Monday, June 28, 2010

Help Make Breastfeeding History

It was 13 years ago this July that I got my sixth edition copy of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding signed by all seven of the founders of La Leche League International, with my daughter, Virtue in tow (in a sling of course). That was a moment that can't happen again. Not all seven founders are alive today. I got to chat with each one and they each exuded peace and motherliness. Even though the organizers of the autographing event kept telling those of standing in line to be done, these kind old ladies obliged us autograph seekers as if they were queenly rock stars and stayed till the very last groupie was satisfied.

The eighth edition of the Womanly Art is coming out this July! It's been completely rewritten to be more "hip" and "girlfriendy." I am curious to see how this will read. One of the authors is Diane Weissinger. I like everything she's written that I've read so far. You can see her site at I appreciate that the WAB was written by some of the founders because that gives it a patient, grandmotherly perspective from women who grew up in the prefeminist age. I know I gave the breastfeeding book So That's What They're For! five stars but I've been thinking I should change that to four.

It's because that book is written from the postfeminist age perspective that having a baby and breastfeeding is something that you do alongside a career. It's written from the perspective that mothering, fertility, and breastfeeding are things that you turn on and off, according to the needs of your nonmotherly career. The WAB has more of an old-fashioned perspective of yes, you can breastfeed and mother, it's the natural thing for women to do from time immemorial.

When I asked one of the founders of La Leche League to sign my older edition of the WAB that I had brought to the conference, she politely refused. She said it had some stuff in there on birth control that she didn't agree with. But the newer edition that was just being released that month of July 1997 was kosher to her. So what was the big change that Mary White agreed with? The newer edition mentioned LAM as an effective form of birth control. (Please go to to read the rest. You will have to sign in if you haven't already.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Orphaned Brainchild Got Adopted

I am excited about the holistic LDS living conference this Saturday. Over a year ago I hosted its predecessor, the Natural Family Living for LDS Moms conference, at the same place, Paradigm High, in South Jordan. I almost called mine a holistic LDS living conference.

I couldn't do the conference again, but my friend Amy Jones, who came to my conference, decided to do this one. She is even using a tree motif which fits in with my Tree of Life Mothering concept. It's like she picked up my vibes and just took over. I knew if I did another one I should get a board together and delegate. But honestly, between having a new baby, mothering seven children (which for me means homeschooling) and returning to the work or getting my book out, I knew that I didn't want to add board meetings and organizing a conference to the mix. So I am thrilled that Amy picked up the ball and ran with it! This one is so much bigger and better than mine, with lots more vendors and more than one speaker during every time slot. Some of the speakers are the same, like Cliff Dunston and Joyce Kinmont. Some are people I have met and have enjoyed visiting with like Lara Gallagher, Michelle Brady Stone, Janeen Brady, and Nicholeen Peck. Some are people I wanted to come last year, like David Christopher and Steven Horne. Some are people I have never heard of.

Go to to learn more.
I would love to see you all there, hope you can come!

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Just Starting to Be..." and Treasures from Cousins

I am still basking in the afterglow of our trip to St. George where we played with cousins while Valor went to Youth for Freedom. It was the perfect way to kick off our summer. When I was young my parents drove us through southern Utah about twice a year to go see cousins who lived in southern Nevada in this little town of Overton, halfway between St. George and Vegas. It occurred to me how fitting it is now that we drive south to take my kids to see their cousins.My mom grew up in Overton surrounded by cousins. One of her cousins was more like a sister and a best friend. I grew up loving to hear about the adventures my mom had with Verla and their horses and kittens. They grew up playing on their farm, in nature and living in the safest town on the globe, where kids could wander freely. It sounds kind of like Mayberry. Here is a picture of my mom and her cousins and sisters that I snapped at our family reunion last fall. Aren't they beautiful?
Here is a pic of my kids with their cousins. We love all of our cousins and feel blessed to see a lot of them regularly. My brothers and sisters have kids that fit my kids' ages like hands with fingers intertwining. These cousins in St. George, however, are extra-special because they share our family culture of Leadership Education. So our lifestyles are more similar. When Valor started his Commonwealth school six years ago this fall I shared my excitement about it with my sister-in-law Sally. She shared the concept with her homeschooling friends down there so they up and started one for them. So now when we visit it is so fun to hear about what LEMI scholar projects her kids are doing and what dances and activities and even problems her Commonwealth is having.
I've been reading a charming book about cousins to my kids. So far it has two lines that capture my feelings to a T. The first is "cousins...if they are the right kind, can be kinder than siblings and closer than friends." Yes, yes! The cousin bond is one-of-a-kind. The second line is how during the first part of June you just want to bottle those days up. The whole summer is ahead or "just starting to be," as Portia says in Gone Away Lake at the beginning of the story. I feel so full of promise at the beginning of June. (I also feel bittersweet as I reflect back on D-day which happened in early June but that's a post for another time.)These lines come from the book Gone Away Lakeby Elizabeth Enright. A few years ago we enjoyed one of her other books, The Saturdays. for our family read-aloud. I can already tell that this one will be even more darling. Elizabeth Enright was a very talented children's book author who wrote pure, captivating fiction of children's lives in simpler, more innocent times of pre1960. She was also the niece of Frank Lloyd Wright. Good taste runs in the family. She could illustrate but gave that up to focus on writing. I read about Gone Away Lake in my latest catalog from Chinaberry and just knew it would be the perfect read-aloud for summer. (Have I mentioned Chinaberry before? I get the catalog--see and then mark what books I want and get them from the library. Every time it hits my mailbox it's like a breath of fresh air and an invitation to soak in the tub while I peruse the offerings.)

