Cherie's Thinking Again

Thoughts, Stories, Observations and Ideas by a Mother of Adults

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The One Who Answers

by Cherie Logan

Yesterday was a day to remember. Neil and I took nine 13-18 year-old girls, including three of our daughters, down to Las Vegas to see Bodies: The Exhibition at the Luxor Hotel. Our 16-year-old daughter had seen it shortly before and wanted to share the experience with the rest of us. After many juggling guests – lots of cancellations and “I don’t want to see dead bodies!” we finally had a group of willing and mostly eager girls for a long trip to “Sin City.”

“It’s not so bad here,” said Chalae. “I keep looking and don’t see anything worse than what is on T.V.”

“It’s noon, that’s why.”

“What did you expect – naked people walking the streets?”

“I want to go stand on a corner and see what happened.” Commented my lovely daughter with – please believe me – high moral values.

“Not on your life.” I firmly shouted above the instant roar of nine teenage girls.

She shrugged and smiled. “Dad could stand next to me.”

Firmly holding my ground, I remarked, “Right. Young teen girl. Old man. Not going to happen.”

Suddenly the car shook with laughter from everybody except Chalae. Puzzled, she asked, “What?” And then the picture I presented grabbed her and she laughed louder than everybody. “That’s not what I meant…” She gasped between continued bursts of laughter.

The exhibit was incredible, beautiful, respectful and remarkably spiritual. There was a dramatic difference in likeability between the group of girls Chrystal’s age and the ones around Chalae’s age. The younger girls walked through, quickly going from one exhibit to the next and then hung out together on the balcony exit and waited for the rest of us. The older girls hovered around Neil – Dr. Logan – while he talked about each exhibit and answered their questions. I loved seeing my husband patiently – for the most part, anyway – sharing his knowledge with the girls. These girls came away with a respect and awe over the human body and God’s creations.

On the way home, and out of smoky Nevada, we stopped for dinner. It was hard to hear the girls in the very back of the van, so when the engine turned off, I finally heard my daughter, Chrystal’s, seemingly off-the-wall question. “Mom, what does (insert a boy’s name here) mean?”

“It is a nickname for Richard.”

“That’s my grandpa’s name,” said one girl.

“But what else does it mean?” Persisted my almost 14-year-old daughter.

“What?” I could almost pretend to not hear because of my very real hearing loss. How would YOU answer? ‘That’s silly, it means Richard.’ ‘It’s too noisy in the van, I can’t hear you.’ ‘Let’s talk about it later.’ ‘It’s something we don’t talk about.’

She emphatically repeated, “You know, if somebody says, ‘You are a  (boy’s name – okay, it IS a boy’s NAME . . .)’, what are they saying?”

I respond the way I always do. I’m famous for it. Some teens have been heard to actually say, “DON’T ASK SISTER LOGAN BECAUSE SHE’LL ANSWER!” But they do anyway. I sigh and say, “They’re saying that you are a (insert THE male body part in correct terminology).”

A sleeping girl, somehow, tuned into that one word, woke in shock and said, “What?” Thinking it was the girls way in the back, I repeated – loudly – and amid gales of laughter they all tumbled out to go into dinner.

I’m left to ponder and question my place in the world. I’m a mentor to mothers who want to grow their family into connected greatness. I’ve instructed these mothers in classes covering over 100 subjects, including are my extremely popular classes on teen communication and how to help them maneuver to adulthood through Filling in the Generation Gap. I promise parents that It Gets Easier as they deal with beloved teens. But really, exactly how important is it to have a mom who speaks plainly, honestly, and accurately? I may teach it, I may live it, and our family has proven it – but really?

Later that night, my older daughter commented on that parking lot conversation. “One of the girls wanted to know what it meant and asked Chrystal. She said, ‘I’ll ask my mom,’ because she knew you’d answer.”

There it is – The One Who Answers - my place in the world.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

This year is starting off with promises of powerful changes! No kidding. My children, my husband, my closest friends and my students have all laid down the law. "You are a professional - build a business. Build two. Build more. And publish all those books you've written and have hidden away on the computer!"

So, after more than 30 years, my easy days of homeschooling are almost behind me and I'm turning my attention to writing, to public speaking, and to mentoring other women and families.

I'm now a part of The Family Life Coaching Group which is a collection of several different mentoring services. It is fun. It is a lot of work. It is something that I love doing and have been doing unofficially since 1980. The organizations are up and running even though the websites are in various stages of readiness. Check to the sidebar and click on my different websites.

Right now, I'm gathering in referrals from people who have been helped by my classes and mentoring as well as people who know a little bit about The Logan Family Life. If you want to send in a word or two, please send a private message on Facebook or email me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Enoch Sons is Now Available!

The first volume of The Enoch Influence - Enoch's Sons - is finally available! What I intended to be an LDS fantasy turned into an LDS romance fantasy young adult novel. Whatever it is called - it is a fun book. Writing a novel after having written so many motivational books for mothers was a huge undertaking for me. No kidding - I had to make up names, places, personal histories, and back stories. I gained a huge appreciation for novelists as a result. It is SO much easier to write about my own personal experiences and share those with the world than it is to create identities out of thin air. Whew. But I grew to love this Enoch family and plan on visiting them again some day soon.

A warm thank you to the people who read the book and loved Enoch Sons. Without your encouragement and constant nagging, I would have just left it on the shelf for that "someday" publication.


Saturday, August 08, 2009


Kelly brushed the strands of hair from her eyes. She closed the dishwasher and punched the buttons to start the cycle. Taking the wet cloth, she wiped the counter until it was smooth. Her three babies were asleep and it was finally time to relax.

She turned off the kitchen light and made her way into the darkened living room. Something squeaked underfoot as she stepped on one of Trevor's toys. Wearily, she bent over and scooped up the yellow duck. It was the smallest size she could find, but she remembered the yellow duck she had as a girl, probably three times larger. Times were too hard to get a decent toy. The thought made her grimace.

She looked at the clock. Jerry wouldn't be home for another three hours. She hated the evening shift. It meant that she was alone every evening once the kids went to bed. Alone until midnight, when she was too tired to tell him about her day. It felt like they were casual acquaintances sharing a small part of life together. She loved him. If she didn't, maybe it would be easier.

She turned on the television and began to flip through her favorite channels. A commercial came on, something by the safety council about children drowning. Her breath caught in her throat and her stomach turned over. Without thinking, she jumped up from the couch and hurried to the bedrooms.

Kelly carefully opened the door to her daughters room. Tessa was asleep on her bed with her arm casually thrown over the pillow. Nina had left the bed and was cuddled up asleep with her stuffed animals on the floor. Kelly gently scooped up her three year old baby and placed her next to her older sister. It didn't matter that there were two beds in the room, Nina hated sleeping alone. Her big sister rarely woke when Nina joined her. That was something to be thankful for anyway.

Kelly brushed away a tear as she looked at her little girls. It had been so long since she had watched them sleep. She used to stay by their bed every night just to feel that tenderness that comes in the quiet. She loved them so much and she couldn't imagine life without them.

She checked the window to be sure it was latched and then quietly slipped out of the room and softly closed the door. Unlike the girls, Trevor's door was slightly ajar. She was always afraid that she wouldn't hear him cry. He was a little over a year and the most calm of all her little ones. He'd give a few cries, and then put his thumb into his mouth to soothe himself until she came. She tried to come quickly. Once she had thoughtlessly closed the door and later found him asleep with his thumb in his mouth and tear stains down his cheek. She didn't even know that it was possible for a baby to cry so quietly that he could go unnoticed. She never again closed the door when he slept.

Creeping to his crib, she gazed on his chubby round face framed by his curls. They were so blond that they seemed to shine in the dim light. She stood there until her eyes adjusted to the light and watched his breathing, not daring to wake him, but not willing to leave until she was sure.

Back in her small living room, she looked at the clock. That entire trip ate up less than five minutes. She turned off the television and rocked slowly in the dark. Her hand reached for the phone but stopped short of picking it up. They had disconnected it last month when they had switched to a single cell phone. As usual, Jerry had the phone. There was no choice, really, as he needed it for work. But Kelly's loneliness had dramatically increased since they'd dropped the home line.

She chided herself. Everybody has lonely moments. It just felt like her moments had stretched into a lifetime. Before she could clamp down on her thoughts, she started to cry in earnest. More than anything, she wanted to be a little girl again and be safely held in her mother's arms. But that was impossible. Kelly's mother had died, leaving her without the never failing comfort that was always there when she needed it. Her heart had quit beating one night while she slept. Peaceful, sudden, she hadn't even stirred awake. How could a heart that had given so much just quit so easily?

Kelly stared at the green light from the clock readout for a full minute before it registered that she was even looking at it. Only a few more minutes had passed, this night would never end. She walked to her bookcase. It was filled with old friends. She smiled, remembering how she had carefully chosen each book thinking she would share them with her children. But none of them were baby books, or picture books, or even something Tessa would be interested in for several more years.

