Category Archives: Dancing With YOUR Star (Marriage)

Six Ways My Husband Makes Me a Better Mother

 

 

6 Ways My Husband Makes Me a Better Mother

I love being a mother! I have loved every stage of it–from being pregnant to having a son turn thirty-three this year! My husband and I have been working a lot on the slides and handouts for our parenting seminar (“Raising Kids With Character”) and for homeschooling conventions, so all of this prep has led me to this blog post. 

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No Thirty Days of Romance? Okay, Let’s Go for Ten! Um, Eighty Hours Then?

Let Your Marriage Be A Witness...

 

Many years ago my husband and I started a cool tradition that we called Thirty Days of Romance during the summer/close to our anniversary. (Read about that here!)

 

In the last two years, it has gotten increasingly difficult to have this romantic time period—yes, you read that right…as our kids got OLDER, it got harder to do! When we began it about eight years ago, we had four kids at home teens/tweens—and we just told them that we were dancing and romancing for thirty days, so don’t bug us. 🙂

 

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Thirty Days of Romance June 2013

“I’m in love, I’m in love…and I don’t care who knows it.” Elf


Today is the beginning of this year’s “Thirty Days of Romance” for me and Ray. 

Several years ago, we celebrated being together for thirty years–thirty years since our first date, and we’ve been together ever since! Anyway, we celebrated those thirty years by having what we called “thirty days of romance.” That is, for those thirty days we focused more on each other than other things. We thought of each other more, made each other feel important, did special things for each other, spent more time alone, and just generally tried to focus more on romance than “stuff”–those things that we always have to do. It was such a success that we decided to make it an annual event.

We have had a few “30 Days of Romance” in the past few years, and we have loved them! In recent years, we have been getting too busy with my writing and editing, Ray’s work, our publishing company, our family speaking ministry, and all seven of our children and their needs. It just seemed like the long talks, special candy bars, frequent rendezvous (!), etc., were slipping away from us. 

Some ideas we have used (and/or hope to use in the future)—some are just simple things that we forget to do in our daily busy-ness. (Feel free to share—we should start a Romantic Revolution!!! )


1. Make favorite meals —I try to make spaghetti a couple of times during this time–Ray’s favorite!; Ray will grab the kids and make me homemade French fries or have one of the boys make brownies, etc., sometimes.

Stir fry! One of Ray’s favorites!



2. Out for dinner in Fort Wayne–since we started dancing, we seldom go to movies and/or dinner because it takes so much to get away to dance—and we do not feel like we can justify another evening away from the kids—during 30 Days of Romance, we take exception to that, even if it means dinner and movie on Tuesday AND dancing on Saturday! 

Date night!



3. Romantic comedies/movies—we have two ballroom dance movies we like to watch. Ray loves romantic movies; I prefer action/legal thrillers/drama, and I’m the one who usually rents movies, so I try to get more movies he likes during this month.

This is one of our favorite romantic movies–as long as we fast forward the part near the beginning where the wife dies in a car accident (too many bad memories from my ruptured uterus fourteen years ago).



4. Just talking—During this time, we try to slow down the pace and not rush when we do have time together. For example, we try to go to our dances early and leave them late! We always barely come into a dance (and one of us is often on the phone to one of the older kids when we first arrive) or have to leave early, etc. etc.,  it seems. During 30 Days, we just want to slow down, dance some, talk some, and just not rush for a little bit! Talking without our kids needing us is a luxury, so we just tried to focus more on that this month.

Okay….talking AND kissing! Smile…



5. More phone calls and emails—and more little signs, words, and phrases that nobody but us knows what they mean in our phone calls and emails (though the kids try to figure them out!! ).

I love this quote that Ray emailed to me today:  

“Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very
pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love
grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning
and unquenchable.” – Bruce Lee        



                     

6. More yielding—just taking our own advice (when we counsel people) to be the one who stops an argument or disagreement, to be the one who doesn’t have to be right, to be the one who brings peace in a situation that could become less than peaceful. We teach yielding in our book, curricula, blog, seminar, and workshops, but it is so hard to do in life everyday and to do it ALL THE TIME—just to remind ourselves that the other person’s feelings and that relationship is worth yielding for. 








7. Song finding—this is a new thing we want to do—find songs that we like on the internet and have Jonathan buy them and put them on a cd for us—and decide which dances we would do with each one, etc. 


You can hear one of our favorite “Night Club Two Step” songs here






8. Look up dancing together online—on rare occasions, we will sit down and look up a certain dance online and try to figure out how they do certain moves, or watch for styling or theory, etc. Listen to/watch “lessons” online. During “30 Days,” we want to do this more. 


Watch this fun West Coast Swing dance! No, it isn’t us, and yes, we wish we could dance like this!





9. Play games—before our kids got so old and needed us so much in the evenings (including our grown children on the phone, etc.), we used to play Scrabble, Guess Who, Blokus, Backgammon, and Cribbage in our room and watch a fun movie, eat snacks, and just enjoy each other and relax. Now it seems like we are always with one of the kids for something (i.e. Ray is at the table with Josiah and his algebra right now; I’m getting ready to call back one of our daughters to talk, etc. etc.)—or if we play games, it is with the kids (which is fun too, but not alone time). We seldom stop early enough in the evening to have our fun game time anymore. During this month, we will “make dates” to do that. 


This is one of our favorites! But we show each other our own tiles & help each other get more points! I love that man!



10. Go out for dessert—when the kids were all younger (but the oldest was twelve), a couple of times a month, we would put them all to bed at eight o’clock and go out for dessert. Again, nowadays, our nine to eleven hours are earmarked for our teens and college kids who live at home–not for dessert or moves. We try to do this some during our 30 Days and use those hours for each other rather than the kids.

During Thirty Days of Romance, we like to go out for dessert, but here is one to make at home–Butterfinger Dessert!









11. Dance lessons—We had put private lessons on hold for the past five years due to the expenses with getting our publishing company off the ground; a wedding; three kids in college, feeding six adults (!),  etc. etc etc. We want to try to take at least two private lessons during this month. 