This book and our visit to our cousins makes me also think of an article I read in Mothering magazine (, although they don't have the exact article digitized), which for the life of me, I can't resurrect after looking through my Mothering stash. It was this delightful recounting by a mother of the summer she had spent with her four children. They had lazy days drinking in the magic of the season. They went on nature walks. They picked blueberries. They house-sat for their relatives for a weekend and enjoyed the treasures there. They did some arts and crafts and read classics and played musical instruments. That is how I want my summers to be, full of sensual delights and free from conveyor-belt entertainment, forced learning, deadlines and pressure. Heck, that's how I want my life to be. That's why I homeschool, using the TJED philosophy, and I can honestly say that many times I feel that feeling I got when I read that article, that feeling of freedom and playfulness and love for what we are learning.
Sally told me she feels that the most important key of the Eight Keys of Teaching and Learning is the phases. I actually just looked it up and the phases aren't a key, but they help you understand the keys. See I decided I agree. I have been calling them the "natural seasons of learning" to fit in with the Tree of Life Mothering theme. My upcoming book, Volume III, will have a chapter on these. (Since Volume I will come out this year, who knows when Volume III will be ready.) Anyway, if anyone is struggling with education, whether at home or in public school, or life in general, an understanding of the phases or seasons of learning will help solve a lot of the problem.

I will be blogging a lot about our trip in the coming month. I've got a lot on my plate right now with a family reunion to Colorado next week, a yard sale for LLL this weekend, plus the Holistic LDS Living Conf. But I've got to get these memories about our trip down! The trip was so impactful and full of memories and great epiphanies I had while reading (A Sacred Duty) and great conversations with Sally and others that I don't want to stop thinking about it!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Is Breastfeeding Really the Norm Now?

Yesterday, I read an article in Redbook magazine in the reception room of an oral surgeon while my son got his wisdom teeth pulled. You can find the article here"


The author claims that breastfeeding is the norm now, unlike 50 years ago when LLL started, and that the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of breastfeeding, so that moms who don't breastfeed are made to feel that they are bad mothers.

This is so sad. Moms who don't breastfeed should feel regretful, not guilty. This whole debate is just evidence of a larger problem...(Please sign in to
and go to the Ecological Breastfeeding group to read the rest of my post and add your comments.)


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

News From TJED Land


Dan Ralphs, the guy who came to speak at my virtue fireside last Sunday, is moving to Mesa this week to start a TJED-based high school in the fall. He's been doing one in St. George called Williamsburg Academy with James Ure. When I heard about this over a year ago I was so wanting to just pack up and move down there. I envied my sister-in-law, Sally, who is living in St. George and doing TJED with her six kids. Dan and James bought this high school from Troy Henke. But Dan and his wife feel it's time to settle down and they want to do that in Arizona where his wife has deep roots. So Mesa is the lucky home to Dan's new school, Lexington Academy. This will be a brick and mortar school. See

It sounds so wonderful to have a place for homeschooled kids in the late teens who are truly ready to do a scholar phase to be mentored in Oxford-style education, like the kind of education C.S. Lewis was into. But don't despair if you can't ship your scholar off to Mesa...

If you want to read the rest of this please go to my new web site, a gathering place for TJED junkies, at and go to the blog. You will have to sign in first. This is a place for people to review and share all things TJED.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Real Education Makes You Virtuous

The fireside with Dan Ralphs was spectacular! I feel so inspired to read classic literature and do hard things and get a great education. Dan basically said that if you get a great education you will become Christlike. Therefore you will have virtue in education, because Christ is virtuous. The best education leads one not to just know stuff, and not to just understand, but to actually become Christlike. The best education changes or transforms you. You "become," instead of just knowing and understanding. That makes sense because Christ is the only source of power that changes us, or helps us become, for the better. He gives us a new life through a new birth.