She had read to her children before bed. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb and Where the Wild Things Are. Timeless stories, to be sure, but nothing to stretch the mind. She recited the first one from memory as her hand reached out and closed on White Fang. When she read the book, it started her on a search for any novel about dogs. Then came The Black Stallion. She read every book that William Farley wrote. Her favorite was The Island Stallion. She used to dream about escaping her childhood by finding her way through the caves into the sanctuary of the island. Maybe that was why she loved The Swiss Family Robinson so much. Isolated, protected and yet surrounded by adventure and each other's love.

Strange. She had never thought about how many stories she loved where the characters were immersed in loneliness. Like her own childhood. Day in and day out, four wall without a mother because the need to work had pulled her from the home. But the days were better than the nights. Sleeping in her own room, in a big bed, she often felt lost. The dark would close in on her until she felt unable to move because of fear.

Marriage should have changed that. It did. Sort of. The nights felt safer with Jerry asleep beside her. But, when he was gone, she felt as if every cell of her body was on edge. The windows were checked and double checked. The curtains closed tight. The door bolted. She checked on her babies often, just to be sure they hadn't been swept away by some unseen foe.

Replacing the book, she sat in the chair, pulling her legs up to her chest. Another five minutes gone. She couldn't shake her uneasiness. She wanted to be held. She wanted to cry. She wanted to hear a human voice teasing her out of these feelings. Instead, she watched the clock as it ticked away another minute.

There were things she could do. Pictures that needed to be arranged in the albums. A cross stitch project sitting under the end table that had been waiting for her to complete for the past six months. A letter to write, or a shopping list to create, or bills to pay. Plenty to do. She wandered into the kitchen to attack the bills. The calculator was out of batteries, the pen was out of ink, and within minutes she was out of patience. But she had managed to plow through another fifteen minutes.

“Mommy, I had a bad dream.” Kelly picked Tessa up and headed for the rocker. Soothing her with soft tones, she listened as Tessa described her dream. Kelly made a few suggestions that allowed Tessa to change her dream. The little angel smiled and leaned her head against her mommy's chest. She was asleep again almost instantly. Kelly sat and held her middle child, rocking her and singing softly. Her heart surged with love for her daughter. She was such an active child that she rarely allowed anybody to just hold her. Except at night, when her activity calms and she wants quiet rocking. She put Tessa back to bed next to Nina and checked in on Trevor. All was well with her children and the clocked had moved several notches close to Jerry's homecoming.

She curled back into her chair and wondered what it would be like when she was old. Her children gone. Jerry too, probably. The thought chilled her but she pushed past the feeling and imagined what her life would be like. Alone again. Watching the clock, wondering when the last tick would click on her life. A morbid thought. Maybe she would write a book. Then whenever that last tick happened, she'd leave something behind that would touch lives. Maybe. A better thought. Why wait?

Kelly begin to imagine her story. But it wasn't interesting enough. So she sat and created the story of a lifetime, full of adventure, companionship, and family. She turned on her computer and began to write. Her mind was filled with the conversation of her characters and her fingers flew over the keyboard as she tried to keep up with them.

A page turned into a chapter and still she wrote. She was so engrossed in the story she would dedicate to her children that she never heard the door open. Jerry, tired from work, placed his hand on her shoulder, and bent down to give her a kiss. Surprised, she exclaimed, “Wow, honey! I can't believe you're home so soon!”

Thursday, February 05, 2009

How Are You Doing?

"How are you doing?" The sincere question pulsed in the air, waiting for a response. Kathy hesitated and her friend immediately noticed. "Really, how are you doing?" Sarah's eyes bore into Kathy's, pressing her for a true answer.

Kathy's thoughts raced and stumbled over each other trying to reach the correct pigeon-hole of truth and reality. How was she doing, really?

Kathy - packing, preparing for the rapidly approaching evacuation. Her steps pulling her away from the books so carefully tucked away in the box. Her hand touching the case that had held them for years. A case built to her specifications, stained the perfect deep cherry she loved. She would have to drop the books off at the thrift store.

Kathy – shivering in the cold winter air as she stubbornly sat in the porch swing, gently rocking, her eyes constantly moving from the mountain scene before her to the mountain scene to her right and over to the neighbors on her left. It was quiet on the porch, a quietness found only here. She grabbed the blanket that had slipped off her shoulder and pulled it in close. Her cat jumped onto her lap and burrowed into the blanket seeking warmth. Kathy's breath caught in her chest – the cat! Another drop off, to be sure. If she left her here, how would she survive?

Kathy – serving Sunday dinner from three crock pots. The smell of roast blended with onions and potatoes saturating the air. Laughter everywhere. The baby pulling canning lids from the drawer and tossing them in a circle around her body. The toddler thundering by as he pushed the stool across the tile, the noise almost unbearable. Games being cleared from the table so the family could eat, whistles sounding to notify all that dinner was finally ready. Laughter – again – always laughter at these times of family gatherings. Moments peaked by an occasional snippet of sibling frustration and parental irritability. She moved from the counter to the spice cupboard, quickly crossing the familiar space, just as the voices silenced, waiting for prayer. Turning, her eyes twinkled as she swept past each beloved face.

Kathy – curled up in the small front room, shivering again, this time because the gas fireplace refused to burst into warming flames. She thought of calling her son in again to fix the problem. She shook her head, knowing that it would be a wasted endeavor. Still, the warmth and feel of gently contained flames soothed the soul. Maybe in her new home - wherever that might be - there would be a small fire.

Kathy – sitting in the family's quiet room, her bedroom really, but until bedtime, it was the family's peaceful retreat. Now her eyes burned with unbidden tears. Here was where she counseled her children, solved the problems that come with running the home, planned and dreamed, organized resources and juggled needs and wants. Here she created, here she soothed. This was the room where she called on the best of herself and gave it to those who needed her. Closeness, quietness, mixed with dashes of fun and laughter. She could see her daughters and her daughters-in-law – sitting and talking, telling tales of love and frustration, but mostly simply sharing life with each other. She could see her sons quietly coming in and wanting to talk in a place where the deepest questions could be asked and carefully answered. Where would the “talking” place be when she left here?

Kathy – looking at the table and seeing her husband, arms folded, eyes twinkling, calling for prayer. Looking at the couch and seeing her husband, face intense, fingers pressing on the game controller, arms whipping back and forth as he played with his sons and sons-in-law. Looking across the lawn and seeing him again, pulling the hose and frowning because of hated yard work, even while he created a green environment in a pocket surrounded by weed-ridden land because he knew she loved beauty. Looking at the chair beside her in their room and once again seeing only him, her heart racing, her smile gently touching her face, as she closed her eyes in sleep, knowing that she was safe while he was beside her.

“Really, Kathy, how are you doing?” The tiny question broke through her memories. “I know hard times are forcing you to leave your home and that must be killing you inside.”

Kathy smiled, and when she did the light in her eyes flared into brilliance. “I'm good. I never thought leaving a house could be so painful, but I'm still breathing. I thought – I worried – that if I lost my home, my family would never find that same incredible unity they found here. I still wonder what a difference it will make in our lives, how we'll ever manage to all be together again in one place with so many children and grandchildren.” Her voice became raspy as she fought against an uncontrolled wave of grief. “But, who we are, how we love, it isn't the home, you know. It is the heart and soul of being a close and united family.”

She smiled again, sincerity vibrated with every word. “We all tend to look at the worst thing in our lives and think, this is it. This is all that I'm about – the worst whatever – death of a child, poverty, pain and illness, hurt and betrayal. . . loneliness. It is almost natural to let that worst thing color everything, veiling all the good from view. And it is a terrible lie forced on us to capture our minds and hearts, rendering us unable to rise above whatever that horrible thing might be.”

Her friend nodded slowly, half in agreement, half wondering exactly what Kathy was saying. She knew Kathy's heart was reaching out, attempting to teach something important. Glancing at the last of the boxes being loaded into the truck by the children, she just couldn't
grasp the message.

Kathy bent down, picked up her beloved cat and gently placed her in Sarah's arms. “Take care of her please. She can't go where we are headed.” Wiping a small tear from her cheek, Kathy stepped towards the car holding her youngest children. Turning back, her smile was honestly radiant.

“I'm okay. My family is solid, full of laughter, companionship, unity and with their feet firmly planted in the teachings of our home,” glancing at the beloved structure behind her, “no, the teachings of our lives. Most people tend to look at the worst thing and think – this is it. My family – every single individual - has chosen to look at the beauty around us, at the elation of life itself, and at the true security of eternal relationships and we know – I know - beyond all doubt – this goodness truly is our reality.”

Sarah watched as Kathy's small caravan drew out onto the road, carefully cutting in between the long string of cars, all leaving their homes because the bad times had forced that reality upon them. Amid the colorless line of vehicles, only Kathy's
small group glowed with an unexplainable inner light. Kathy's final message at last vibrated in Sarah's heart.

“This goodness truly is our reality.”

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Christmas Fun

Chiya and Lem planned the activities for our Christmas party this year. We played pictionary using marshmallows and toothpicks and we re-wrote Christmas songs using words picked out of a hat. Also, at the last second, Chiya told us someone in each group had to do an interprative dance. Luckily Chamrie was there to video it. Hee hee. :)

Dad, Mom and Chrystal had "grandma got run over by a reindeer". The words they had to use were Christmas Party, Gay Apparel, Roast Beef and Dum dum dum.
However, mom and dad couldn't agree, so they each wrote a version. The first one is Mom's, the second is Dad's. Mom forgot to put some words in her song (as you'll see at the end).

