September 15, 2014

Simplicity Parenting Notes: Rhythm

Here are some more notes from a great book I enjoy rereading every once in awhile to make sure I'm slowing down and simplifying. These particular notes are just on the Rhythm Chapter. 

I apologize if not all the sentences are complete, but these are just my notes from the book, starting with a list of highlighted principles about rhythm.

Simplicity Parenting: Rhythm
  1. Increasing the rhythm of your home life is one of the most powerful ways of simplifying your children’s lives
  2. Rhythm and ritual are what we aim for; predictability may be what we can achieve (children under seven need a preview/visual of the day so they know what to expect)
  3. With ‘predictability,” a child knows what to expect (reduce the ways your children are caught by surprise by providing advance notices)
  4. Rhythms establish a foundation of cooperation and connection
  5. Any repeated “note” or activity of the day can be made more rhythmic
  6. Rhythm builds islands of consistency and security throughout the day
  7. The rhythms of family life provide consistency; the best ones also offer connection
  8. Relationships are often built in the intervals, the spaces between activities, when nothing much is going on
  9. Simplification established an unspoken emphasis on relationship
  10. Committing to rhythm builds trust and relational credits: a connection that is “bankable”
  11. The magic of rhythms is in the process, not the particulars
  12. Food is meant to nourish, not entertain or excite. As parents simplify, their kids’ food issues diminish or resolve quite naturally
  13. Consistency reinforces value that are larger than personal preferences
  14. Two or three “pressure valves” built into the day will help a child fall asleep at bedtime (activities where a child can “lose himself in” allows for a release of tension, and the mental ease needed to process the day’s events.)

Even if rhythm remains elusive, you can still provide your kids more security by increasing predictability in their daily lives. 
The implication of rhythms is that there is an author behind how we do things as a family. Parental authority is strengthened by rhythms: there is order and safety. Rhythm carves the necessary channels for discipline, making it more intrinsic than imposed and much less parent verbiage, effort and fewer problems around transition.

A rhythm’s value comes from the intention behind.
Do we have intention in our daily and weekly family life and rhythms? If we haven’t thought about it, maybe we need to. Here are some ways to think about it in regards to our family life being compared to a musical piece.

· Main Chords: What are the consistent chords of your day and week?
For most it is generally meal times and bed time. Having these times set helps kids order their day and better place their physical, emotional and intellectual view of the world.
Stable foundation to facilitate their own mapmaking. Meaning hides in repetition

·         Notes: What melody or events are you creating in your week?
events and activities planned in

·         Rests and Pauses: Are their periods of rest in your day?
These moments during the day give more meaning and emphasis to various parts of the music. IT shouldn’t all blur together as one long day. Take time to breath between each activity by not scheduling too tightly. We normally stick to one main activity each morning or afternoon and rarely back-to-back time-sensitive activities. The afternoon (12-2) is always quiet-time: naps for those who need it and just reading time and personal quiet time for those who don’t nap. This is a great time to rejuvenate and act like “pressure valves.”

·         Tempo: What is the speed of your week?
Some days will be fast and some slow. Be sure to add variety and plan in a few slow days to follow a crazy weekend rush of activities that had you flying all over. Think of them as A and B days. We try to plan one day in and one day out with friends so we’re not always out and about. It might help to break your days into AM, Afternoon, PM…but we try to limit evening activities (so PM for us means afternoon, before dinner).

Here’s an example of a weekly tempo:
A Days (slow): Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Friday
B Days (fast): Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday

Here’s an example of a week rhythm: 
And a video introduction to ours

 simplified view of the rhythm schedule

September 8, 2014

Noise: Being Still

I remember my last transfer on my mission quite clearly. It left a distinct impression on me that still remains. I felt quite clearly the words in my mind and heart to "be Still." As the transfer unfolded I found I was being taught what that phrase meant...specifically in letting go of things I didn't need to control.

Sometimes in life we worry too much about unnecessary things. Our minds become cluttered and we can get overwhelmed. This is not the way of peace. 

I love the scripture in 2 Timothy 1:7...
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

Is our mind sound?
Is our heart full of love?
Do we feel that power, or confidence?

If not, I suggest having greater faith in God's promise of that love. But how do we do that? Let go.