Dan quoted from Les Mis and said that someone said it was the best work about the atonement outside of the standard works. I read it for my Face to Face with Greatness class (see but that was just a skim, rushed, conveyor-belt reading. Maybe I will actually go back and read it and allow it to help me "become." Dan also quoted Elder Neal Maxwell about what real education is, and then he had to translate the Maxwellian talk for us. I am hoping that one of my friends who was at the fireside will type up her notes and then I can share them on my site. It was at Michele Smith's home. She is so on the ball and organized and her youngest is 4 (meaning she actually has free time not dictated by naps) so I think she will do this for me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Living Water and the Holy Grail

So last week we drove down to southern Utah to take my son, Valor, to the Youth for Freedom summer camp. He really wanted to go, but we didn't have the money. With two weeks left for it to start, he asked if he could use his short-term savings to pay for it. It just hadn't occurred to any of us to use that money before. Thanks to hearing Janine Bolon speak, he has been "60/40ing" his money that he earns mowing lawns and umpiring. That's where you take 40 percent to spend and use the remaining 60 percent for tithing, charity, and savings. You teach your kids to live on 40 percent of what they make and then later when they are adults and paying rent/mortgage they switch and live on 60 percent. Yes, I am would like to learn that lesson myself. (Thank you Janine, the money muse for this teaching! Janine's site is ) We agreed, with the stipulation that he not buy anything until he pays back his savings.

So two Sundays ago we drove down to sunny St. George and played with cousins while he went to Youth for Freedom at a camp in Orderville. (see ) He had a life-transforming event and the visit was so heavenly for us as well. Our dad stayed home and enjoyed the batchelor life. After the camp, I actually saw Valor writing down his goals and "saygobedos" (see ) that were inspired by this camp. But the best part of it all was after I went with my friend Amanda through Zion's National Park (the only way to get to Orderville) to pick up my son and her daughter on Thursday night. We came back to the cousins' home and the first thing my son asked was, "OK, where's the stuff to change the baby's diaper?"

Can you believe a 16-year-old asking to change a baby's diaper?! I was so impressed! You know how sometimes when kids spend a long time away from home and responsibilities, especially if they are with their friends, they get selfish? Not this kid. Especially not with the education he's getting. It's partly because he's great and I am hoping it's because he spent so much time at this camp learning about being virtuous, unselfish, service-oriented, and fulfilling a great mission in life.

Four years ago I started integrating the Leadership Education philosophy in my home. So far I am very pleased with the results. It is stimulating and humbling to learn about this education and the call it issues to every student to follow the path of virtue.

Sister Elaine Dalton has issued a call to return to virtue. (See )As far as I can tell,her past four talks to the youth of the LDS church have been about virtue. Hence, I have felt inspired to create a community of youth that heeds this call. Montesquieu says that the goal of education in a republic is to create virtue. Article IV section 4 of the U.S. Constitution says that our government is a republic. So I have asked Dan Ralphs to come speak to youth this Sunday, June 13, in Highland about virtue in education. If you want to know more about Dan, go to this blog by TJED mom Teri Helms, here

Dan says that virtue is a source of living water, a holy grail that has been sought for by sages of the past and must be cultivated by anyone today who wants to be great. I can't wait to hear more!

If you want to come, again, as I said in my last post, sign in to and read the latest blog post to get the details. See you there!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Catching My Breath and Please Come to my Fireside

Last week we had a totally fun time down in TJED land (southern Utah) with cousins. My son decided to go to Youth for Freedom at the last minute and pay for it with his own hard-earned cash. That's a TJED-based youth camp. We played with cousins while he got out of his comfort zone. Now he and my daughter are at AYLI's Simulation Week because they won the Freedom Bowl last January. I have so many fun things to tell you all about our trip. But first I want to get the word out about the Virtue Fireside I organized coming this Sunday with Dan Ralphs, head mentor at Lexington Academy, a sister school to Williamsburg Academy. (See These two schools are TJED-based high schools, specifically designed for homeschoolers.

Dan is coming up to Utah County to speak this Sunday! I am so excited! My friend is hosting it. It's not that far of a drive, even people from Logan are coming. Then on July 11 I have my husband's cousin, John Hilton III speaking (see and If you want to come and bring your youth, at least age12 (if they can behave themselves) then sign in at and go to "blog" to read the details. Be sure to RSVP to my friend so she can have enough chairs.