Ben, Randee and Ryan had "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" their words were 3 Kings, North Pole, Christmas Tree and Presents.

Doug and Chamrie had "Jingle Bells" and the words Nutcracker, Elves, Stockings and Mistletoe. Doug made up most of the song... Also, Dad was filming this one and he didn't know how to make it stop recording, so feel free to skip to the next one when Doug stops singing. :)

Chiya, Lem and Chalae had "What Child is This?" and Fire, Star, Candy Cane and Scrooge.

Chani, Scott and Cheyanne had "Silent Night" and Angel, Egg Nog, Hot Cocoa and Gingerbread Man.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Tagged by Chamrie

Tagged by Chamrie - Four Things

Four Random Things I Like About My Husband
He loves me - always and forever
He has an amazing social gift - people really like him
He is committed to the Lord in every way
Without him, I could never have become the person the Lord wanted me to be.

Four Jobs I Have Had
Public Speaker
Private and Home school teacher
A 21 year career in nursing (babies) and what will be a 5 decade span of raising children: I had my first in 1979 and Chrystal will be 18 in 2016 - 70's, 80's, 90's, 2000's, 2010's!!!

Four Movies I Have Watched More Than Once
Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth version - family classic)
Oscar (Sly Stallone - family classic)
Romancing the Stone
The Mummy

Four places I Have Lived
Salem, Oregon
San Diego/El Cajon/Spring Valley/La Mesa (basically all the same place)
Kansas City, Missouri
Utah - Clearfield and Cedar City/Enoch

Four TV Shows I have Watched
Stargate and Atlantis
Jericho (notice a scifi/fantasy leaning?)

Four Places I Have Been Most Recently:
Chamrie's Home
Chiya's Home
Chani's Home (Ben's home comes next)

Four People Who E-Mail Me Regularly:
Rachel DeMille
The Fly Lady
Leslie Householder

Four Favorite Foods
BBQ Hamburgers
Fruit Salads
homemade chocolate chip cookies - soft and especially still melty (stick in micro for a few seconds and it is almost the same)

Four Places I'd Like to Visit
Any place with my entire family along for fun

Four Things I'm Looking Forward to This Year
Nathan's mission return on March 11th
Going to San Diego with my family
Going to Disneyland with my family
Going to Disneyworld with my family.
(and always hoping my family increases in number)

I'm going to skip the tagging part. If you want to be tagged, do it!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Seven Year Roadblock

The Seven Year Road Block

I've had fun reading about the myth of the Seven Year Itch. Originally it had to do with a terrible rash that seemed to never end. In fact, one of the punishment for anti-social behavior was to expose the individual to the seven year itch! How awful!

When Illinois received the Mormons into their midst after they were expelled from Missouri, it was written that she had caught something worse than the seven year itch. See the article at Phrases.

Of course, in our time it is most often referred to the destruction of a marriage. I just had my 30th anniversary a few days ago so I can breathe a sigh of relief that I've passed that seven year mark over four times already! As mythological as it might be, it is also, sadly, statistically factual. See the safe-to-read article at webmd.

Taking the bizarre link between the Mormons and Marriage, I want to share something that the Spirit whispered the other day when I was contemplating how to help somebody I loved. Okay, so maybe bizarre isn't a strong enough word. But at my old age, I've learned to listen when spoken to by the right source. And this source clearly asked me to ask about what was happening seven years ago in her life. And from there came the quiet little words “conversion” and “pattern.”

Patterns I understand. I'm famous for being able to see patterns. Not artistic patterns, but relationship patterns, communication patterns, behaviorial patterns. The nice thing about patterns is that they allow for individual differences but are strong enough that you can learn from them and often it eases momentarily confusion and stress. At least for me. I can say, “Oh...I know that pattern!” And then I can move on with the confidence that if I can see it, well, then I'm sure my Heavenly Father can see it.

And – with some irritation – I have to admit that if I can see it, and Heavenly Father can see it, then the Adversary is also clued in. So, it comes down to which influence will I listen to when I come face to face with Patterns.

Knowing I had to explore some previously undetermined pattern connected with the request to look back seven years and the whisper of conversion, I did just that – for myself.

I joined the church in 1975. Roughly seven years later found me first pregnant and then the mother of my third child, Ben. Ben was 10 weeks premature and during that time our marriage became very strained. By the time Ben was a year old, Neil held me and wept because he realized that he didn't love me any more. I had known it was coming for months, but until he verbalized it, I could pretend that it was all dark imaginings. Needless to say, the seventh year after my conversion was one of my most painful times of my life.

Not seeing the connection between that time and my conversion, I barely started to form the prayerful question when the connection came. My life at the time of my conversion was full of emotional agony. I had a difficult family life and what drew me to the church initially was recognizing an eternal bond between an unknown father and his toddler while visiting the Mormon church's Stake Christmas Choir performance. That something between the father and child hit me to my very core, and led me to request information on the church. When I picked up the first book delivered to me by a friend, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, I got quickly to the part that declared that I was a literal spirit daughter of Heavenly Father.

My conversion, instant and abiding, was based first on Eternal Relationships, something so seriously lacking in my life that my soul hungered beyond everything else for exactly that. Seven years later, when we had our second son – a little premature boy – alive and in our arms rather than buried and awaiting resurrection like his earlier premie brother – in that very situation when we should have been more joyous than ever – our eternal relationship nearly toppled.

The thing that I hungered for so strongly that I recognized the truthfulness of the Gospel was both my strength and weakness. The difference was my choice. Seven years earlier, when presented with the reality of Eternal Relationships amid my insecure family life, I chose to commit myself through baptism. Seven years later when the same insecurities surfaced, I fought back and recommitted. For my husband, the change was quick. By voicing his agony, he healed it instantly. For me, it was so much harder. Hearing the words cut to my core. But, I held on, improving myself and my relationship, and when the storm passed, life and love was better than before.

Ah, so the connection between seven years and conversion for me was that the very thing burdened me before and that brought me into the church was the same thing that loomed over me seven years later. My choice both time was to make the right commitment to the Lord.

So, I asked my daughter who is not a convert, but who experienced her own conversion when she was fourteen. Again, roughly seven years after her conversion she had an internal conflict present itself that mimicked the emotional turmoil previous to her conversion. Her way out of the conflict was very similar to her way into her conversion.

Of course, she then called her husband who is a convert. She barely mentioned the idea and he started talking about how it effected him. Pre-convert, he was very content with his life. He was a Christian who felt that things were pretty good, what more could he want? Then the Spirit hit him with the fullness. He's just passed his seven year conversion trial and it was much the same. Things are going good, what more could he want? And then he attended Youth Conference as a leader last weekend and his testimony and answer to that question soared.

We started talking to others and found similar patterns. Then Chani picked up the phone and called the friend that started this whole discovery. “Hey! My mom says that what you're going through is normal! Just hold on, keep your covenants and recommit yourself and it will pass and be better than ever!”

I know the Spirit started the process. I hope friend finds the concept encouraging and healing. I know that I'm fascinated by a new pattern that once again allows unlimited variety while maintaining the same promise: Hold on, stay true, recommit, and expect to zoom forward once the storm has passed.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

About Me Tag

Paola tagged me and it sounds like fun. So here goes.

1. 10 years ago:

We were living in Clearfield, Utah. I had just given birth to my tenth baby - Chrystal Kayli born at 10 at night, weighed 10 pounds, 10 ounces. That year, Chani was still at home and would turn 18 in September, Ben would be 16 in September, Chamrie was 14, Chiya 12, Nathan 10, Ryan 7, Cheyanne 5, Chalae would turn 3 three weeks after Chrystal's birth. That was the only year that I attended the Young Women's General Meeting with all three of my older girls. By the next meeting, Chani would be an adult. I sat in the meeting and suddenly began to cry. As lists of things were mentioned in the talks, things that we needed to be doing, I realized that I was sitting with my three daughters and there wasn't a single thing one of them would have to say to themselves, "Oh, we don't do that, my parents never did that...." It was the most remarkable feeling to know, while not perfect, we were doing what we needed to to give our children the best chance at eternity.

2. Five Things on my To-Do List today (well, lets just say to-do list because I'm recovering from surgery and I am not allowed ANYTHING on my to-do list TODAY

a. Finish polishing my novel, Enoch Sons, so the final printing can happen.
b. Finish writing my second novel, Awakening, so I can move into the polishing stage.
c. Finish polishing Becoming a Mother and Teacher of Noble Children so I can complete the publishing process.
d. Start writing my portion of the book, When the Experts Go to Bed, There's Always Mom. If I get my non-expert part written, maybe my partner will be able to do the expert portion! And continue contemplating my future book, "How to Home School and Not Have Weird Kids!" (I'm waiting to see if my children remain "Not Weird!"
e. Find a way to clean, declutter, and enjoy the things I'm NOT supposed to do while recuperating from surgery and pleurisy!

3. Snacks I enjoy.

Home made soft semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies without nuts.
Brownies, especially with peppermint ice cream and hot fudge

4. What I would do if I were suddenly made a billionaire:

a. Invest 50-75% to pay for taxes, and to increase our family's financial resources.

