Sunday, September 21, 2014

Small conversations...great love.

Joel had the honor of speaking at a TEDx  event here yesterday! He spoke about helping to restore dignity in the lives of homeless people in our city. He worked on the speech a tremendous amount, wanting to share his heart and the things he had learned in an honest and authentic way, and he did a fantastic job. It was such a gift to get to be there and see his speech, as well as many other thought provoking talks from other speakers. 
But, I tell you what. I think my favorite moment of the day came after the speech was long over, and the cameras were no longer rolling.
 We were at the "afterglow" party and Joel was having a conversation with a lady who had asked him to tell her a bit more about the clinic he works for. She was quite a character, and at one point told what she thought was a funny story about her workplace, in which the punch line had to do with how bad a homeless guy smelled. Yeah, people do the darnedest things! Telling a story about how bad a homeless guy smelled to a guy who had just given a talk about restoring dignity to homeless people! Watching Joel respond to this "funny" story, though, just warmed my heart deeply. Because he didn't try and shame her, or act like her story was ridiculous. He chuckled, but didn't leave it at that. He said, " yeah, it's an issue for sure, although not as prevalent as I once thought. And, surprisingly it's more common in the spring and fall because the weather is sometimes cool, but not cold and they don't want to leave their coats and things laying around to get stolen and so they wear them, even though it's not cold enough to warrant it. So, the smell is worse than in winter when coats are needed or summer when they don't have to keep them around. That's one reason. There are others. If the smell is overwhelming we just step out for a moment and put these little strips of Vicks under our nose and then it's fine." And the lady was like," oh my gosh, I'd never thought about that." And, just like that, a little education was passed along. A little bit more humanizing, and less stereotyping. It was at that moment that I stood in awe, and was my most proud. 
We don't all get a chance to give a big, important speech about what we are passionate about. But we DO all have opportunities all the time in "little" conversations to convey our big ideas. Our heart will come across in the conversations when no one else is looking, or voting, or cheering. It's those unscripted moments that we can choose to speak up in ways that speak life and dignity about those who aren't there to speak for themselves- whether it be our friends, patients, spouses, children, parents, etc....or we could choose to chuckle and move on. 
So, that was my favorite moment. I hope Joel's talk reaches lots of people and opens some hearts. I have no doubt it will. But, even if he totally messed it up, after hearing that conversation I was reminded that he...no, we all, have chances every day to live our passion out, and that was a great encouragement to me. 
So, congratulations to my Joel. What an amazing opportunity that was and you took it and put your all into it. We are all relieved that it's over and that we all get all little more time together, but I know you'll keep spreading the message of restoring dignity. You'll do it in the way you treat your patients, and the way you speak about them. It's not just your beard and hair that make the folks you care for call you "street Jesus". I'm sure they see His love in your eyes, and that's the greatest love there is, after all. 
Jen


Saturday, July 05, 2014

Happy 4th of July from our little firecrackers!


Jen

Summer Adventures: Park City!

A super kind friend is letting us use her Park City condo for a little staycation! The kids are ecstatic because there is a pool just steps away, and we are not great pool parents (meaning we'd rather be in the mountains, so that's where we go for free time), so it's a real treat for the kids! 
Gosh, I'm always amazed when people do such generous things like offer their condo to a friend with 4 kids for the weekend! Anyway, we sure are enjoying this special summer treat (with the expected "four kids in a teeny condo"moments thrown in there:)! Jen


Summer Adventures: Tracy Aviary.

Don't you just love birds?! They are Amazing. We haven't frequented the aviary here, but it is so great! Today we got to watch a bird weaving a nest with its beak... I could have watched it for an hour! After the aviary we hung out at the little rivers in Liberty park, then ate lunch while the kids rolled down the big hill. So many memories in that park over the years! 
Look at that sky! Beautiful day. Jen

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Adventures: Logan Canyon

This weekend we went up Logan canyon to camp. My gosh it's beautiful! From the backyard grapevines to the mountains and valleys, I love the green that summer brings!! 
Joel and the big kids went up Friday night and camped with the Cox family and the little two and I went up for the day on Saturday. I'm so glad we decided to do it that way! When Ollie is two-ish I think family camping will be much more doable. But constantly having to make sure he isn't toddling toward the fire pit, etc. just isn't fun at all. Anyway, it worked out great for all, and it was fun for me to have a little time with Jubes and Ollie. 
Oh, and happy Father's Day to Joel- the amazing adventurer that is passing on his love of life and nature to our little ones! And to my dad, who so lovingly gave me a childhood where I felt safe, unconditionally loved, and believed in. 
Happy summer adventuring to you! 
Jenny 

Sunday, June 01, 2014

A fond fairwell to first grade...