12. Little surprises—When we didn’t have so many needs to meet, we just thought of little things more—you know, picking up my favorite editing pen at Walmart when Ray is getting groceries or grabbing his favorite pop at the gas station—just the little things that let the other person know he is being thought of. One “30 Days” Ray had a dozen roses (of different colors–beautiful!) delivered in increments of three–during my “CQLA Cottage Class” day. Thus, every couple of hours, the florist would come with three more roses–my students thought it was a hoot–but I just loved it!

An especially special treat since I call Ray “Ray Baby” more than I do Ray! Smile…

13. Not work at night so much—Because of homeschooling during the day (and teaching one hundred kids in Ossian, Fort Wayne, and Leo writing each week), I often work at night while Ray oversees kids’ homework, teaches some of their classes, does driver’s training with whomever happens to be learning to drive at that time, works on meal clean up with the kids, etc etc. I often have trouble stopping my work. (I really love to work…especially writing and editing!) When it is payroll time, student billing time, order filling time, etc. etc. Ray often works after he is done with the kids in the evening too. Anyway, during 30 Days, we designate certain nights for us to stop working at a certain time. 

All work and no play makes a marriage dull! 







14. Planning and dreaming together—We always used to plan and dream together—now it seems like life happens so fast that we hardly have time to plan ahead or dream about what might be. We take more time for that during this month. 


15. Get away—Since this “30 Days” is falling over our anniversary,I hope we can get away and possibly go to a dance (especially at the beautiful “Roof Ballroom” in Indianapolis) and stay overnight a day or two. When we can do this, it makes our “30 Days” even more romantic.

16. “Twalks”—before we started Character Ink and Raising Kids With Character, and I started writing so much, we used to take a “twalk” many days after work. This was a time in which the two of us just took off on a walk to talk. We are trying to incorporate more of these—without cell phones on us!



I recommend “Thirty Days of Romance” to all married couples—whether you’ve been married ten years or forty. It just puts the focus back on each other in marriage—and that focus is so easy to lose with the demands of parenting, work, ministry, and more.

We Understand….For Mom and Dad Are in Love Too




We understand that you were nervous, afraid of the unknown and possible hurt…for Mom and Dad were afraid one day too.

We understand that once the answer was yes, you were giddy and seeing stars…for Mom and Dad are often giddy and seeing stars too.

We understand that as you got to know each other, you needed to talk for hours and hours…for Mom and Dad need to talk for hours and hours too.

We understand that as your love has deepened, the days between your time together have felt like forever…for when Mom and Dad have time apart, it feels like forever too.

We understand that you can hardly wait for the next time you get to spend time together…for Mom and Dad can hardly wait for the next time we get to spend time together too.

We understand that you need to hear each other’s voices, to have the restlessness in your souls calmed…for Mom and Dad calm each other’s restless souls too.

We understand that you just want to laugh, to sing, to play–and you need to do these things together…for Mom and Dad need to laugh and sing and play together too.

We understand that you await words of affirmation and love from each other every day…for Mom and Dad await those words from each other every day too.

We understand that you want to dream together of the future–think, talk, scheme, and hope…for Mom and Dad dream together too.

We understand that you think nobody else in the world feels like you do–that nobody else could possibly hold the love and feelings that you are holding…for Mom and Dad think that we are the only ones too.

We understand that you need more minutes, more hours, more days, more weeks to be together…for Mom and Dad need more time too.

We understand that you long for the day when you will not be apart, the day that your lives are joined as one and you no longer have separate lives….for Mom and Dad longed for that day for us too.

We understand that you wake up in the morning thinking of your love–and that is the last thought you have before you sleep…for Mom and Dad think of each other morning and night too.

We understand all of these things…we haven’t forgotten. We understand….we understand that you are in love….for Mom and Dad are in love too.

Reish Family Speaking Topics

 Dear Event Organizer,

This document has been prepared to make event organizers know of the topics that our ministry/publishing company (Character Ink) provides to homeschoolers (and in the case of our parenting seminar and marriage workshops, to Christian organizations in general). You will find us on the web under different names:

1. Character Ink (formerly Training for Triumph) –our homeschool publishing/cottage class/speaking ministry 

2. Character Training From the Heart (formerly Positive Parenting)–our parenting seminar, blog, and Facebook page

3. Language Lady–Donna’s language arts, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, reading, and speaking blog and Facebook page (for teachers, parents, students, and anybody who wants to learn about proper usage and more!)

You will find the following in this document:

1.  Workshops for Ray, Donna, or Joshua Reish (or some combination of it)

2.  Additional seminar/workshop possibilities

3.  Biographical and publishing information 

We are open to combining/cutting/changing however is needed to fit your convention. Please feel free to contact us about doing a “series” or combining workshops in whatever way would meet the needs of your attendees.

1.    WORKSHOPS FOR REISHES

Family Living and Family Unity

Bible Buzzwords: Scriptures, Along With Infamous Reish Family Buzzwords, That Teach Children How to Live a Character-Filled Life—Ray and Donna; Ray alone; Donna alone
“Reishes pick up some carpeting”; “If she thinks you did it, to her, you did it”; “Dad’s in the kitchen/Mom’s in the kitchen”; “See a need”; “Penny for your thoughts”; “You’re number three”; “How does that make her feel?” These buzzwords, along with many more, are rooted in Scripture and have come to be vital teaching tools for the Reish family. Come and learn “Bible Buzzwords” from the Reish home, along with applications of them, while seeing how teaching our kids to walk with Christ is more of a lifestyle than a lesson, more relationship than rules, and more communication than curriculum.

Family Unity – Ray and Donna; Ray alone; Donna alone
Ray and Donna Reish share how they have developed family unity in their family of seven children through family togetherness, family worship, family times, family work, family protection, and more. Lots of practical applications to make your children each other’s best friends – and to make them crazy about their parents!

Reaching the Heart of Your Teen – Ray and Donna; Ray alone; Donna alone
Ray and Donna Reish share what they have found to work in reaching and keeping the hearts of their teens. With six children ages thirteen through twenty-five right now (and one elementary boy), the Reishes have found some very specific keys to discipling and mentoring their teens and young adults.

Child Training of Younger Children – Ray and Donna; Donna alone
Laying the foundation for a successful homeschool and successful family relationships, Ray and Donna Reish teach parents how to train young children in obedience, diligence, kindness, responsibility, and much more.