Besides the general of pay bills and donations and charities, I'd:

b. Pay off homes, and buy more homes for students
c. Get an excellent and safe and not overpriced car for every adult in our family
d. Plan and execute three big family trips each year. Disneyland is my personal favorite.
e. Finish landscaping and remodeling our Family Home, including building and stocking an emergency center for our family (which will eventually number ten families by the time my youngest marries.)
f. For fun...well...everything done with my family is for fun, so there you have it.

5. Name five places I have lived.

a. Born in Oregon (born in the Portland hospital, but lived in Salem)
b. San Diego from age two until 39 years except for Neil's school
c, Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri for over three years while Neil was in school. Chamrie and Ben born there. I say that the only way I'll ever go back to Jackson County's miserable wet heat is by specific request of church leaders!
d. Clearfield, Utah for 5 years.
e. Cedar City, Utah for 8 years. I'm grateful every single day that we were brought to Cedar City!

6. Five jobs I have had.

a. Birthed and raised my 10 babies, home schooling them since 1981.
b. Nursed daily for over 21 years and helped other women with baby issues.
c. Written several books and zillions of articles and letters helping families.
d. Developed and taught my own course on personal and family communication
e. Public speaker almost any chance I get and on just about any topic.

7. Five Random Things people don't usually know about me.

I'm about as open a book as is out there, especially since I help others through my stories, but here goes.
a. I'm highly uncomfortable being in the audience of any crowd, including and especially Relief Society and Sunday School. I thrive on speaking, teaching, or being in charge of that same crowd.
b. I feel entirely inadequate teaching other people's primary aged children. I completely love teaching their youthful siblings and adult parents.
c. I don't know what to do with a crying baby and nearly panic when faced with one. For 21 years, I put the sad ones to the breast. Big no-no now.
d. The hardest thing for me to do in the entire world is to pick up a phone and make a call. After 51 years of working on this, I can now do it for business reasons when nobody else will, to fight for my children, to keep in touch with long distance friends and family, and - no - that's about it.
e. I'm confident speaking and teaching in front of any sized crowd. But the minute I'm finished I want to run and hide from everybody, then later, rely on feedback from my family about if I made sense or was way to scattered to be worthwhile.

So, now I'm supposed to tag somebody and they have to do the same exercise. Isn't this like phone calling? I'll tag somebody I have no trouble calling, in fact, I often call her when I think I'm calling her dad!

Tag: Chamrie

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Making Sense

It is a hard day for me. It's been a hard, emotional week, and for the most part, I'm not usually all that emotional. Some sort of undefined loss has hung over me. Last Thursday I cried when Neil went to play basketball. I just don't do that. I think I've told my daughters many times over the past little while how much I miss them. And I see them all of the time. I felt loss over Ben and Randee not visiting, and they, too, have visited several times. It makes no sense, but this sublte feeling of impending loss has been impossible to shake.

Today, I really cried. I sat alone in my room, tears streaming down my face, my heart breaking. No sense. No sense at all.

And then the date hit me. Today is the second anniversary of the night I held my mother in my arms, Chamrie singing softly, It's a Wonderful World, and Chiya sitting close, tenderly supportive. Holding her, the line between who was mother and who was child completely blurred, loving her, missing her already, whispering good-bye as my mother smiled softly and breathed her last.

My tears fall faster, my broken heart beats heavier, my awareness of the nearness of loss intensifies.

But now it makes sense.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

TJEd – The Logan Way

Thomas Jefferson Education – The Logan Way

Rachel DeMille sent an email to me that struck me harder than expected. She declared, “Even if you don’t claim TJEd, it claims you.”

It has quite literally taken me years to admit to myself, let alone anyone else, that my family home schooled the TJEd way. We don’t. Not really. We do, of course. How can we live in the same town as the DeMilles, be close friends with them and see them several times each week, talk and counsel with the same people who associate with them without all that TJEd home schooling philosophy rubbing off, just a little.

Well, to be fair, we have been home schooling longer than the DeMilles have been adults. I started when my oldest was twelve months old in 1981. That is when the personal revelation hit that this was the path our family would go. And it has been perfect for us. We didn’t meet the DeMille family until 1992. So, I guess that gives us an eleven year head start leap that finally landed us in the TJEd camp. But, only if all will admit that we do it - The Logan Way.

In fact, I’d be so bold to say that if any of you do not do TJEd in YOUR way, you are missing something huge. Like - the key philosophy in a super compacted nutshell.

The Logan Way. First, it is that Mom has to last to the end. That means, quite simply, that you structure your home school around the needs, interests, and personality of the mother. Not the child. Protect the mom. If she burns out, school is done. Period. Mom is in charge. It is her job to get revelation as to what and how to create the educational environment, requirements and blessings of her home. Spiritually speaking, her job is to teach. Teach truth, teach love, teach what needs learning – and it isn’t always fun, appreciated, or easy. But, no matter how much you hate to wash dishes, if you didn’t . . . well, you can picture the result.

Giving a note here to the father, when I say that Mom is in charge of the schooling - she is. Really. Her divinely appointed role is to nurture and teach. She is the one at home with the children. (Of course, if this isn’t the case, then yes, the school should be geared to DAD.) You support her by teaching some things, but the reality in most home schooled families is that Mom is the one with her finger on the educational pulse. I believe that the biggest home schooling job the father has is to protect the mother. While she spends tremendous energy on being spiritually in tune, in charge, and giving of herself in unrelenting day-in and day-out ways, she needs somebody to watch out for her. And there is nobody better than the father at doing exactly that. Women who home school without the father have a far harder job. It can be done, but they must take extra care to put themselves first by strengthening themselves so they have everything they need to give to their children. It’s hard. It’s not impossible.

I have a large family. My oldest daughter turned 17 the year my youngest was born. I truly did start researching home schooling just before Chani’s first birthday. By the time Chrystal is an adult, I would have been home schooling for a full 35 years! I’m serious about building the home school around the mother! Then allow her to get the inspiration how to fully bless her children in what she teaches, in who she finds to mentor her children, in what she requires, in how things work.

Love of Learning. For us, that means, Let Them Play. I believe that play is the Grand Work of Childhood. We want to rush everything, hurry our children to academics in a big way. It proves to the world that this odd path we’ve chosen was right for us. Recognize this yearning, and then ignore it. Let them play. Read to them. Cuddle with them. Give them chores. Teach them basics such as reading and addition. But above all, let them play.

Eventually, Love of Learning means Let Them Read. Let Them Play the Piano. Let them . . . But remember your own ground rules. After chores - After math –In the family room instead of isolated in the bedroom- Whatever. Get those things out of the way early in the day that the child finds the least enjoyable. If your child is behind in something and you feel inspired that he needs it even if he’s not loving it (yes, I do believe in requirements) then be sure your balance is on target – meaning, we tend to want lots of time spent in weak areas to make them strong. I believe that is totally backwards. A child – anyone – should spend most of the time in their strengths and a much smaller portion of time in their weaknesses. This builds confidence in themselves, in their world, and with their God, and that is what will truly help them overcome their weaknesses! If they are weak in math but strong in music – instead of forcing an hour of math for the reward of a few minutes of music, spend 5-10 minutes in math and allow all the music they want. Remember, you don’t have to teach everything today. You are not a teacher who has the student for only one semester, or one year. You have his entire childhood and youth. Eventually, they will reach the point where the weakness isn’t so weak after all, and at the same time, their strength, their joy, is what has filled most of their childhood.

Pre-Scholar. One of the problems I see as I talk to people who are fascinated by and beginning to use the TJEd approach is that they think of the stages as stairs to success. You start on the level ground of Core, and then you put your food on the step of Love of Learning and hoist yourselfand your child upwards. You pause for a while, soaking in the delight of this step. Then, it is time for your child to move up to the Pre-Scholar step. But, don’t stay there too long! It is just a preparatory stair-step, after all. The really important one is the Scholar step. So, okay, we’ve paused on this after-childhood but before real-study long enough so PUSH – GRUNT – YEAH, we’ve finally got both feet firmly planted on the step of Scholar, now how quickly can you jump to Depth?

If I may be so blunt – WRONG! TJEd is not The Stairway to Success! The intent was never to suggest that we rush one step at a time by always leaving the previous step behind! Somewhere, the wrong idea has swept through the air and it is causing serious stress for moms, and weirdness among our youth.

Instead of acting like TJEd was a staircase, picture it as a dance floor. One of those beautiful, polished wooden dance floors. The kind with lots of room to do the romantic waltz, the exciting tango, the exhilarating swing, the group interactive country and line dances, the physically challenging moves demanded by fast-paced rock music. The floor is everything. Can you imagine doing those moves on gravel? On grass? On a carpet? Sure, it can be done, but on a real dance floor – there is simply no comparison!

TJEd as a dance floor means that you have the smooth corner pieces and fine outer edges of Core to strengthen the entire floor and then sections of Love of Learning, areas of Pre-Scholar, spotlights of Scholar, lines of Depth running through them all, with the final glorious center stage of Mission. And you dance, you move around the room touching each spot, spinning for several moments here, dipping a second there, gliding and soaring in another area. You dance through life, always having each style of TJEd firmly beneath you. Never really leaving one out, not really noticing the transition from one section of floor to the next. All you care about is the dance that life is playing for you and you improve your movements until they become delightfully natural to you and breathtakingly beautiful to those around you.