Let's make virtue hip, fun, and fashionable! It is the only way to freedom, true power, and happiness, and those commodities are always in style. I have even more news about virtue and youth from my friend Aneladee Milne but I will wait a few months to share that secret.

See you there!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Learning to Listen to the Holy Ghost

It was one of those nights, a "crunch" night, where you have two different places to be because your scholar phase kids are involved in one thing and you want to be somewhere else.
Thank goodness I have another child old enough to babysit so I didn't have to drag everyone else along, that definitely would have slowed us down. We had planned a departure time, 5 PM, so we could drop the scholar phasers off at their Shakespeare play performance in Clearfield and then get to our meeting in Bountiful for the original commonwealth school that we got involved when we first moved to Davis County six years ago. Crazy, I know, but Davis County, Utah is the only place in the world blessed with two Commonwealth Schools and we happen to be greedy enough to be involved with both of them. We just don't want to miss out on any of the classes and mentors offered by either. (If you don't know what a commonwealth school is, it is a terrific jr. high homeschool alternative that is based on TJED. My children absolutely love it. It provides for the social outlet children crave as they become adolescents. The idea was founded by my friends Tiffany Earl and Aneladee Milne See

I was so excited for this night. I had been anticipating it for days. At 5:30 we would hold an orientation meeting for parents who were interested in learning about Williamsburg Academy with a web chat visit from the headmaster, James Ure. James is this amazing young man who has a leadership education and is changing the world by changing youths' lives. Oliver DeMille says he is "real deal." I got to take a class from him about the Constitution. I am so blown away by his knowledge, his scholarship, and his ability to relate with students.

Then at 6:30 we would have a potluck dinner, and then at 7 PM we would have the parents' meeting. I wasn't so interested in the last part, the business meeting, as I was for hearing James talk about Williamsburg (see and socializing with my TJED mom friends during the potluck. I always glean such little nuggets of truth when I rub shoulders with these fabulous women.

The only hitch was that a book at the library just two blocks from my home was calling my name, loud and clear. I had put it on hold months ago. I had been about 60th in line and it was finally available! I really, really, really wanted to go pick it up and start devouring it. I had been waiting since Monday to go pick it up and it was now Thursday. I had been good for the past four days, doing my motherly and homemaking duties and I felt it was time for my "reward" of picking up the book finally. The only problem was that it was 4:30, dinner still wasn't quite ready, and we were supposed to leave at 5. The only other little problem was that three of my children wanted to go with me and that would for sure slow down the errand.

I kept feeling this nagging thought of, no, you shouldn't go. It doesn't matter that you really want to get that book, you shouldn't go tonight. But I kept pushing it out of my mind. We were backing out of the driveway at 4:45 and I finally decided to heed the thought. "You know what?" I said to my library-going children, "this is crazy. I feel that the Holy Ghost is telling me not to go and I need to obey." I knew they would be disappointed and I was too, but we went back into the house. I was able to finish seasoning the black beans (my potluck contribution), my husband came home right after that, and we left shortly after 5 with our food and scholar actors in tow to drop off.

We ended up being fifteen minutes late to the meeting, but the good news was that they hadn't started. I know it's just coincidence, but it almost seems like at so many of these homeschooling meetings people are just waiting for the Shumways to arrive before they start. We didn't miss out on any of the meeting with James. I am so excited to share with you what I learned about Williamsburg Academy in a future post. Youth living in TJED land (southern Utah) are no longer the only youth who can benefit from it. Through the wonders of technology, any youth with an Internet connection can get this leadership education from these astounding mentors at WA.

A scripture in the D&C says that if you don't follow the will of the Lord, you will fall. That usually does not mean physically falling. It usually means you will fall short of your goal. You will fall short of what you could have been blessed with. I know this night I was blessed with success of being at all of the meetings we had planned on because I listened to the Holy Ghost and stopped going to the candy store, I mean library. I know the Lord knows what is best for each of us and if we submit to His will, which He reveals to us, through the Holy Ghost (which for me manifests in the form of persistent thoughts and little feelings) then we will be blessed with more success and happiness than we originally planned for ourselves.

So what was this book I was so hot for? See below. I am reading it and loving it and it. It is so true that we learn best from answering questions, especially questions that we come up with ourselves, not questions someone else cooks up for us. That's as true in our education as it is in our relationships. That's why I love TJED, because it encourages our children and ourselves to ask and answer questions that nobody else can for us.

I've also noticed that asking questions can help us listen to the Holy Ghost better. Asking and answering questions is how Joseph Smith was tutored and blessed. It's how we can be blessed as well.

Change Your Questions Change Your Life Change Your Questions Change Your Life by Wendy Watson Nelson