Discipling and Mentoring Your Children – Ray and Donna; Ray alone; Donna alone
More about discipling and mentoring children—beginning with elementary age and moving into young adults. This workshop, which can be presented by Ray or Donna Reish (or the two), is for those with all ages of children, describing how to begin reaching the heart of your younger children while still maintaining discipline, then how to move into a mentoring role with your older teens and young adults.

The Well-Trained Heart – Ray and Donna; Ray alone; Donna alone
This very newest workshop(s) presented by Ray and Donna Reish and based on their book, The Well-Trained Heart, may be one to a dozen sessions in length! The basic, beginning session is that of “The Whys and How’s of Heart Training”—what the Bible says about heart training, general principles in heart training, the importance of heart training, the trend towards neglecting heart training in favor of academic training and activities, and much more. The remaining sessions may be any chapters from The Well-Trained Heart.

              Character Training Seminar Workshops

The Five W’s of Character Training—Ray and Donna; Ray alone; Donna alone

This workshop, the first in our popular “Character Training From the Heart” seminar (though may be used separately, as well), teaches parents the what, who, when, where, why (and how!) of character training in the home. Using Scripture and thirty years of parenting experience, the Reishes convince parents in this workshop that it starts with us—and is up to us—to train our children in godly parenting, how and where this takes place (it’s not as elaborate as you might think),and much more!

Parenting Paradigms—Ray and Donna; Ray alone; Donna alone

How we parent begins with what we believe—what we believe about how children come into this world, whose responsibility child training is, what our role should be in it, what we believe Scripture tells us about parenting, timing and appropriate age of training, empathy in parenting, and much more. What we believe will dictate what we do every single day of our parenting lives. Find out why and how in this workshop.

Starting Out Right With Babies and Toddlers—Ray and Donna; Donna alone

Demanding toddlers become disobedient preschoolers, disobedient preschoolers become surly elementary children, surly elementary children become disrespectful teens, and disrespectful teens become entitled young adults. What we do in parenting our babies and toddlers makes a huge difference in the success of our parenting in other stages. This workshop focuses on the first four qualities that are essential for parenting babies and toddlers—contentment, cheerfulness, obedience, and submission. “I wish every young Christian parent could hear these concepts—ones that were taught to us thirty years ago and have made a huge difference in our parenting” (Donna).

Early Qualities for Preschoolers—Ray and Donna; Donna alone

This workshop takes the first four qualities needed for babies and toddlers—submission, obedience, contentment, and cheerfulness—and builds on those in the life of the four to six year old child. In this workshop, Reishes explain how to apply those in your little one’s life, while raising kids that others enjoy being around and that older siblings adore! Loving and training these ages are some of the most blessed years of parenting (along with many other years!)—and parenting children biblically with boundaries, love, fun, and biblical concepts makes all the difference in their dispositions, the family’s efficiency and joy, and family unity.

Child Training vs Heart Training—Ray and Donna; Donna alone

Something should start to happen in our character training between the ages of eight and ten. This workshop teaches how to transition from child training to heart training—and how the foundational character training plays a role in that transition. How do we get from “putting out fires” in our kids’ behavior to training their hearts for life? Ray and Donna have insights from their thirty years of parenting that can help parents move into heart training of their children effectively.

Helping Tweens Grow in Character and Virtue—Ray and Donna; Donna alone

Taking tweens and young teens from obedience and submission  for the sake of avoiding punishment to genuine respect, self-control, diligence, truthfulness, responsibility, and more can be a daunting task. But it can be done! And we can enjoy those ten to fourteen year olds instead of dreading the next confrontation! This workshop focuses on how to help our children grow in character and virtue because “it’s the right thing to do”—and apply it to their lives for life!

Fathering and Marriage

Meeting the Needs of Your Wife and Children – Ray Reish
Ray Reish looks at the primary needs of a home school wife and children and explains how to meet these needs by focusing on them over less important things. Ray will explain practical ways to meet needs at various stages and ages—and how to continue to be one with your wife in a busy homeschool family. Very motivating and enlightening.

Teaching the Bible to Your Children Without Pressure – Ray Reish
Ray Reish gives home school dads the courage to dig into the Bible with their families – without a Bible degree or the pressure that they aren’t doing it right! Ray shares dozens and dozens of fun and non-pressured ways the Bible has been brought into his homeschool over the past twenty years – and how to make God’s Word and its teachings the center of your school and life.

The Successful Home Schooling Father – Ray Reish
Ray Reish shares several components that have, in the eyes of his wife and children, made him a successful home schooling father. Fathers everywhere can be successful in their home schooling efforts when they learn to die to themselves and serve their families as opposed to ruling them.

Family Worship, Family Altar, Family Devotions – Ray Reish
How Can I Do It All? Ray Reish gives dads the encouragement they need to “do the next right thing” – and not be overwhelmed by the “advice overload” that makes sharing Christ with our children more complicated and out of reach than it really is. In this workshop, Ray discusses family devotions, family read alouds, family worship, family prayer time, teaching our children about God constantly, teaching our children to love the Lord, and training children to have an others-first mindset. Dads can go home and begin immediately doing “the next right thing” – without being perfect or following an elaborate system.

Marriage by the Book – Ray and Donna; Ray alone
In this marriage workshop, Ray Reish (or Ray and Donna) describes how he has applied Scriptures about marriage, selflessness, and deference to their marriage to develop marital oneness. More than another “rule and reign” and “respect and obey” workshop, this one focuses on truly loving and giving—from both the husband and the wife. This approach to marriage makes the “ruling” and “respecting” come much more naturally!

Helps for Homeschool Moms
(Donna Reish presents these sessions, very popular and helpful ones, to home school groups every year; Ray and Donna may also do these together, if desired, for moms and dads; these sessions may be done individually as well; however, if all three are done, they should be done in the order listed here.)

Prioritizing Your Life, School, and Home – Donna Reish
The first session in this three part series “prioritizing” is a needful topic for home school moms and dads. In this life-changing and popular session, Donna Reish teaches parents how to prioritize their lives, schools, and homes—the difference between a priority and a desire, how to find God’s best for your family, how and when to say no, and more. This session is especially appropriate for fathers and mothers to attend together.