For me, that is the true beauty of TJEd. I teach my children a dance of life. Some difficult moves, some scary ones, most are just fun, some are showman quality. Don’t rush the Pre-Scholar phase to get to the Scholar phase so you can have a 16-year-old ready for the Depth phase. Remember that there is so much more to your youth’s life than Scholar and Depth. The dance and all the colors of the music require variety such as talent development, social development, spiritual development, free and fun time, service in family and then beyond family, work skills, time for what they love, time for what they need, and on and on. Do not focus on just one part of the dance floor. If you do, you and your child will never love the dance the way you could have.

Scholar, Depth, Mission. The Logan Way is to forget labeling these for our children. Instead, as our children move through those sections of the dance floor, our job is to keep a careful eye on them, to make sure they keep moving so that the Core, the Love of Learning, and the Pre-Scholar sections don’t get ignored. The problem with Scholar, Depth, and Mission is that it is too easy to get lost, to alter perception and forget that Life is for Living, that there is so much more in the incredible world the Lord has blessed us with than the small universe of pure focused learning. As parents, I believe our job is to help our youth keep perspective, to keep balance, to reach outward for life and upward to heaven at least as much as they reach inward in study.

There you have it. It isn’t that we are not a TJEd family. It is that we are The Logan Family and TJEd is used to help magnify that divinely blessed reality.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Heroes We Know Nothing About

In the Fall 2007 semester, Jalyn and I taught a class about the Civil War to some local youth. In the process, we watched Gettysburg and I was hit with an enormous case of hero worship for Lieutenant (eventually General) Joshua Chamberlain.

I'm 51 years old and had never heard of him. Or, if in my long past years of high school history he was mentioned, somehow I missed it. Being stricken with a character in a movie, a man supposedly real, awakened my unquenchable need for research. Being a genealogist, the first thing I did was go to the census records of the 1800s. Of course, it would have been easier to simply go to the Internet, but at the time, I really didn't think this man who impressed me was really all that famous. So, I went to what I do best, census records.

I found Joshua Chamberlain first living with his childhood family. Then I missed him. Then I found him in other census records as a professor at a college shortly before the war, as president of the college, as governor of Maine, and as a surveyor. Cool. An interesting life.

Then I started looking online. Oh my! What a wealth of information. Apparently, I'm not the only one taken with this Maine man. He was expert in several languages, which got him the professorship at the college in Literature and languages. Then he went to war. This man who specialized in things like poetry and words, suddenly at war.

The movie, Gettysburg, had a few important things wrong. One of those was that not only was Joshua there and in charge of his men, but one of those men was his younger brother. Yes, the film got that part right, but what it didn't get right, was during the battle, his OTHER brother, who was a medic, had also arrived on the battlefield and the three Chamberlain boys were all together. At one point, an explosion nearly took all three out, and one of the sons mentioned that it would have been a sad day for their mother.

Chamberlain wrote some excellent books on his life in the Civil War, on the battles, on the incredible Men from Maine. He was responsible for some very important things that allowed the South to surrender with dignity, one being that he required that absolutely no negative things be said or done while the Rebel army marched to surrender. And then he required that they be honored.

Joshua Chamberlain was the only man given a field promotion to the rank of General by U. S. Grant. After the war, Chamberlain went on to be president of the college, governor of Maine, a representative of the US overseas, and a surveyor.

I was so excited about this incredible man, that when my granddaughter, Faith Harsh, was blessed, and we were gathered in one of the Harsh's homes I mentioned him, saying that I had just learned of him, had bought all his books and some written about him. And the entire Harsh family started talking about what a hero he was to their family. I sat there thinking - "Everybody knows about this man but me - where have I been?"

Then the next semester we taught WWII. I do much better here. I know and have several heroes from WWII. I talked to the youth about the Kindertransport, about Denmark, about Sugihara, about Jalyn's Great Uncle who survived and wrote about the Bataan Death March, Chabannes, and so many others.

Then, this week, my daughter, Cheyanne, sat and talked with me one afternoon. Somehow we ended up talking about Vietnam, the boat people, the fall of Saigon, the ending of the draft and other things I had actually lived through as a teen and adult. Cheyanne listened to me talk about that sad time, and before I knew it, she had tears filling her eyes and spilling over onto her cheeks.

Then last night, Neil and I watched a 2006 movie called, Rescue Dawn with Christian Bale. In this incredible film (a very small amount of language, no nudity or sexual content, but obviously violence, still, the worst was changed for the viewer's sake), anyway, this incredible film was about a small part of the life of Dieter Dengler. A man, like Chamberlain, that I had no idea existed.

I couldn't let what I saw in the movie rest. I woke early and started researching on the Internet. I wanted to know what was true, and what was Hollywood about the film. I as stunned by the life of Dieter. A life of heroism and survival that began with his grandfather. Dieter was a German who immigrated to America so he could fly planes. His grandfather, was labeled an enemy of the Nazis because he was the only person in his village who refused to vote for Hitler. And no matter how life-threatening the attacks against him, he held his ground and refused. This had a tremendous influence on Dieter, who later refused to sign a paper presented to him by the North Vietnamese denouncing America.

Dieter survived five months in a Laos torture camp, orchestrating an escape of all prisoners, surviving in the jungle, and on the 22nd day following his escape he was finally rescued. Later, as a civilian test pilot, he survived four more airplane crashes, and near-drowning when his boat cabin filled with water. "Before being captured in Laos, he had attended the Navy survival school where he escaped from the mock-POW camp run by Marine guards three times. He had also set a record as the only student to actually gain weight during the course - from feasting on garbage!" Wikipedia

The movie was accurate in many ways. But the ending was a typical Hollywood ending. I think of it as meaning to show the hero's spirit rather than his actual physical condition. You can read more about him at the Wikipedia site, and at the Arlington Cemetery site.

Dieter wrote a book about his POW experience titled, "Escape from Laos." "People say it was a miracle," he said in a 1979 interview, "I came out because I was meant to come out. I cannot say it was my doing. It's beyond strength to do something like that. Something, someone has to help you." Quote found on the Arlington Cemetery site.

It makes me ponder the question, how many more Heroes are there, really, people I have no idea even existed. I know about my personal heroes, people, normal people, who have impacted my life. But there are innumerable others, who impact not only individual lives, but whose courage and faith have a power to reach beyond their earthly life and touch others throughout the ages. Who are they? And if I don't know about them, who will teach my children about them?

More importantly to my family is this thought. If I do not write about my life, how will they ever find the bits and pieces that will make me a hero to one of my descendants, giving them that little something they need in their daily life to continue the faith and win the race?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"A Part of Me is Missing"

A young mother that I have cared for over several years, recently lost her baby. The circumstances were the kind that would never repeat for her. Yet, she is left with that overpowering agony of feeling that a part of her is missing, dead, forever out of reach. I write this for her, and other mothers who know exactly what that feels like.

Twenty-nine years ago, I gave birth to my first baby. During my pregnancy, I lived in a pure bubble of enchantment. Neil and I married, and our Marshall was conceived immediately. Between the bliss of being newly married, and the miracle of carrying a baby, nothing could puncture the joy I felt.

I was wrong. Six weeks before he was due, my little boy arrived after a 1 1/2 hour labor. That bubble didn't just break, it shattered into splinters so small, I wondered if I could ever gather up enough pieces to experience that lost joy once again.

Marshall lived two months in Children's NICU. His compete story can be found on my Noble Child website. He died there, while I was holding him and Neil was holding me. And I was left with the overpowering sensation of a part of me being ripped from my very spirit.

The grief was strange by common standards. As a Latter-Day Saint, I have a deep testimony that my family has the promise of being together in the eternities. That death does not change the connecting bonds between family members. That I will hold and raise my little boy to adulthood at another time. That nothing is lost to the Lord, even though some things are postponed. I'll still experience his first steps, his first words, his life as a child and the joys of Marshall as an adult. But it will have to wait. It has waited 29 years. It will have to wait a little longer.

So, my grief wasn't at the Lord. I knew too much to turn from Him. Quite simply, if I allowed my grief to destroy my faith, I stood to lose the very things I was grieving! No, I wasn't angry at the Lord.

In my grief, I didn't turn from my husband. We hadn't even been married a year when we experienced the birth and death of a child. Statistically, that was the worst situation to be in. The number of marriages that happily & healthily survive the death of a child is dismally low - we were told only 5%. Again, our eternal perspective, knowledge, commitment, and faith saw us through that dark forecast.

But even with my faith in the Lord and his Gospel, and my love and closeness to my husband working for me, I still felt ripped apart. I knew that some vital part of me, of my spirit, had been wrenched from me and the wound was unbearable.

I longed to have another baby. To hold that precious life in my arms. Yes, I had some deep anxiety. I had been told by the doctors involved, that all of my babies would be early, and all would die and I should not have any more. But Neil and I were willing to do whatever it took. Even if it meant another death, but please, oh, please, not another death!

