TJEd Forum: James Ferrell and Helping Things Go Right

This year at the TJEd (Thomas Jefferson Education) forum in Salt Lake City, James Ferrell was the key note.  If you are familiar with Arbinger Institute publications (which I highly recommend), you will be very familiar with this content.  Here is the in-a-nutshell version laced with my thoughts.

How to Influence is a topic that is on the brains of all Leadership Education parents.  Especially if you are a parent mentoring young adults.  Those teen years are the years when we question who is having the greatest influence and if it is great influence. 

Mr. Ferrell presented two ways to use our time.  There is the wrong way and the right way:).  The wrong way is dealing with things going wrong and the right way is helping things go right.  Sounds simple, right?  If you have experience with Arbinger, you know that the right way is probably going to be a little painful.

Helping things go right means we have to look at ourselves and how our way of being is impacting our relationships and the world around us.

On Monday, I tearfully came to the conclusion that I was spending all of my time dealing with things going wrong.  And the universe was in agreement…and decided to continue to aid me in dealing with things going wrong by giving me more wrong things with which to deal.

It’s a natural law you know…the universe always combines for us in our efforts. So, I had to make some sudden and painful changes in order to trick the universe into helping me help things go right.  It worked.  Or at least has so far.  I’m being diligent in focusing on how I am being and I like seeing how things can go right.

Plus, I am so tricky.

Other weekly wrap-ups here!


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LOVE…A true knight

LOVE LOVE LOVE stories of courage and valor.

LOVE LOVE LOVE boys and girls who play with swords.

LOVE LOVE LOVE duct tape.

LOVE LOVE LOVE The Story of Roland, based on The Song of Roland, a centuries old French tale of chivalry in the time of Charlemagne.

My Love of Learners have been reading this along with other wonderful tales of heroes for their Knights of Freedom class.  This month we focused on the Code of HonorThe Story of Roland has a wonderful True Knights Code of Honor and after reading it, our group came up with their own:

As Heroes we pledge to be forgiving,

to have honor,

to act with valor,

to always be honest,

to be kind, peaceful and bold.

We will share our faith in Jesus Christ.

We won’t turn back from a challenge.

We will stand constantly vigilant and never turn our backs on our foes.

Our class reads a classic about a hero, has a spiritual focus for the meeting, and makes something out of duct tape to go along with the scripture.  It’s SO much fun!  Our theme scripture for the class is Ephesians 6:13-17.  And you can see by their armor that they are taking this seriously :).

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Math for Young Scholars

Math has been a thorn in my side since I began this homeschooling adventure. Mostly this can be attributed to the fact that my husband loves math and I could take it or leave it.  Definitely I see the value in it.  I love the now rare species of cashier who can actually count change back properly.  But I never could claim to have a passion for it.  It’s hard to teach math the Leadership Education way if you don’t care about it. Really hard.

We have used different math curricula over the years, but it was really a ‘require not inspire’ situation much too often.  That has always really bothered me.  However, I have a young scholar in my home who has survived my experiments and has blossomed with her father’s enthusiasm. She is now taking a LEMI Pyramid Project class and is thriving.  She must be enjoying it more than I realized because I found these images on my camera tonight.  She took pictures of some of her math work today.  We read together most days out of one of her books.  Recently it has been The Beginners Guide to Constructing the Universe.  It’s a fascinating read!  She does the constructions and experiments in the book as we read.  It’s like math therapy for me…plus a whole lot more.  Finally, I am studying math as it relates to the universe…not just computations.  It’s amazing how extremely interesting it becomes when you see how holistic it is.

Another GREAT resource we found this year is Life Of FredThese are math texts that are written in an engaging way. They teach more than just how to do equations.  The first text starts with fractions.  So a student needs to have their multiplication facts, addition and subtraction facts and long division under their belt before beginning.  I highly recommend them.  We are gathering the entire set for our home library.

Once again I can say that You not Them is a true principle. It is a whole lot easier to Inspire not Require when you are excited about something.  It is natural to want to share your enthusiasm for a subject or idea.  Finding something that inspires you may take a little time or a bit of work.  Our math adventures this year have changed the way I am teaching some of my younger kids.  I’m having a lot more fun with it now!


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Playing with matches

Yeah, I know that it is a terrible thing for children to play with matches. But if you let your kids watch The Scarlet Pimpernel too many times…and you don’t light your house with candles…you have to have some sort of flame to seal your secret messages with wax.  Hence playing with matches.

I love homeschooled kids.

Mine got a little restless this evening when the sun dropped behind the snow dusted mountains and it was too cold to continue their battle outside.  They came in and took off their armor (all made with duct tape) and began writing a series of notes that just had to be sealed with wax.  Turns out it was a great activity for some to work on their spelling and others their hand writing.  Everyone made a royal mess of my kitchen counter, but no permanent damage done.

Except to my favorite candle…which they kept lit for convenience.  It has a hodge-podge of sealing wax drippings in it now.  Poor thing.  Guess that one won’t be moving with us.

Oh yeah, it’s packing time again.  How do I know?  Because I’m expecting a baby soon and that is always the most wonderful time to uproot.

Especially right before the holidays.

Especially when it’s beginning to snow. 😉


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Mama’s Favorite Halloween Tradition

Most of you will be well beyond bribing your children.

I am not.