Organizing Your Life, School, and Home – Donna Reish
The next session, organizing – takes prioritizing a step further and shows how to live your priorities out by organizing your home school day, housework, school work, and more. This session also includes tips for helping children become organized, diligent workers, including information about chore charts and daily checklists.

Scheduling Your Life, School, and Home – Donna Reish
Finally, Donna Reish focuses on scheduling your school day in many scenarios – putting character first. She also teaches how to face various scheduling challenges, such as scheduling with babies; multi level scheduling; and various curriculum-focused scheduling. This session also includes tips for helping children become organized, diligent workers, including information about chore charts and daily checklists

Child Training

Child Training in the Christian Homeschool – Donna Reish
Donna Reish delivers this child training workshop in which she touches on the main aspects of child training that affect a family’s home school success in the daily ins and outs. She exposes the child-run home and explains how to counter it. Especially suited for parents of children twelve and under.

Training Children to Be Diligent Workers – Donna Reish
Donna Reish goes beyond a daily chore chart (though that is certainly a part of it) to explain the basics of raising diligent workers in the home. She has found several keys that have made her children not just “chore doers” but responsible, diligent children at early ages. (Much of this information is also included in part three of the character series.)

Babies and Toddlers – Donna Reish
Donna Reish examines two extremes of parenting babies in home school circles: child run and authoritarian (extreme parent-controlled). Donna gives a gentle balance between the two for the newborn baby—and how to keep babies and toddlers from becoming self-centered children, self-absorbed teens, and selfish adults. She explains how she and her husband gently incorporated babies and toddlers into their home school lifestyle–while still meeting the needs of the other children—without falling into the trap of either extreme.

Home Schooling Preschoolers and Kindergarteners – Donna Reish
Donna Reish continues the parent-led advice for young parents and tells them how to train preschoolers and kindergarteners in character, obedience, love of learning, diligence, and more—before beginning “academics.”

Day in the Life of a Preschooler or Kindergartener – Donna Reish
Donna Reish uses her upcoming children’s book, Jonathan’s Journal, to show parents of preschoolers and kindergarteners what boundaries, structure, attention, love, and learning look like in the day of her young son—and how homeschooling parents can duplicate this balanced approach in their families.

General Homeschooling

Thirty Years and Counting—Ray and Donna; Ray alone; Donna alone

Thirty years ago this fall, Ray and Donna Reish, married for two years with a one-year-old in tow, embarked on the homeschooling journey by homeschooling Donna’s eighth grade sister. (They also began helping folks in a nearby homeschool-unfriendly state start homeschooling.) Three decades and seven children later, they are still living the homeschooling lifestyle with one senior and one eighth grader—and five successful graduates and helping homeschoolers around the world.

In this session, the Reishes share what it was like thirty years ago for homeschoolers (“walking to school uphill in five feet of snow wearing flip flops”) and what has kept them going—and strong—for all of these years.  They share their “tips for success” along with motivation to “do the next right thing” and a little humor here and there.

Come and learn the importance of creating a love for learning, the foundations of child discipline in the successful homeschool, scheduling secrets, reaching the hearts of your teens, teaching all kinds of learners, keeping your marriage strong, and much more. You will laugh, cry, and jot down ideas that will make a difference in your life, relationships, school, and home.

Schooling the Preschooler and Kindergartener – Donna Reish
Donna Reish gives some surprising news about preschoolers and kindergarteners – the first skill they should be taught is obedience! She explains how to follow an order in teaching this age that focuses on the truly important things, how to enjoy these years, and more.

Multi-Level Teaching – Donna Reish
This workshop focuses on unit study approaches with many levels of children. Especially geared towards moms with children of ages birth through age fourteen, Donna Reish trains parents in scheduling, room time for younger children, the bus stop approach for adding in and deleting various ages of children at certain points of study, keeping little ones busy, older children helping younger ones, and much more.

Teaching Using Unit Studies – Donna Reish
The how’s and why’s of unit studies, as well as some of the downfalls and how to overcome those downfalls. Donna Reish, who has taught various unit studies for twenty years, describes different unit studies, such as chronological, literature-based, topic-based, and character-based. She describes how to implement the unit study approach with various ages of children, evaluating middle school students’ “unit study” work when tests and worksheets are not widely used, developing oral comprehension to aid in unit study effectiveness, the bus stop approach for teaching older children with younger children, and how to know when a child needs more independent study instead of the unit study.

So You’re Gonna Home School – Ray and Donna; Ray alone; Donna alone
Donna Reish (or Ray or both) encourages beginning home schoolers, giving them the information they need to begin to home school successfully – and enjoy their children at home. In this helpful session, she explains using statistics and studies why homeschooling is superior. Then she explains the top ten things new homeschoolers need to know and/or do, such as setting up a homeschooling schedule, choosing activities wisely, teaching like Jesus, keeping records, and much more.

Home Schooling Your High Schooler – Ray and Donna; Ray alone; Donna alone
After graduating three students from her family’s homeschool, Donna Reish (or Ray or the two) explains many aspects of home schooling high schoolers that they has found to be successful, including mentoring, training towards a student’s bent, helping young teens be successful, training teens to serve, and more. Donna will touch on transcript writing as well.

Teaching Like Jesus – Ray and Donna; Ray alone; Donna alone
Jesus was the Master Teacher; Donna Reish (or Ray or the two) explains how home school moms (and dads!) can teach like Jesus. In this session, the Reishes pull out various examples in Scriptures of how Jesus teaches and how the Bible says we should teach and apply them to help homeschooling parents become “master” teachers. We can’t go wrong in our homeschools when we teach and act like Jesus!

Top Twenty-Plus From Twenty-Plus! – Ray and Donna; Ray alone; Donna alone
Our Top Twenty Pieces of Advice From Twenty+ Years of Home Schooling—Our new and very popular workshop; Ray and Donna Reish (or either one alone) share the Reishes’ top twenty pieces of advice—from teaching children to read to teaching children to get along with each other—from twenty years of home school. This can be done in one hour (with tidbits of advice from all twenty areas) – or several (going into detail about many of the twenty pieces of advice) or somewhere in between (i.e a Part I and Part II workshop, etc.).

Teaching Students Critical Thinking Skills – Joshua Reish
Do you want your students to have strong critical thinking skills but wonder how to teach them? In this workshop, Joshua Reish (homeschool graduate who tested out of nearly all of his college degree) will show you how to help children from preschool to college expand their reasoning skills, think critically, discern teaching, and more.