Every month that passed without the beginning of a new life was excruciating. I grieved. I sunk low in spiritual and emotional agony. Then I'd pick myself up and hope for a different result the next month. The cycle kept repeating. And that painful gap within me never closed.

Then the following November, something profound happened. We were gathered at the Logan's for Thanksgiving dinner. Everybody was seated, prayer was about to be said, when I felt deep within and all through me, a return of that lost part. For an instant, the gap was filled, and with perfect clarity, I knew that my son was standing beside me. It was fleeting, and yet, it was so intense, so revelatory, that a new understanding swept through me. That missing part, it never was me - it was him!

What I had thought was a ripping of my own soul, was simply the physical separation of my son's spirit from my own. As he grew in me, I had become so familiar with him, with who he really was, but it was so gradual, so sweetly natural, that I hadn't realized what I had felt was my little Marshall's spirit. The birth was so traumatic, and the never ending bombardment of daily care and concern for his life, had left me numb until his death and that horrible loss came over me.

Now, at that Thanksgiving table, with him standing, unseen, behind me, comforting me, assuring me that I was complete, and he was still my son. It healed everything. And over the years, the effect of that moment was priceless. I found I could recognize within me each individual spirit as I carried my other nine children. I understood the deep connection between mother and child better. I saw evidence of it everywhere, for instance, my baby could be asleep in the car, and ANYBODY could get out of the car and run into the store, and the baby would stay asleep. But if I got out, within moments, my baby would wake and cry.

When Chani was born, healthy and perfect, I held her in my arms and was filled with an intense peace. Every night, all throughout her babyhood, I would hold her and gratitude filled me to have her in my arms, healing me from the joys I had missed with Marshall. The comfort is magnified when arms are filled with new life. It is spoken of so often, almost looked down upon by those who do not understand, but is is true. Another baby, born or adopted, a grandchild, a niece or nephew, any new, precious life that you can open your heart to and embrace with all the protective love you can muster, will heal your heart.

Years later, I learned and used brain language to heal the remaining anger over the circumstances of Marshall's death. The result was an incredible inner peace. But nothing gave me the insight and testimony of that quiet moment during our Thanksgiving prayer when my son showed me that I was whole still, and that nothing is lost unto the Lord, and that I needed to allow myself to be filled with spiritual comfort and eternal joy so I could remain his mother.

For all of you who have had a child die, your loss is real. The sensation of being torn apart, of missing a chunk of your spirit, is also very real. But you are whole, you are complete, a part of you did not die. She is your little daughter forever, he is your son for eternity. She lives and is uniquely herself. He is alive and actively doing wonderful things while waiting for his family to join him. For a short while the two of you grew together. For eternity, you will remain family. Recognize this miracle and your own healing will be sweeter. I love you and grieve with you. And I promise that it will get easier.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Bunny Day Delimma

Bunny Day at the Logan's started about twenty-five years ago. It was our answer to preserving the delightful tradition of hiding candy and still keeping it separate from the sacredness of Easter and the Savior's resurrection. I believe that good traditions are fun, and important to family life. There doesn't have to be a conflict between fun and spiritual. So, we started having Bunny Day. It was on Saturday, the day before Easter.

One Bunny Day Eve, we had a family over, good friends with an equal sized family. They decided they liked the idea of Bunny Day, so they even stayed the night so the two families could join in the fun the next day. That was the first time the candy was put on the fan. You turn off the fan. Put wrapped candy on the fan blades (unless you clean the fan first, who would want to put something you're going to eat on a dusty fan?), then in the morning when the children turn on the fan, candy flies everywhere. Raining Candy. Fun..

Well, over years, the tradition was that the parents hid the candy, and the children found it. Once the children found all of the candy (remember the wide range of ages) then they brought all the candy to the table and it was divided equally among the children and they refused to leave us out, so Neil and I received our portion as well.

Years passed. Chani became twelve. She didn't want to hunt eggs, she wanted to hide eggs. Okay, so when each child became twelve, they started hiding candy. Of course, in the morning, after all the candy was found, it was still equally divided.

Last year, my second youngest became twelve. She was so excited to be hiding the candy. That left ONE child to find all the candy. It was pretty lonely for Chrystal, but it passed quickly, drowned out by all the candy. Also, not breaking with tradition, when the kids divided the candy, they created equal portions not only for the ones at home, but for their married siblings family as well.

Surprisingly, when this year came around, Chalae - now thirteen - decided she didn't want to hide candy, she wanted to go back to finding candy. So we were back to two. And I told them to just divide the candy among those at home. (we bought a lot less)

So, then came the discussion. Now we are back to the topic of What Happens When a Big Family Grows Up.

Different things said by different children about a change in next year's Bunny Day (Chrystal will be eleven next year, that's almost twelve, right?)

We could just get baskets, fill them with candy and put them on the table.

We could all get baskets, then you could hide the baskets, we could find our baskets.

Son-in-law said: "She hid candy for me. What's with that? You look for candy all over and wonder if it is from Halloween? My family hid baskets."

Yeah. We could do that. We could hide baskets.

We could get a basket of candy then we could hide that candy, then everybody could get their candy back (how different is this? I'm confused, but listening)

We could get those plastic eggs, put candy in them, hide them around our yard (which sometimes has snow in it at this time of year) and find them.

Married daughter says, "Aren't we old enough that we shouldn't have to divide the candy?" (remember, this year was the first that the candy was divided ONLY among those still at home)

Next year, none of us are going to hide candy except Mom and Dad. Then we can all hunt.

Yeah, you could hide them in harder places.

Yeah. Except Danny will be almost three and Faith will be 1 1/2. They'll want to find the easy ones.

And so it goes. A successful, delightful family tradition of twenty-five years in the revamp phase. I don't know what we'll do next year. It's all about fun and family and we'll come up with something. But isn't it interesting all the conversation, the idea swapping, and that it included not just those at home but ALL our children (those present anyway). They want to plan something fun, something inclusive, and something that would do well for the next twenty-five years.

Two things are for certain. They want to continue Bunny Day. They want to involve all family members, not just those at home.

I love it!

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Fly Lady

From one of my friends, "Oh and thank you for doing fly lady. As I was wallowing in my pit of a home wondering how I would ever keep my house clean, I remembered this little fly lady that you always had on your computer. It has changed my home."
Over the years I have tried lots of different things to keep control of the home environment. I'm huge on children and youth doing their part in the home. And not wimpy little things leaving the rest to Mom. Real chores, consistent chores. I found that the easiest way, to avoid the greatest conflicts (there will ALWAYS be conflict among children) was to have one person clean a room for a week. Then on Pass Off day, they have to deep clean that room so it is perfect for the person who comes in after them. They have to clean first to that new person's expectations and then to mine. Soon all learn what is expected.

But even with that sort of plan, and it has worked forever for me, there was still problems that really, only Mom, or direct supervision from Mom, could control. I would purchase books on organization (they're all nearly the same) and if I learned ONE thing from the book, I felt it was worth the purchase price. But getting a grip on some thing was still out of reach.

Then somehow, and I don't remember how, I discovered The Fly Lady. Everything changed for me and has remained so for years. Now, when things are out of hand, I know EXACTLY why, what part of the program I have been ignoring. And I can make a conscious decision to continue ignoring it for some important reason, or return to it and know that soon everything will be back on track.

Check the site out. It is free. You will receive volumes of emails every day with the program. JUST DELETE what you don't want, every single day, don't curse the abundance of email, it is really worth it. After all these years, I delete everything. But canceling is not an option. This is one of those things that I need in my face daily because of my very busy life.

When you start the program, she is serious about babysteps. When I started, there was an email from Flylady that stated if you dejunk your home in a few days, you'll burn out and end up right back where you started. Go slow. It took me three months to dejunk my home. I'm the kind to get in and get it done fast. But I followed her suggestion which was to take THREE MONTHS! Sounds unbelievable, but she's so successful, why not follow the pattern of success?

Now, I have it down, even if it doesn't always get done (play rehearsals, illnesses, surgeries, new babies etc.) I'm going to post here the basic plan. I've pared it down from Flylady's babystep list. For the complete list, visit her website. For complete definitions and how-to visit her web site. To really fly, visit her web site and sign up.

How Long Does It Take? (after dejunking period)

FIFTEEN minutes - Morning Routine, Control Journal, Dinner
TWO minutes - Hot Spots
FIVE minutes - Room Rescue
FIFTEEN minutes - Declutter
FIFTEEN minutes - Zone
FIFTEEN minutes - Organize/Cleaning
FIVE to FIFTEEN minutes - Kelly’s Mission
FORTY-FIVE minutes - Bless Your Heart

Modified Flylady Baby Steps.
For full program, go to, and register to receive the emails. There will be lots of emails every day. Just delete what you aren't ready for. Each Day, add one new thing, AND keep up the others!

