Sunday, February 26, 2012

How to Start Your Day

This morning, the first thing I did, which is my custom, was to read a little bit of something inspirational. The book that I picked up this time is "The Power of Positive Living" by Norman Vincent Peale. (This is not the one he is best known for, "The Power of Positive Thinking".) This one he wrote nearer the end of his long life, and it is filled with what I would term "old fashioned common sense".

One of the things he was talking about was his recollection of the days during the Great Depression, when everyone was walking around New York City being fearful and filled with anxiety and depression of a more personal nature.  He mentioned how some of the "gloom and doom" people were saying that the United States would never rise again.

Since I just blogged about some of the economic problems we are likely to be facing in the near future, I felt that this time I wanted to focus more on the positive thinking solutions we all need to be focusing on.

After finishing my morning's reading, I went on to the next item, which was letting the dogs out to do their thing.  While doing that, I have formed that habit of  remaining outside, swinging my arms a bit, and taking deep breaths to get my circulation going for the day and breathe in some fresh air and encouragement. Some mornings I have a beautiful sunrise to greet me. Other times it may be a little gray, but there is always fresh air and the sound of birds (and barking).

The last time I was in Portland to visit my daughter, there was an Asian man in the park doing his morning "slow" exercises in the Oriental tradition.  One of them was circling his arms. It looked like he was "pumping himself up" for the day, and that is what started me doing something similar in the out-of-doors in the mornings.

This morning, I spontaneously began saying some things while I was consciously breathing in and out to replenish my fresh air.  I guess I figured I might as well replenish my attitude at the same time.

"I'm breathing in faith, I'm breathing out fear....I'm breathing in enthusiasm, I'm breathing out discouragement....I'm breathing in health, I'm breathing out disease...I'm breathing in power, I'm breathing out inadequacy."  It quickly became an exercise in thinking of opposites."

I know that most of you who read my blogs are mothers.  When the children are little it is hard to remember to take time to replenish your own inner strengths.  But you've got to remember that if you don't have power, or faith, or health, it is much harder to send your children out into the world each morning (or to start the day together, if you are homeschoolers) with the right attitude.

In my cd, "How to Avoid Being a Mommy Martyr", I talk about the importance of attending to your own needs.  When you have unmet needs yourself, it is almost impossible to meet the needs of your children, or anyone else for that matter.  In workshops, I've often stated that the mother's real role is being the emotional heart of the family.

When your husband comes in a little out of sorts, or the kids are having an argument, I've found that if the mother remains calm, everything eventually settles back down. However, when it is the mother who is just a little crazed, it doesn't matter what the general mood of the family is, because everything will start going down hill.

So I encourage all you moms out there to consider how you are beginning your day.  Are you making the time for a little quiet time? A little inspirational and/or Bible reading?  A few minutes for prayer? A time for some exercise or a little fresh air outside?  You are not being selfish by taking the time to fill up your own reserves of health and need them to make the rest of your day productive and happy!

It's not even 8:00 this morning and I've already had my inspirational reading, done my exercises, breathed in some fresh air and written this blog.  Now I can go make some breakfast and greet our overnight guests. The only thing that would have been different back when I was homeschooling is that I would have had a baby nursing while I was writing this, and I would have told my older kids a few times to go back to their rooms and I'd let them know when I was ready to deal with them.  Just because you are a mom doesn't mean you have to be a mommy martyr! 

Have a great day, today and every day!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blame Our Educational System, not Obama

Today I was watching the Weather Channel, and they were talking about the rising prices of gas.  One of the meteorologists asked, somewhat bewildered, "Why are all the prices for gas and food going up?" (I raised my hand, but nobody called on me.)

People have been trying to blame the rise in food costs on the weather, which is partly responsible...But the old "supply and demand" paradigm is failing people when it comes to gas prices because it appears to some that the demand for gas is decreasing, (which isn't true on an international level), yet the price is going up.

It really is so simple.  The U.S. has been printing money like it is going out of style.  There isn't enough room here to talk about why that is.  It isn't Obama's fault, although his administration certainly hasn't helped the situation. Yet very few people seem to realize the gravity of the situation.

There are basically four things that could be done right now in this country. The first is to declare a Year of Jubilee like the Bible tells us to do.  That would solve everything, but it isn't going to happen unless we have a massive revival first.  (A year of Jubilee would wipe out all debt across the board, thereby stopping the exponential curve in its tracks and fixing everything. God knew the exponential curve would lead to economic chaos every few generations, so that is undoubtedly why he gave us this command).