Developing a Love for Learning Donna alone–This topic may be one session in length – or several sessions (preferred)

Donna Reish draws on her thirty years of home schooling—and developing a love for learning in her seven children—to help home school parents see how they can have children who love learning and enjoy home schooling. She includes information on the importance of beginning early in developing a love for learning (as opposed to a disdain for multiple workbooks at a young age); the influence of free time and frivolities on love for learning; the value of reading aloud; building comprehension to build enjoyment of learning; how hands on learning encourages a love for learning; modeling love for learning; creating learning memories; the fun and value of family learning times; how to develop a home school lifestyle; the effects of peers on love for learning; developing study skills; spiritual training at various times; teaching multiple children and multiple learning styles; and much more.

Language Arts Areas

Teaching Reading – Donna Reish
Donna’s master’s work is in reading specialist, but she learned how to teach reading by “doing the stuff.” Donna Reish helps build confidence in the home schooling mom to teach her children to read, including developing pre-reading skills naturally in the preschoolers, what readiness to learn to read is and what it is not; the basics of reading instruction; phonics vs. whole language; how to build comprehension skills; choosing readers; and more.

Teaching Language Arts – Donna Reish
Donna Reish shares what she has found to be the ideal order for language arts instruction in the home school, In this workshop, Donna takes language arts instruction year by year from preschool through twelfth grades—area by area (listening, comprehension, reading, grammar, speech, writing, literature, and more). She details the important connection between grammar and composition; the value of a directed writing approach; and many, many practical teaching tips for language arts based on her six years of experience of writing twenty language arts and composition books for two home school suppliers – and her twenty-two years of homeschooling (beginning with her younger sister).

Teaching Writing – Donna Reish or Joshua Reish
Donna Reish explains how to teach composition, including applying grammar to composition; the importance and how to’s of outlining; various composition types; writing meaningful reports and essays; using age-appropriate source material; various outlining techniques; teaching writing with a directed writing approach, and more, based on her six years of experience of writing over twenty language arts and composition books for two home school suppliers.

The Timed Essay/the Five Paragraph Essay (for SAT and other quick writing preparation) – Donna Reish or Joshua Reish
Donna Reish teaches parents (or teens) how to write a strong SAT or other timed essay including how to practice at home; what the graders are looking for; the importance of organization; time management techniques; building a background of knowledge; and more.

Writing the Research Paper – Donna Reish or Joshua Reish
Donna Reish teaches parents how to teach the MLA format of research papers, from research to outlining to gathering information on note cards and then on to final product. This session (including its detailed handout) takes the guesswork out of research paper writing for junior high and high school students.

How to Teach Study Skills and Comprehension – Donna Reish or Joshua Reish
Donna or Joshua Reish explains how to teach your students to learn including how to encourage and build comprehension; how to teach mnemonics and other retention techniques; choosing books; the importance of questions and verbal interchange in building comprehension; teaching children to think via discussions; building a background of experience; thinking to write and writing to think; and more.

Editing and Grammar Essentials – Donna Reish or Joshua Reish
Donna Reish teaches home school moms how to edit their students’ writings and help their students learn to edit and revise themselves including content editing and usage editing, as well as using checklists to revise and improve writing. The handout and checklist provided in this workshop are great helps to homeschool moms.

Teaching Creative Writing – Donna Reish or Joshua Reish
Donna Reish teaches home schooling parents how to teach creative writing—with handouts and lots of application, Donna will take parents through the creative essay, using quotations, writing short stories (with scene development, goals, obstacles, and resolution), and much more.

From Words to Sentences and More – Donna Reish or Joshua Reish
Donna Reish teaches home schooling parents how to teach the fundamentals of sentence writing, vocabulary building, and punctuation. Taking the “complex” out of those “complex-compound” sentence structures we learned in school many years ago, Donna teaches the structure of a sentence, sentence combining, sentence openers, and much more in an extremely easy-to-understand way.

Teaching Literature – Joshua Reish
Do names like Shakespeare, Milton, and Longfellow intimidate you as a teacher? Is it really necessary for your students to study literature? In this workshop, Joshua Reish will explain why the study of literature is important for all students, and more importantly, how you can teach it with confidence.
How to teach Shakespeare Even if You Don’t Understand It – Joshua Reish
In this workshop Joshua Reish, a home school graduate with a BA in history, will explain why Shakespeare is considered the best writer in world history and why a study of his works is one of the most important subjects for high school students. He will also show you creative and fun ways you can teach Shakespeare even if you don’t understand it yourself, as well as the impact Shakespeare’s writings have had on his life in other areas, besides literature.

How to Start Speech and Debate Clubs and Classes – Ray or Joshua Reish….This workshop explains how to teach speech and debate in your home, in a class, or with a newly-found club. This is the place to start if you want to introduce your attendees to speech and debate.

Teaching Beginning Debate – Ray or Joshua Reish
Ray or Joshua teaches the basics of policy debate for those interested in learning what debate is all about. Good overview of the basics of homeschool debate.

2. Additional Workshop Possibilities

We have two workshops that we do entirely on their own if someone if your group would like to host these—or if you would like parts of them done in order at your convention.

Language Arts Workshops

In addition to workshop topics, Donna (and/or Joshua) is available for an all day or half day language arts workshop. In this workshop, depending on the time available, Donna covers such topics as the following:

The grammar and composition connection—the importance of teaching grammar hand-in-hand with composition
How to teach composition
Using the Key Word Outline approach
Editing and Revising Essays
The timed essay (SAT and ACT)
How to teach language arts using an integrated approach (CQLA)
Editing sessions (in which parents bring papers for Donna to help them edit)

“Character Training From the Heart” seminar—Ray and Donna

Some of the sessions described above in the character training section come from this seminar. The entire seminar, in seven forty to fifty-minute sessions is as follows:

1.     The Five W’s of Character Training

2.     Parenting Paradigms

3.     Starting Out Right With Babies and Toddlers

4.     Early Qualities for Preschoolers

5.     Child Training vs. Heart Training

6.     Character Qualities for Elementary Ages

7.     Helping Tweens Grow in Character and Virtue

                        3. Biographical and Publishing Information

Ray and Donna Reish are the homeschooling parents of seven children, ages fourteen to thirty. Donna has written over fifty curriculum books for two publishers over the past twelve years, including, among others,  “Character Quality Language Arts” and “Meaningful Composition.” The two of them own and operate a homeschooling publishing company and cottage class provider, Training for Triumph; Christian parenting ministry/seminar, “Character Training From the Heart”; and “Positive Parenting” blog. Additionally, the couple has written a homeschooling book entitled, “The Well-Trained Heart.” They have graduated six students (as of May 2013!) who are involved in occupations, ministries, and marriages that exemplify the relational, character-based parenting and homeschooling approach that they were raised with. They live near Fort Wayne, Indiana where they test their homeschool curricula with over one hundred students every year, blog about parenting and language arts, write and publish books for homeschoolers, spend tons of time with all seven of their kids, and help homeschoolers and parents in their area in any way they can.