Day 1 - Shine Sink
Leave NOTHING in the sink, EVER! See for complete instructions

Day 2 - Get Dressed
Clothes, Hair, Face, Shoes, make bed, leave bathroom clean. see for swipe and swish instructions

Day 3 - Hot Spots
Set timer, 2 min at a time, may take several days to get all hot spots working. Each day, keep up on previous hot spots, and start a new one. for definition and instructions

Day 4 - Bedtime routines
Shine sink, hot spots, check calendar, tomorrow's clothes,

Day 5 - Daily Habits
Check Calendar, file/toss Paperwork, develop and follow Routines

Morning Routine:
1. Make Bed
2. Get dressed, hair, face, shoes
3. Leave Bathroom clean, Swish toilet bowl, swipe sink
4. Scriptures and Prayer
5. Check today's calendar
6. Put out Hot Spots for 2 minutes
7. What's for tomorrow's dinner?

Before Bed Routine:
1. Shine Sink
2. Lay out Clothes for Tomorrow
3. Put out Hot Spots
4. Check tomorrow's calendar
5. Scriptures and Prayer
6. What's for dinner?

Day 6 - Declutter
15 minutes per time, set timer, when timer rings, quit. You can do this several times a day, or just once a day. Expect decluttering to take 1-3 months to finish entire house. for additional instructions

Day 7 - 5 Minute Room Rescue
Set timer. For 5 minutes, tackle whichever room is the worse room in the house. When that is finished, start on another. May take a month to finish one room, but then keep up is a charm.

Day 8 - You Can Do anything for 15 Minutes
Set timer, work for 15 minutes. Set timer, play or rest for 15 minutes. Repeat as often as you want, but work and rest in equal time.

Day 9 - Weekly and Daily Events
Kelly's Mission (10 min. project)
Blessing Hour
27 Fling Boogie
Car Boogie
Purse, Bags, and Totes Boogie

Do one per day. You will find these at and in the emails.

Day 10 - Laundry
Every morning, place load in machine. Dry it, put it away. One load per weekday. At night, check laundry to be sure all is finished and put away.

Day 11 - What's for Dinner
Weekly plan meals. Weekly shopping from a plan.

Day 12 - Fly Zones
Zone 1: First few days of the month until the next Sunday: Entrance/front porch/dining room
Zone 2: First full week of the month: Kitchen/back porch/laundry room/pantry
Zone 3: Second full week of the month: Main bathroom/extra bedroom/kid's rooms/craft room
Zone 4: Third full week of the month: Master bedroom/bath/closet
Zone 5: Last few days of the month from Monday until the end of the month: Living room/den/TV room.

That's my shortened Baby Step list for beginning the flylady program. This program is excellent no matter what brain language style you are most comfortable with. It is especially helpful for the optional mom, the busy mom, and the supervising Mom. Everything is in small increments, manageable.

On the website you will find sections on laundry, on home schooling moms, moms with young children, working moms, just about every type of help and support you need for managing the working part of home making.

Better still, even if you don't do the program perfectly, what you do will still bless your home.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Miracles, Blessings, & Eternal Joy

There was this time, several years back, when both the Logans and the Bertagnollis were going through some really stressful months. Jalyn and I talked together, and decided that we needed to look for the miracles in our lives - daily miracles that testify of the Lord, of his Love for us, of his involvement in our lives, and of all those things that whisper to our soul that He Lives and stands ready to bring us safely home. We checked in daily, each commenting on those things that day that strengthened us. The hard times remained, but our perspective altered and life was much better for it. So, here is my list of Miracles, Blessings, and Eternal Joy. I don't promise to list daily, but I do promise to seek him daily in the small events of my life.

1. I survived abdominal surgery. Twice while in the hospital in Mexico this month, I wasn't sure I would make it home to see my children. Unknown, but secretly suspected, I had pleurisy before entering the hospital. The day following surgery, it hit me so hard that breathing was almost impossible. When I did return home, with my family gathered all around me, I was filled with the purest peace and joy.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

When a Big Family Grows Up

I've watched a few of these shows about big families. A family of seventeen, a family of ten, a family of seven. And others. I watch with both a critical eye, and a compassionate one. I've been there. And it isn't as bad as the more average American might think.

Raising a big family isn't exponential. You don't take what it costs for one child and multiply it by ten. It doesn't work that way except for things like Disneyland, or an evening at the movies. Oh, you have to triple most recipes, unless it feeds six, and then you only have to double it. But, if you do, it won't get all eaten in one night. You'll have plenty for lunch the next day. When all my children were at home, I'd tell people that it took: 1 roll of toilet paper per bathroom per day, three pounds of hamburger for a casserole type meal, five pounds of chicken breasts and/or thighs for a dinner, three loaves of bread per day, and bananas, no matter how many you buy last less then 24 hours! But it really wasn't all that bad.

You almost never have to purchase clothing for the younger ages. Everybody around you knows that you have a wide variety of ages and sizes and they are always willing to give their beautifully preserved clothing to you since it is a one stop meets all needs sort of thing. By the time the kids are teens, they were purchasing their own clothes. Either with money they earned or money I gave them. As long as I didn't have to go shopping with them, I was happy.

We had twelve people in a two bathroom home. It wasn't all that bad. Then we had eleven people in a three bathroom home. That was perfect. Family members don't think anything's strange about showering at odd times of the day. It gets done and that's all that matters.

The kids certainly don't need their own bedrooms. What they do need is delightful family interaction. Home should be a place they love to be. The previous two weeks, my seventeen year old son was in a local play. He was gone every night. It was a relentless schedule. One night, he didn't have to perform. He found his way into our bedroom which is the quieter setting for TV viewing than the family room. He watching a show with us, including his younger sisters. Afterwards, he sighed and with deep longing in his voice said, "I forgot how good it is to be with the family at night. It is rejuvenating." We were watching television - the Logan way, with lots of excitement, interacting, explaining, and enjoying everybody. That's the beauty of the Pause Button and pre-recorded shows.

The biggest thing that gets me as I watched these shows about big families, is that they don't talk about what happens next. What happens when after two decades of filling a church pew, you now fill 1/3rd. What happens when people start to meet you and they think you only have four children because that is all remaining at home. What happens when those recipes you adapted to feed twelve now sit too long in the refrigerator and you have to toss it out. Something unheard of only a few years before. What happens?

I don't fit the "empty nest" description. I have four children at home, ages 10, 13, 15, and 17. With a minimum of 8 years ahead of me, I'm really still right in the child rearing stage. Well, if I had only one child, and that child was ten, I wouldn't be considered "Almost Done." But after raising nine, I do feel that way. I'm fully aware of how quickly the time flies, and before I know it, my ten year old will be an adult. And then what happens?

I'll tell you what is different now from when they were all young. Our social interaction is very, very different. Our home was once child-heavy. There were more of them than there were of Neil and I. Lots more. Children's bedtime was a time of rejuvenation for us. It kept us focused on life beyond parenting. Slowly, the children became teens, and with that, they stayed up with us. It was an easy transition. They had arrived in our home about two years apart, they became teens about two years apart. Easy.

But eventually, our home was no longer child-heavy. It seems that we woke up one day and found that our home was teen/adult-heavy. That means we suddenly had three little girls, and six adult/teen children and two adult parents - eight to three. And then it was nine to two.And now it is ten to one. Only it really isn't that, now it includes four in-law-children so that would be fourteen youth/adult to one little ten year old. There is no way I'm going to send her down to bed by herself, not while the rest of the family are consistently having the time of their lives - every night.

Our night life is the very best. We play games, we watch television, we talk, we interact, we are highly social and it shows every single night. I have never encouraged my children or youth to spend time alone in their bedrooms. In fact, I'm against it for the most part. The sense of isolation among the youth is only heightened when they spend a great deal of time alone. As a result, my children are totally used to studying, talking, playing, reading, whatever in the family setting. And we all love it.

Another thing that has changed is that our social life away from home includes our married children. Neil and I would rather go to the movies, to the temple, out to dinner, with our married children than anybody else we know. It isn't that we don't love our friends, we just thrill being around our adult children as peers rather than as parents. It is FUN!

When they were young, I used to take one child out with me each week. It took two months to rotate through nine children but we managed. When they became 16, we started taking them out on dates with us, when they weren't out on their own fun evenings, that is. I knew as I raised them, that I was raising my peers in eternity. And it has paid off. I was their mother when they were young, very much in charge, not even trying to be a friend. As they became youth, I listened to them, filling a role of half mom and half sounding board. As adults, I reserve the Mom role for when a little bit of knowledge might help them, or if they were off track of eternity, but the rest of the time, I love being with my beloved friends.

I waited a quarter of a century to have the sort of friendships I've developed with my youth and adult children. So that is what happens when the big family grows up. If you've maneuvered through the teen years into the delightful friendship of adult children.

Oh, and another thing. I waited twelve years to raise up a babysitter. When Chani turned twelve, the change in our social life was enormous. We could and did spontaneously go out with friends. And that's how it has been for fourteen years. Now, I have three very busy teens, and sometimes I'm caught short discovering that I need a babysitter once again after all these years. Only, now I call my married children first. They are happy to have Chrystal visit for an afternoon. Chani will call and see which sister can watch her little Daniel, and I call to see which sister can watch Chrystal. As I said, my married children are now my peers - Chani and I both seeking sisters to babysit our children!
I don't want to think too long about what will happen in eight years. The day will come when the only children at home are those visiting home. Right now, my married children visit several times each week. But it will get really quiet, in eight years. I'll miss our nightlife. But then, there will be even more adult children to "date" with than there are now. It won't be so bad. I'm hoping.

