways silent e's are used in our language. Did you know that? I didn't. I have learned some much and I am a college graduate. It is a little embarrassing actually. But the information is valuable and makes so much sense, where there used to be mystery. I wouldn't recommend teaching reading any other way. This is a proven method, and well worth researching for your own children.

Ellery is still learning to actually "see" the phonograms in the words she reads in a book. When she becomes fluent in that, I think her reading skills will really feel a boost. Right now she has stopped trying to sound out words and just blasts through guessing. This program should improve her accuracy. Callista, we just do as much as she wants. No pressure. I just try to keep it fun and positive for her.

We usually break the lesson up into a few different parts about 15-20 minutes a piece. We review and learn new phonograms orally during one session. Later, we work on writing the phonograms (a harder skill, to hear the sounds and remember the phonogram spelling) and finally dictating spelling words (about 15 words 3 times a week or so).

Looking Forward

I will keep you posted on my feelings of this program and how the children progress. I am excited for the potential. Especially next year, when we will be focussing on it exclusively. I think we are going to withdraw completely from the elementary school. More on that to come!


Sunday Insights: Mothers, Teaching, and Public Schools

A recent talk by Elder Perry seems appropriate to celebrate this Mother's Day. What follows are some excerpts from his talk given in April, and my personal thoughts concerning them:

"Teaching in the home is becoming increasingly important in today’s world, where the influence of the adversary is so widespread and he is attacking, attempting to erode and destroy the very foundation of our society, even the family."

Two thought provoking and provocative books I recently read assert that public schools are one way families are being attacked. Both books are by John Taylor Gatto, a renowned, 30 year veteran school teacher of the NYC public school system. (Dumbing us Down and Weapons of Mass Instruction, I recommend the second more than the first. It is more historical and substantive. While I do not agree 100% with everything Gatto says, his books are well worth a discerning read.)

One premise in his book is that by taking children away from their families for the majority of the day, when they are most vulnerable to outside influences, parents eventually become secondary in the lives of their children. Ever seen this happen?

Do We Know What our Children are Taught Outside of our Home?

"My siblings and I were quizzed very carefully by our mother after we had been taught away from the home to be certain the correct lessons were reaching our ears and shaping our minds."

How many of us quiz our children about how their minds are being shaped as they are away from us? Are we able to "detect the subtle and brazen" attempts to destroy our families. A few recent examples from our own life seem pertinent. These examples speak to the questionable influences of school in my own child's life. Two represent outward pressure enforced on children by other children, resulting from the financial aims of the school and the final a disturbing lack of solid curricula.

School Contests

Our school cafeteria devised a contest scheme amongst classrooms. The class with the most students purchasing school lunch in a month would receive a class party. Now, I have eaten lunch at our school and the offerings are little less than poison to a growing child's body. The pressure resulting from this contest, had a dear friend of mine, with 4 children in the school, baffled and digging deep into her pockets to supply the sudden desire of her children to eat school lunch. It also led to comments from children like "Our class isn't going to win because so-and-so has allergies and he will never eat school lunch." Hmmm.

And then yet another contest Ellery came home passionate about. The class with the most children visiting a particular website (and she proceeded with a 5 minute discussion of the password, multiple clicks and destinations required) and purchase a season pass to the local water park would receive a party. She was devastated when I told her we wouldn't be purchasing a season pass. I am having a baby and it isn't practical. "But we have to so my class can get the party!"

Can you see where this is going? Why did they spend so much time "schooling" my child about how to visit a website to raise money for the school? The sponsorship and encouragement of these contests results in the shaming and guilt of the non-participative children and families. Inexcusable. This is not the kind of socialization I want for my child. It is pitting children against their parents. Our innocent little ones want a party, who doesn't, and when mom and dad stand in the way, who becomes the bad guy, the school or the parents? I realize this is not deliberately done by teachers or administrators. They are good people trying to earn a living and help children, in a broken system. I know, I was one of them.

School Content

Finally, a third example which distressed me recently. We attended a little program put on by the first graders. The children spent a great deal of time learning and memorizing songs about families, being VIP's, sharing, being kind to Grandma etc. It was very cute and entertaining program. (Although Ellery complained several times in the weeks previous about how boring it was to always practice the songs.) So why does this upset me you wonder? What could be wrong with teaching the children values at school?

The problem is school is not the setting to teach these values. Values separated from God, the gospel and our families don't have staying power. They are simply words from strangers, divorced of meaning. The home is where values are taught. Schooling should be about educating. If we aren't educating at school, and we have no time left to do it at home, when does it happen? Why wasn't my child singing cute songs full of accurate historical data? Why was she learning "social studies" instead of history. (Another great read addressing this issue is Cultural Literacy by E.D. Hirsch. The middle gets a bit long, but he presents some compelling data on how schools are failing to educate our children anymore.)

Lost Luxuries

As I read Elder Perry's talk I think about the "luxuries" afforded to mother's and families 70 years ago. He speaks of washing dishes and churning butter (I know churning butter doesn't seem like a luxury, but it was time the family worked and did things together)...school, media, and activities weren't so intrusive. Time was left for the chosen curriculum both secular and spiritual of his mother. Many families today don't have that luxury. By our own design, through over-scheduling and media, or through the demands of school assigned homework. Homework is not curriculum chosen by mothers or families.

"Parents must resolve that teaching in the home is a most sacred and important responsibility. While other institutions, such as church and school, can assist parents to “train up a child in the way he [or she] should go” (Proverbs 22:6), ultimately this responsibility rests with parents."

I believe an extremely vigilant parent can work within the school system and have a strong family. However, without severely limiting activities and media, constant surveillance, and supplementation of their education I don't know how this is possible. Who does that? Is that why families are falling apart? Could that be why LDS church leaders beg us to filter out media from our lives and really focus on our sacred God given roles?

Being the Central Cast Member

"According to the great plan of happiness, it is parents who are entrusted with the care and development of our Heavenly Father’s children. Our families are an integral part of His work and glory —“to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). On God’s eternal stage, it is usually intended that parents act as the central cast members in their children’s lives. Fortunately, there are understudies involved in the production who may step in when parents can’t. It, however, is parents who have been commanded by the Lord to bring up their children in light and truth
(see D&C 93:40).

Brent and I are determined to be the central cast members in our children's lives. It will be difficult and I know we will face scorn. Any time our choices move out of the mainstream people feel threatened or offended. I still struggle getting past my own insecurity in dealing with the scrutiny and questioning of others in our decisions on how to raise our family, but I am constantly comforted and guided by a husband, impervious to what others think of him (a true gift), and the Holy Spirit.

"I believe it is by divine design that the role of motherhood emphasizes the nurturing and teaching of the next generation. We see so many challenges today from distracting and destructive influences intended to mislead God’s children. We are seeing many young people who lack the deep spiritual roots necessary to remain standing in faith as storms of unbelief and despair swirl around them. Too many of our Father in Heaven’s children are being overcome by worldly desires. The onslaught of wickedness against our children is at once more subtle and more brazen than it has ever been. Teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in the home adds another layer of insulation to protect our children from worldly influences."

A Challenge and Vision

I would challenge each of us as mother's or parents, to prayerfully discern the best ways to be the central role players in our children's lives, to insulate and protect them. Personally, I feel lucky. This is a journey most effectively begun now when my children are young. It is about being the best mother I can, looking back on Mother's Day many years from now without regret, only with joy.

Happy Mother's Day to All...Now and Future