Donna Reish is the homeschooling mother of seven children, ages fourteen to thirty. She has written nearly fifty curriculum books for two publishers over the past twelve years, including, among others, “Character Quality Language Arts” and “Meaningful Composition.” She and her husband own and operate a homeschooling publishing company and cottage class provider, Training for Triumph; Christian parenting ministry/seminar, “Character Training From the Heart”; and “Positive Parenting” blog. Additionally, the couple has written a homeschooling book entitled, “The Well-Trained Heart.” They have graduated six students (as of May 2013!) who are involved in occupations, ministries, and marriages that exemplify the relational, character-based parenting and homeschooling approach that they were raised with. Donna and her family live near Fort Wayne, Indiana where Donna, originally trained in undergrad school in Elementary Education and grad school in Reading Education, continues to educate her seventh and final homeschooled student, teaches one hundred plus students every year in “cottage classes” to test her books, writes fiction and teaching materials with her oldest son, blogs about parenting and language arts, spends tons of time with all seven of her kids, and helps homeschoolers and parents in the area in any way she can.

Ray Reish is the homeschooling father of seven children, ages fourteen to thirty. He and his wife own and operate a homeschooling publishing company and cottage class provider, Training for Triumph; Christian parenting ministry/seminar, “Character Training From the Heart”; and “Positive Parenting” blog. Additionally, the couple has written a homeschooling book entitled, “The Well-Trained Heart.” They have graduated six students (as of May 2013!) who are involved in occupations, ministries, and marriages that exemplify the relational, character-based parenting and homeschooling approach that they were raised with. Ray does not call himself the school “principal,” but prefers for his primary title (after DAD!) to be “homeschool janitor,” teaching young fathers to be servant leaders in their homeschools. Ray and his family live near Ossian, Indiana where Ray, a CPA, works as a Materials Manager in a local plant, operates Training for Triumph, plays basketball with his four sons, ballroom dances with his wife, talks “forever” with his three adult daughters, and helps homeschoolers and parents however he can.

                 

 Joshua Reish is the oldest child of Ray and Donna Reish. Joshua was homeschooled his entire life and graduated from homeschooling. Joshua then went on to test out of his entire college degree (BA in history) except for two classes for which there were no tests available. Joshua works with his mom writing curriculum and teaching writing classes to homeschoolers. Additionally, he is an editor for his family’s small press publisher, Training for Triumph. Besides teaching writing classes, Joshua also teaches speech, debate, US history, government, economics, literature, apologetics, world history, and more. Joshua is married to a young lady who was also homeschooled her entire life, and they make their home in Bluffton, Indiana.

Twelve Daily Habits for 2012—All Twelve Habits Together

                                    “Twelve Daily Habits for 2012”


                                          (reprint [in part] from 2008)






With the upcoming new year, I want to share a series of posts about daily disciplines. I found out that in order for my children to develop good daily habits, I must first develop them. (Shock, shock!)


In 2008, I wrote an article entitled, “Eight Daily Habits for 2008. Now I want to revisit that with “Twelve Daily Habits for 2012”—twelve things that I try to do most days to have good days in my home, personally, in my work, and with my family. And yes, as I develop discipline and self control to carry out the “dailies” that I know I need to do, my children follow my lead and instruction to carry out theirs much better as well—because my kids’ good character begins with my good character.


P.S. If these habits appeal to you but are far from your grasp, consider adopting one habit per month—by the end of the year you will have developed twelve daily habits that will truly affect how smoothly your day, your family, and your home operate.




                                                      Habit #1: Rise With the Lord
When people used to tell me this, I, of course (being the big thinker that I am), envisioned an hour in the early morning hours, in a prayer closet uninterrupted, worshipping, praying, and reading the Word. Because that could never happen in my life (and I can give you eight good reasons why it never did!), I never truly felt like I was ever “rising with the Lord.”


Then, I happened upon some verses that I could really sink my teeth into–meeting God in the night watches (perfect for us insomniacs!); God giving me a song in the night; etc. I might not be up at the crack of dawn, but I was often up throughout the night–those night watches and songs in the night were perfect for me!


Now that I am, well, maturing, I can’t stay up quite as late as I used to, but I still pray at night that God will give me a song in the night and that I will wake up with that song. And when I consistently do this, I do wake up with a song in my heart, a song that God gave me in the night. Many days, before I even open my eyes, my mind will start reciting words to a song: “Lord, you are more precious than silver”; “Be thou my vision”; “Cast me not away from your presence, Oh, Lord”; and much more. I am rising with the Lord! He is giving me a song in the night, and I am waking up with His song on my lips.


What does rising with the Lord mean to you? It could mean waking up and reading the Bible or a devotional before you do anything else. It might mean a prayer time before you start your day. However God leads you to rise with Him, make it a daily habit! Do not make it so elaborate (an hour in the Word and an hour in prayer!) that you cannot continue it your entire life, but do make it meaningful enough to have an effect on your day (which should be the result of any encounter with God).






                             Habit #2: Do Not Go to Sleep Without Making a Place for God


“I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I found out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob” (Psalm 132: 4 & 5).


Many years ago I found myself reciting a certain verse over and over to myself: “I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I found out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob” (Psalm 132: 4 & 5). I taught it to the children and then made it into a song that my girls and I enjoyed singing for some time (and I still do today!):




“I will not (I will not) close my eyes (close my eyes);


I will not (I will not) slumber (slumber).