The Logan Parental Statement

We are raising our children to be independent learners,
Successful husbands and wives,
Loving and capable mothers and fathers,
Close and united eternal siblings,
Good friends, and service oriented, moral adults.

And above all else, to have an accurate knowledge,
And deep testimony of those things pertaining to
Heavenly Father,
Jesus Christ,
The Holy Ghost,
The Gospel,
And the Lord’s Church.

And to keep focused on the Celestial Kingdom,
To comprehend eternal relationships,
To recognize truth,
To have courage and endurance,
To read the scriptures and follow the prophet,
To have an abiding and active testimony of prayer and revelation.

To remember that it is better to obey than to repent, that it is better to repent than to lose everything.
That forgiveness, healing, and compassion are more powerful forces than resentment, bitterness, and being offended.
To control their voice, their words,
their thoughts, and their actions.
To never harm, to run from those who would harm.
To seek help from those inspired and capable of giving it.
To cherish laughter, balance, play, and righteous companionship.

To know beyond all doubt that the Lord wins in the end,
The dead will rise, grief is temporary, the sealing power is real.
To keep their eye single to His Glory,
To be filled with His Light,
And with all their heart, mind, and spirit to know that they are loved forever.
Permission is granted by Cherie Logan, to any who would like to use this statement, allowing them to change the title to reflect their family surname. Cherie Logan also reserves all copyrights and commercial use of this statement.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Wise Old Mother and the Wonderous Young Mother

You've guessed it. I'm the Wise Old Mother. I don't mean to be. I mean, Old is relative, right? But I fully recognize that I'm simply not the same Mother as I was when I was young. And, my daughter, now expecting her second, is so obviously part of the Blessed Generation of Wondrous Mothers. You know the kind, everything is new, some things are absolutely a struggle, other things are, well, there's no word better than miraculous. I watch her. I'm filled with joy. I listen to her speak about her friends, those other Wondrous Mothers. I even read their writings. And I nod my head in memory of those miraculously, frustrating times. Then I turn around and do my own mother thing with my ten-year-old daughter, or my three teens - four at-home children out of the nine we raised.

Yes. I'm the Wise Old Mother, but I'm not all that far away from a baby. Really, ten years ago I birthed my last. Ten years isn't that long in the scheme of human memory.

Children are a joy and a puzzle, and children are a great deal of work and loss of sleep. Their needs arise at inconvenient times. Most especially when they are teens. You snooze - You Lose. A far more appropriate phrase when dealing with the youth than any other endeavor. They need you, not at the sweet hour of, "Honey, let's sit down and talk." No. They are far too busy for that. When the youth need the voice and attention of their mom is at midnight. They come to say goodnight, and two hours later the lights finally go out and the home is quiet.

But the Wondrous Mother isn't there yet. It is ahead of her, hands down. But today, she needs to understand things like bedtime, staying in bedtime, sleeping in bed, and will the wakeful nights ever really end?

We all know children are unique. Anybody who has had more than one child knows how remarkable and special each one is, full of personality like nobody else in the world. Wise Mothers know this. We've also been around long enough to know that while some things are specific to each child, there is a whole slew of things that are the same. Discovering that secret makes being Mom-in-charge so much easier. It gives you a Mary Poppins bag of ideas to pull from, to try and discover what really will work for your individual family.

Take Bedtime. There are a few basics for the young family. I will start first by saying that I embraced a specific philosophy that wouldn't allow me to let a baby Cry It Out. I have had friends who embraced the opposite philosophy. It worked for them. So, keep in mind as you read, that I am talking about life beyond the Baby Led nursing, and the Baby Cries for a Reason and to Communicate stage. Bedtime starts when I'm ready to allow crying. Because it is inevitable, and if handled with firm loving consistency, the crying part really is very short lived. Give in - and all bets are off!

About fifteen to eighteen months, give or take, of course, your infant will go through a change. This change shows you clearly that he understands what you are saying. It shows you that he's discovered ways to manipulate the situation to his desire, and the minute the words start flowing, not complete sentences, but words with meaning (not just words in mimicry) then his young brain, and spirit are ready for some equally important changes. Up until now, it was right and good for him to control the timing of things in his family. But now, NOW, is the critical time for Mom to step forward as the Parent In Charge.

Please believe me. You will cry, lots. But it will be a zillion times easier to take this monumental step right now, than at any other time in your child's life. Or even worse, not ever take it, and feel out of kilter with God's plan. Yes. It is God's Plan that you be in charge, not your child. Tough words. That's why there will be lots of tears. And it all starts with controlling the nursing of an 18 month old, or controlling Bedtime, or controlling television for the toddler. Or controlling SOMETHING!

OK, ready for the big step? If you are still nursing, this is the easiest way. So, I'll start there. If you are like me, you have or will soon have another baby on the way. Start using specific, and consistent words to set the parameters of nursing time. "We'll nurse later." "We'll nurse at bedtime" "We already nursed, we'll nurse later." "Do you want some water?" Be firm, be loving and tender, be in control. Boy it is NOT easy! Up to now, you've had almost a year and a half of baby led nursing. And now I"m suggesting that it flip.

Yes. What happens here is another little miracle. Your baby learns to listen to your words, to trust you, to move slightly past the immediate moment. This can be the first real chance for your child to learn to trust what you say. You say no, wait, later. And he knows, not now, but later. And learning to trust what Mom says will be a lifeline throughout his entire childhood. From there, it is much easier to say at bedtime, after again nursing, "I love you. Goodnight sweetheart" and if he cries in the night, demanding nursing as before, he hears the now familiar phrase, "We'll nurse in the morning, we'll nurse later, we already nursed." And YOU KNOW he understands the words and their meanings.

Now, if you don't have a nursing toddler, the process is pretty much the same. You find something that you can grab hold on and say, ON THIS, RIGHT NOW and FOREVER, I AM IN CHARGE. Once that decision is made you will have to find lots of different ways to make it so, because as soon as you find something that works, your super intelligent child will find a way to make it less effective. It is a dance, one that will challenge you and more often than not leave you with a feeling of doing good.

So, bedtime before age two. Decide what your routine will be because if it is really big, it is hard to pare it back. Scriptures, Prayer as a family, and then individual prayer with the child. Maybe a song, or a story. And kisses and sleep. Lights out or on? Mom decides, this isn't an eternity breaking decision. So do what you want, whatever you do, it will stick. I like a dark room, but I was quite comfortable leaving a closet or bathroom light on for my children.

Beds. We slept with our babies. Sometimes until just before the new baby arrived. Often, though, we moved our 1-1/2-year old babies into a sibling's bed. I LOVED having a mattress on the ground. No chance for the baby to fall. I loved having my children share bedrooms. I believed it was both healthier, and more realistic. I mean, I've been married 30 years - how realistic is it to think that a person needs their own bedroom?

For me, the purpose of a crib was to have a safe place for a baby to take a nap. The minute a baby even thinks about climbing is the moment the crib should be finished. Oh, we did lower the side, place a chair next to the lowered side, and teach our babies HOW to climb out of the crib. But it really is safer to move them to a sibling's bed, especially if that bed is on the ground.

Do you own your home? Here is the best idea we had for beds. Neil build in a sleeping platform, built as if he was building a floor for strength to hold up to children. The first one, the best one, was multilevel. It was just the right size to hold a twin mattress on one level, and one on another. and was a corner group. So we had a giant square section in the corner, with two shorter for each bed, but shorter at different heights for aesthetics, coming off from the corner square. Then we carpeted it, and place the mattress on the top of each length. This meant, we could have one bed section that was closer to the ground for the younger children (yes, two can easily fit in a twin sized bed), and one higher for an older child. This allows three children in a bedroom for years! But here's the best part. With the platform carpeted, up the sides, over the top, completely encased in wonderfully soft carpet, there is NO WAY ANYTHING can be shoved under the bed! YEAH!!!! Oh, sure, you lose storage space. But, really, this is a child's bedroom, any storage space you have under a bed is a complete nightmare! Get rid of the problem by building a platform bed. You'll love it.

When I put my children to bed, did I care if they slept or if they played? No. Not really. I cared if they fought. I didn't care if they left the room to go into the bathroom. I did care if they left the room to join us in whatever non-Mom activity I was doing. You see, having a bedtime is mostly for the parents. It gives them what they need to be good parents for one more day. This renewing is very real. I found that if my children went to sleep, actually slept, and later woke up with a nightmare or middle of the night need, or even 11 pm need, that I had all the patience I needed to be the kind of Mom I wanted to be. But if they didn't sleep and I didn't have even a short time to renew, then it was insanely exhausting for me to keep a grip on being the Mom I wanted to be.

So, become Mom in Charge before your child is two. And have a bedtime, with routines, environment, and whatever YOU need to be your best. This works. Until you have a house full of teens and one ten year old. Then bedtime is truly torture. So, I threw the concept out the door. It simply stopped being "right" for me to send my youngest to bed while our home came alive every night with the vibrancy of a joyous family life. But, for over twenty years - Children's Bedtime it was a Mom Saver.
Cherie Logan