When we don't feel peace there is a reason. And no, it doesn't mean we are bad or have dome something wrong, persay. However....there is something in our life that we can choose to let go of. And what that is we may not always consciously know. But other times we do know and may just be holding on to because of fear or comfort in Our situation or various other reasons. Whatever the case, prayer will help.

I love the scripture Ether 12:27. I read it this morning and decided to visually represent it so it had more meaning to me. I will post it later if I get to digitally recreating it. But here is the verse:

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

If we choose....and that is IF...
He will give us grace and peace to let go of things that don't matter and that take away from our peace. Because the Savior is the bringer of peace, not of confusion.  

So with that, I'd like to clarify what some of the voices are that we hear in our life, so as to make distinguishing God's voice and direction in our life a little more clear.

There are three types of voices that add to the noise in our head. (As if sometimes music and buzzing electronics wasn't enough! :) 

Satans Thoughts
These are negative thoughts and typically begin with "you." Ex: "You can't do this." These are loud and persistent and tend to depress and take away from our hope, peace and love for ourselves and others.

Your Thoughts
These typically are "I" statements and sometimes may feel hard to distinguish between your and satans, because as you give heed to negative voices you begin to adopt them and they then can become your thoughts. Which is why we have to recognize them and write them down so we can correct those false thoughts and beliefs.

The Spirit
These are generally quiet and peaceful and don't hang around too long if you ignore them. They frequently take more the form of a gentle or powerful calm command. Ex: "Be still." And the more you can eliminate the other louder voices, the easier this voice is to distinguish. I enjoyed the book Hearing the Voice of The Lord, by Gerald Lund to better understand different ways we receive and can notice the voice of the spirit. 

I would encourage those who want to better develop this clarity of voices to do a few things:
1. Work on negative thoughts. I'd start with maybe a little black book to write negative thoughts down in, so you can be aware of your thought patterns. When you hear negative thoughts in your head, write them down (I'd also mention if you are being negative, critical or mean...those also stem from negative thoughts, so I'd pause to see where the problem may be there too). Over time you can see where your mental energies are focused and then can sort through the rubbish and false beliefs and turn them around into true statements, one statement at a time (don't overwhelm yourself and try to work at all simultaneously). I like to find scriptural truths and promises that counteract the negative beliefs, that I can place greater faith in that the negative thoughts, and work on the most negative one first.

2. Study the scriptures. I love 2 Nephi 31:20 which says to press forward with a steadfastness in 
Christ....feasting on his word. The scriptures are truths and we can't dig ourselves out of negative beliefs merely by relying on positive affirmations about ourselves. The true source of empowerment isn't an isolated "I" statement, but rather a "I AM" statement, grounded in scriptural truth and the love of our Savior. Turn to his promises and pray for help finding a statement specifically for you and your need.

3. Turn off irrelevant noise. Turn off incessant noises that do add to the peace and clarity. Constantly having loud music on can clutter the mind. Instead, perhaps turn on some soothing music or uplifting music to encourage positive thoughts and stillness. The environments create and surround ourselves in can have a great impact on the "clutter" of our brain, for better or for worse. 

4. Write in your journal. Record your thoughts and feelings regularly so you can be aware of yourselves and emotions and gods hand in your life. As you do this you can better gauge where you are and better live in the present. Even if it is just writing three things you are grateful for each evening before bed. Little steps. 

5. Pray for help. I enjoyed reading a little book last week called As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen. In it, he talks about the power of our thoughts as the creating force of our life. If you aren't pleased with your life, start working on your thoughts and turning me over to Heavenly Father through prayer and conscious choice to replace negative thoughts. Our thoughts become our beliefs, which become our actions. If you are acting in a way you don't want, it starts with your thoughts. Take responsibility for your thoughts and actions (don't blame others).

Last thought: I woke up this morning thinking about the story of Elijah as I listened to the howling wind that actually sounded like words of the wind. So I wrote a little poem:

Words: blowing by...
(But He wasn't in the wind)

Feelings: shaking and quaking...
(But He wasn't in the earthquake)

Thoughts: as burning flames...
(But He wasn't in the fire)

And after the fire, stillness.
A voice: His still small voice.

Listen. Listen.
"Be Still."