Til I’ve made a place (’til I’ve made a place)…


For the God of Jacob (for the God of Jacob)


‘Til I’ve made a place (’til I’ve made a place)


For my Lord (for my Lord).


Til I’ve made a place (’til I’ve made a place)…


For the God of Jacob (for the God of Jacob)


‘Til I’ve made a place (’til I’ve made a place)


For my Lord.”




Jacob was just a toddler at that time, and he, of course, thought we were singing about him–and often asked for the “Jakie song.” However, for me, it became a nightly prayer/song. No matter what my day held; no matter how busy and hectic it was; no matter how I felt about this or that–I was telling the Lord that I would not go to sleep until I had cleared my mind and heart for Him.


I have had different Bible and devotional reading habits through the years, including reading to and with the kids most days, but regardless of my reading routines, this song/verse calms me and reminds me to stop what I am doing and make room for the most important thing—the Lord living within me.

How can you make room for the Lord everyday/every night? Some may feel that they are creating a place for God if they study the Bible before bed. Others might feel that they are clearing a path for him through family prayer or praying with your spouse. Regardless of what you do, do not close your eyes; do not slumber…until you’ve made a place for the Lord.






                           Habit #3: Start Your Family’s Day With God’s Word


When we start the day out with our children and God’s Word, we are telling them that the Bible is the most important book to study and its truths are the most important knowledge to obtain. We decided nearly two dozen years ago that we would not teach academic subjects without teaching the Bible–and that it would be first. If we had time for the other subjects, great. If not, at least we had done the most important subject.


We have taught the Bible and character dozens of ways. There is no one “right way.” Ray’s favorite way is to open the Bible, read it together, and discuss it. He also enjoys “discipleship teaching”—just teaching while he and the boys are talking. (When the boys were little, they called this “Daddy talks.”) They work together in our print center a lot, so they like to discuss life then—and when he discusses life, it always eventually goes back to living a life for God. He also loves to teach them while we’re driving down the road (what Bible verse does that cloud make you think of?) or while they are doing “driver’s education”—great time to talk about selflessness, attentiveness, etc.!


I personally like using “programs”–reading from creation science books, character based books (like IBLP’s Character Sketches), Bible story books for younger children (like our favorite, Family Bible Library), character booklets and other devotional type booklets, etc. Ray has read through “The Picture Bible” with each child when each little one was between the ages of four and six. I read through the entire Family Bible Library with each child around that same time.


We also enjoy reading devotional materials together: discipleship books, names of God books, Bible handbooks, and other “daily devotionals.” (One of my many fond memories of teaching “Bible” and “character” to the children is twenty years ago when the three oldest kids would eat breakfast at their “little table” every morning, and I would sit at the end of the table and read to them from our devotional as they ate. Oh, sweet, sweet days!)


If this habit has eluded you in the past, just pick up a devotional or other “daily” type book (even if it is just a few paragraphs in length for each entry), and read it at breakfast every morning. That will get the ball rolling. From that will likely spring discussions and applications galore as you build those truths and principles into your children’s lives.










                         Habit #4: Tie Heart Strings With Your Children Each Day


“Our daily input into our three young adult daughters’ lives is like a continual healing balm to them.”


We can get so caught up in work, teaching, outside demands, and physical needs (feeding and clothing) that we overlook one of the most important things that we should do each day–tie heart strings with our children. Most parents have their children’s attention for eighteen years. Those are years that we can invest in them spiritually and build relationships with them.


It is so easy to get to the end of the day and discover that we have not squeezed our special squeeze, winked our special wink, or hugged our special hug. This is especially true as our children get older and no longer cuddle in our chair with us or have “rockies.”


In addition to the physical closeness that our children need, they also need our verbal affirmation and communication. Ray’s and my daily input into our three young adult daughters’ lives (ages seventeen, twenty, and twenty-one at the time of this original article in 2008) is like a continual healing balm to them. Two of them are heavily involved in demanding ministries–to the disabled and to the Spanish community (no English spoken!). One of them is searching for her place and working hard to prepare for her future. They need to connect with us. They need for us to tell them that we are proud of them and that we support their endeavors. They need for us to hurt with them when they are hurting. They need for us to say, “So, tell me about your day,” and “Give me details!”


Tying daily heart strings is more difficult than simply reading a morning devotional or being sure the laundry is done each day. It isn’t usually in the schedule. It is needed at the most inopportune times. The more you give, the more they seem to need. But it is essential. Our children need to have their heart strings tied to ours so that when the storms of life roll, they will have a safe haven of love and understanding—“Jesus” with arms and words of encouragement on this earth.


If you find that each day ends with no heart strings tied, try this little tip: In the corner of each day on your planner, put a little square. At the end of each day, write the initials of the child that you connected with that day in that little square. Purpose not to end a day without being able to write one sweet child’s initials in a daily square. Each week you can look back over your planner and see who missed out that week. (You know, the squeakiest wheel gets the grease!) Then next week, you will know who needs focused on more.

Or try this tip that I did for years and years when our older children were younger: have a “day” for each child. We milked this day for all it was worth. It was the child’s day to help me with dinner (or fix it herself as she got older); it was the child’s day to do extra chores; it was the child’s day to help teach some of the preschooler’s school. But it was also his day to pick two books for story time, sit in the front seat of the van if we went somewhere, and sit closest to Mom during read alouds. Heart-wise (and often unbeknownst to the child), it was his day to get a longer blessing during blessing time, to have a longer time with Dad at bedtime, and to get extra attention from Mom throughout the day. This is especially helpful for families with several children. Each child needs a day! 🙂


If you only do two things off my “twelve habits,” do Bible/character with your kids and tie heart strings every day. You can always get more organized, exercise, and work on projects later—your kids will be grown someday and these two things are not going to be on your “to do” list for forever.






         Habit #5: Get Completely Ready for the Day (Even If You’re Not Going Anywhere!)




Years ago, when my older children were younger, I seldom “fancied up” unless I was going somewhere. I often put on sweats, took my walk, then showered and put another pair of sweats on. I figured that if nobody was going to see me except the kids and Ray, I may as well use that time for something else. I hated spending time getting “fixed up” when I could be getting something done off my list (efficiency expert gone wild here!).