After the Halloween haul I like to let the kids eat what they want for the night.  My olders are very conservative…never have been much into the sweets.  My younger children have no limits.  So, someone usually gets sick.  The next day they pour it all out, choose five pieces they can’t live without, and give the rest to me.  They put the special pieces in a baggy and can keep them for a treat later.  Most of the time they forget about them and I throw them away.  The rest goes into a basket for 4 o’clock treats.  At 3:45 I set the timer for 15 minutes.  They have until the timer beeps to do a thorough clean sweep of the house and their rooms.  If upon inspection it looks ship shape they get to pick a little treat to eat.  For a few weeks this gets my house looking great in 15 minutes.  It helps me get a little closer to the Christmas season when I no longer need the candy but just remind them that Santa is going to be making his list soon.  Bwahahahahhaahaa. Did I mention I was a witch for Halloween this year…again?

Thanks to Auntie April for this brilliant idea.

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Halloween Birthday

My Halloween baby just turned 14!  Look how big her feet are :).  And yes, she carved that all by herself…with some serious gutting help from her sister.  She still doesn’t like the feel of the innards of a pumpkin. Apparently when you turn 14 cake is no longer a birthday necessity.  This year it was apple pie.  You know it’s easier to bake a cake than a pie, right?  Turns out it is also easier to insert 14 candles into a cake than a pie…but I guess nothing about 14 is really gonna be easy. Thanks to a wonderful Auntie…we still had some creepy cakes.  They were a big hit with the under 14 crowd!  Gluten free and healthy and very very tasty (aside from the eyeball). You know your baby is really growing up when the gifts don’t resemble toys AT ALL…Well, big people toys I guess.  This was a major hit!  Thanks to some groovy cousins. Besides birthdays we have a lot of other fun going on.  My Love of Learners are studying knights.  They are making their own weapons and armor.  Battles are a daily event.  Thanks to whomever invented foam coverings for PVC pipes.  My Scholar is into Shakespeare, French, Latin, Life of Fred math, Geography, Piano….and lots of great books.  My little one year old has discovered in a very short period of time how to stealthily sneak candy from the Halloween take.  Boy do they learn fast!  Tomorrow we implement our greatest Halloween tradition ever.  You want to know what it is?  Bwaahahaahaa!


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Get outside!

I appreciate all the visits these past many weeks…though I haven’t been posting.  I have been doing what ya’ll should be doing: Hanging out with family.

Watching the World Cup.

Spending days at the coast.

Growing a garden.  Growing a baby.

Eating ice cream.  Wishing I hadn’t eaten so much ice cream.

Searching for this shoe.  Staying up late.  Wishing I hadn’t stayed up so late.  Reading Shakespeare.  Soaking up the local cultural scene (yup, I found one).  Shopping at the farmers market…dreaming of trips we most likely will run out of time to take this summer.

I’ve got some really exciting things happening, but no time to write about them.  So, I’ll be back when I’m ready…assuming summer ends.

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Wordy Wednesday

Welcome back to Wordy Wednesday!

This week’s new word is…

Mendacious: lying, untruthful or false.

The neighbor boy told a mendacious story about how my bicycle was broken.

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Finding Peace

Did you know that the original intent of Mother’s Day was to be a day when mothers all over the world came together and discussed how to promote peace in the world? Julia Ward Howe, author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, first campaigned for the peace concept of Mother’s Day.  Of course, what we have today is a far cry from that.  It’s focus has become, as most great holidays, commercial.   Too bad.  But it has me thinking about mothers and peace and that all great things begin in the hearts and minds of the people.

There is a woman in my own community who has taken on Julia’s work. She has organized a group of mothers from around our valley to read, discuss and apply principles of peacemaking in their own lives.  This group has the potential to impact generations of families and communities.  Before reading each book we have a set of questions we answer, and then another set for when we have completed the reading.  It helps to really get the concepts and ideas into our heads (and hopefully our hearts).

Here is the reading list:

The Peacegiver

Leadership and Self-Deception

The Anatomy of Peace

The Parenting Pyramid

Bonds that Make Us Free

All of these books have come from the Arbinger Institute, an organization dedicated to change and peace.  Each of the books listed has a different focus: organizational, personal, relationship, etc.  Some are secular and others are spiritual.  Each one has valuable lessons that can be applied in any area of life.

Why do I think these mothers can make an impact on peace in this world?  Because all conflict…and I mean ALL conflict… begins in the heart.  Peace in the hearts of the mothers will impact the world.


We experienced the West in a new way this week: a Mountain Man Rendezvous.  Wow!  I had no idea so many people participated in this wild event.  Everyone was in period costumes (trappers, traders, indians).  They all were set up in canvas tents and teepees.  Traders were selling firs and firearms and hand tooled knives.  It was some wild west fun.  Though I’m sure there were healthier options…we had to try the twisted taters (a whole potato spiral cut and fried) and some root beer bottled in cool blue bottles.

You can check out other 30 minute blog posts at Steady Mom.


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Wordy Wednesday

Welcome to Wordy Wednesday…It all started with my Mamá saying she would pay me a dollar for every word that I looked up, could say, define, spell, remember AND could use to stump my Papá.  It was fun!  Mamá said it was getting too expensive so instead, she gave me a weekly guest blog post.  This is where I will be sharing my new word and challenging you to use it!  So take up the challenge!

This weeks new word:

Gasconade: Extravagant boasting, vain glorious fiction.

They soon tired of his gasconading.


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