My goodness, it's already that time of year! Time for homeschool mamas to start freaking out over planning the studies for September! ;) I mean, not me, I'm not freaking out, but other mamas may be. Before I start my planning, though, I want to say a little goodbye to our first grade year. A year of losing teeth, learning to read, deepening friendships, fairytales galore, many read alouds with daddy, all of us learning patience with trying to focus with a toddler and babe along for the ride....whew! It was a sweet, challenging year that I wouldn't trade. I feel like I question so often if we are "doing enough", and so I just want to put that aside for the moment and focus on what we did do. I am going to make the twins a book of pictures from our year, there are so many that I love, but here is a sample for you:) 

This was where we thought we'd do school...how lovely;) 
And where it actually happened...
Which worked out just fine!
There were outdoor adventures with Forest school, the Ogden Nature Center, Red Butte Gardens, adventures with daddy, and just lots of time outside whenever it was nice! 









There was art and handwork. Pictures churned out by Amelia, pictures drawn to narrate stories we read, Dover coloring books to go along with whatever we were studying, some Kiwi crate crafts, finger knitting, pot holder weaving, and mama learned to knit (very, very beginner still!), wet on wet water colors, embroidery with grandma, and a few nature craft days with friends....














There were books, and books, and more books read. Here are there 1st grade chapter book read alouds (though I'm sure to be forgetting some):
- Many Grimms fairy tales. Amelia literally slept with the book many nights:) Fairytales were much of our LA curriculum for the year.
- The complete Narnia series 
-Swiss Family Robinson
-Mr. Popper's Penguins
- The Children of the Noisy Village
- Roald Dahl books including: 
-Charlie and the Chocolate factory,
- Charlie and the Glass Elevator
-The BFG, 
-Danny Champion of the World, 
-James and the Giant Peach
-Matilda
We used American Girl books to study a bit of American history this year. We read through the Kaya, Kirsten, Kit, and series and then found books from the library to read things of interest from the time periods.

It makes me so happy and also relieved that the kids love, love, love listening to literature. I know that no matter what else, at least they are getting a feast of ideas fed to them. "One more chapter!" is music to my ears. 
 We also have a seasonal book basket with picture books for each season that we read through. The kids also heard and memorized finger plays and songs that we would do with the little ones a few mornings a week at our "circle time" or "morning meeting". 

For readers, we mostly used BOB books with Amelia this year. Sam moved on to "Little Bear", "Frog and Toad", and now is eagerly reading aloud Magic Treehouse books to me. His first chapter books, so exciting! He is also following in his friend Cole's footsteps and carrying around a pad aand pencil to write when inspiration strikes!:) Here is his first self-written story:)



As far as extracurriculars, Amelia continued with ballet until Christmas when she decided to take a break....she has missed it some, but not enough for us to get back into it at this point. 
They both played soccer, did homeschool PE, took Spanish classes until winter when roads got icy,and Sam ran track and cross country. He is pretty darn passionate about running, that little guy. We love cheering him on! 
                                

Most of our time was just spent living life together and with friends. I'm very thankful to have the opportunity to spend my days with all of the kids, challenging as it may be sometimes:)  

I asked the kids if they wanted to say anything about homeschooling or first grade. Sam thinks it would be super funny to say, "Homeschooling is tough for kids, especially our age. But we have to suffer through it." Oh my.

I guess I'll end it here. I'm excited to begin planning for 2nd grade! Waldorf 2nd grade curriculum focuses on Saints and Heroes, so I have lots of ideas spinning around...saints, animal heroes, missionaries, super heroes! Joel read me this quote today, and I think it will be my guide for the year, 

"Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage!" -C.S. Lewis

Jen