The second possibility would be to allow the U.S. to default on its loans, which would likely lead to economic and social chaos. The powers that be won't ever agree to that, in my opinion.  The third is to begin confiscating private wealth and go completely socialist.  The current adminstration would probably like to do that, but, again, it would create chaos, and possibly lead to revolution, so, again, not likely.  The fourth is to  keep printing money to cover the explosive debt.  This is what is being done.

This always always always always leads to hyperinflation.  We are starting to see it in the grocery stores and at the gas pumps, but this is only the beginning.  Remember the early 80s, with 15% interest on mortgages and cds?  That was tame compared to what is coming.  This is not an opinion, it is fact.  Economic laws will always prevail, unless God's laws (i.e. the year of Jubilee, in this case) are substituted.

Anyway, my main point is this.  Be sure to include economic education and education in personal finance in your homeschooling efforts....the lack of that in the school system has lead to complete economic illiteracy, not just among the populace, but also in most of our elected officials and even in their advisors.   Almost every problem I see in this country is the result of poor education and general illiteracy in the majority of the population (and even some homeschoolers).

Whatever the results of the elections will be this fall, this problem is not going to go away simply because a different group of people takes charge.  One of the ways you can recognize economic illiteracy is when people point their fingers at one man or one party, and say, "They are the ones responsible"...No.  Economic laws are responsible. Failure to listen to God is responsible. Failure to observe the time of Jubilee is responsible.  We are all responsible, because for too many years Christians and other responsible citizens refused to recognize the slide downwards that our education system was taking. Either that, or they recognized it and ignored/complained about it without taking action.

Most of you are the exceptions.  However, please don't take "relaxed" (being relaxed and family-oriented) to mean "don't educate your children"....Without a return to cultural and economic and political literacy in this country, we are going to go the way of the Roman Empire, the Greek Empire, the British Empire, and every other one that has risen to great heights, only to slide into oblivion.

This post isn't meant to frighten....except maybe to jolt people into realizing everybody better start learning and noticing what is going on, because knowledge is the first step to power!  If you want to know where to start, on a personal level, I know of no better place to begin than to read some of Dave Ramsey's work.  (Not a paid ad....:) Then, if you don't know what the heck an exponential curve is or what I'm talking about, exercise your research skills and learn about it!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Children Learn Best in a Natural Environment

As many of you know, I work as a real estate appraiser now that my children are grown.  The other day I went to a house where there were two primary-aged little boys. They had just come off the school bus at the end of a long day.  When I first arrived, they were following me around the house, expressing curiosity about what I was doing, asking questions about my camera, and answering questions that the mother didn't know the answer to!  In short, they were inquisitive, intelligent, and engaging little people.

After a few minutes, they were told to sit down and do their homework. It quickly became apparent that the younger one, who was in first grade, was a struggling reader.  The process was difficult, and the feedback he was receiving was clearly making him believe he was less than adequate for the task.

This was on one of those rare winter days down south when it was almost 70 degrees and sunny outdoors. The outside was beckoning to the boys, but they still had to do their sit-down work, even after hours and hours of sitting and being quiet in the schoolroom.

Later in the week, I went to IKEA with my daughter and purposely sat down near the children's play area to eat my lunch.  Next to us, there was a table with a family of young children, who were being forced to sit still and eat their food.  They were squirming and misbehaving.  In front of us, there was a little girl, maybe three years old, who was happily playing in the children's play area while her parents sat a few tables away watching her.  I doubt she was in any danger of starving to death, and the parents were able to enjoy a happy lunch hour while she played, having fun in her own element.

Both of this instances just reminded me that I absolutely love to observe and/or work with young children when they are in their element, and I absolutely hate working with young children when they are out of their element, as is the case in almost every classroom situation.

I hope those of you who are homeschooling make the most of your opportunities to let the children learn outdoors when possible.  Even indoor work can be done in a more conducive environment.  A small reading area, with a comfortable big pillow in a sunny corner, makes a small child much more likely to enjoy curling up with a book than he would be sitting at a school desk. 

Little children love to learn. They just hate sitting still in a contrived atmosphere and being made to sit for hours doing work that engages their minds but keeps their bodies in a straitjacket.

We used to take our books to the park sometimes. I remember sitting by a stream reading Thornton Burgess stories to the kids about Grandfather Frog while sitting by the frog pond at Red Top Mountain State Park. 

I just feel sorry for kids who aren't allowed to be kids.