Then I became good friends with some gals who always seemed “fixed up.” They always looked great no matter whether I dropped in unexpectedly or saw them at the skating rink. And I decided that my family deserved more than ponytails and sweatpants.


Flylady (a self-help, organizing, cleaning guru online who helps thousands of women get control of their daily lives) sends out a daily email reminder early each morning that reads, “Dress down to your shoes.” Her premise is that if you get completely ready for the day (as though you are going somewhere), you will feel more professional and serious about what you do each day. Also, if you do it first thing (or at least right after reading or exercising), you will be more energized to attack the tasks at hand.


Now that Ray and I dance for exercise after work some days, I don’t just have to get ready down to my shoes; I actually have to get “dressed up” (well, somewhat dressed up). The studio where we dance has an unwritten “no jeans and no sweats” policy. But you know what? I like it. I have come to enjoy not being dowdy all the time! I don’t panic if someone pulls in the driveway. If I have to run a quick, unexpected errand, I don’t have to make excuses for my appearance to everyone I see.


Whether you get “fancy” each day or simply get completely ready for your day and presentable, if you are a work-at-home mom, homeschooler, or housewife with littles, I think you will enjoy it too. I feel so much better coming out to teach the kids and manage the home with myself pulled together. Besides my family deserves to have a happy, glowing mommy–and wife! Smile….








                                              Habit #6: Read Aloud to Your Kids


We have read aloud to our kids for years and years. When our older childen were little, they would get read to by me or Ray (through Bible, unit studies, devotions, and story time) three to five hours every day. Now neither of us has time to read aloud that much with the kids (and I admit I use talking books to substitute for me quite often!), but we still enjoy reading to and with the kids every day.


You have heard it all before–if you want to raise readers, you have to read to them. Children who are read to daily are x times more likely to become readers themselves, etc. etc. Guilt trip aside, we have found that reading has built a strong educational foundation–and tied heart strings at the same time. We have so many memories of “Jack, Max, and Axle at the Acme Painting Company” and “Morris learning to count,” as well as inspiring devotional materials and awesome creation science books. And, yes, we have raised several readers. Even the ones who do not read lengthy pieces of literature love to read the Bible and inspirational materials. And we all still love gathering with a stack of Christmas books in December for long evenings of reading aloud.


Again, think baby steps. Just read from a Christian adventure chapter book every night towards the end of dinner. Or read two stories to the littles before naptime. Or stick a book of short stories in the van and read aloud while Dad drives. You don’t have to read three to five hours a day. And you don’t have to read certain books. Just enjoy reading and learning together.






               Habit #7: Do Daily Chores Every Day Even If You Do Not Get to Anything Else

Nearly twenty-five years ago we started the habit of doing the most important chores first thing each day. We might read together; then some will go do devotions while others exercise, but before we “hit the books” for the day, we do the most important daily chores for that day. For us, this means getting something started (or figured out) for the evening meal, doing a load of laundry (and starting another one), unloading and reloading the dishwasher, gathering all of the trash throughout the house and taking it out (and replacing trash bags), being sure the kitchen sink is empty and wiped out, making the beds (okay, well Mom and Dad’s bed anyway—since it is downstairs and doubles as the “den”), putting away anything that is out from the night before, and wiping down the bathrooms/scrubbing toilets.


About twenty years ago, we lived in a home with a full basement, and our schoolroom was downstairs. One morning we went down to do Bible and character reading together, and then I gave everyone assignments to go upstairs and do chores. One of the kids mentioned that it would sure be a lot easier if just did our schoolwork (sessions with Mom) right after Bible then went upstairs and did chores. I almost agreed, but told the kids, “No, we want to come down to do school meetings with a clean upstairs and all of the daily work done.”


Well, when we came upstairs to do our jobs, we smelled something burning–and our attic was on fire. We had just moved into that house, a rental, so we didn’t have smoke detectors up yet, so if we had stayed downstairs, we might not have discovered the fire until it was too late (especially as long as it took me to get through several elementary children’s school meetings every morning!). We called the fire department and got out of the house before any damage was done to anything except the attic. And I was quick to tell the kids that it pays to do chores first thing in the morning!


One thing about important (i.e. no clothes to wear or dishes to eat on if they are skipped!) “daily” chores that has helped me immensely in raising a large family with several children in homeschool at one time is to think of dishes and laundry the same as brushing my teeth. I never brush my teeth fewer than two times a day…and we never do dishes or laundry fewer than two times a day. Saving dishes for later and accumulating large amounts of laundry always depressed me. I cannot function in school, writing, and other household tasks with undone dishes and undone laundry (that I or someone else will have to face when all of our other work for the day is finished).


If daily chores are keeping you from doing the most important things each day, start with this one: a daily chore time for twenty minutes or so each morning in which each person has a list of tasks in order to conquer those “dailies” that keep getting in your way. If you have two, three, (or in our case, six!) people doing daily chores every morning, those ongoing, never-quite-finished tasks will not seem so big. (Note: If both parents work outside the home and the children go to school, I recommend a “cleaning up dinner chore time” in which everybody pitches in for ten to twenty minutes and does different tasks around the house–some clean the meal; some do laundry; etc.)






                                      Habit #8: Read Something Just for You Every Day


Parents are busy people! And last on the list of “to do’s” in our lives is often anything that is “for us.” However, it might behoove us to look at some of those things that we do “for us” as not being just “for us” after all. Reading for yourself each day could just be one of those things.


I’ve been a big reader all throughout my parenting years—parenting books, homeschooling magazines and catalogs, devotional materials, and discipleship books are staples that I have pored over through the years. However, a few years ago, I realized that I was seldom picking these things up anymore. I would stack them on my headboard or desk, look at them longingly, remember the days of long naps for the kids and my “lunch and reading time,” but not really get to them.


In the past few years, I have gotten better about going back to my own reading. But in 2012, I want to make it even more of a priority. Not just Bible and character in the morning with the kids, not just reading stories to Jakie, not just a chapter book with my guys, not just a family devotional at the dinner table—but my “Trusting God” by Jerry Bridges and my “Grammar Girl Devotional” and my “Writing Handbook” and my “Raising Kids for True Greatness” and on and on. Just for me…because in the long run, reading for me is not really just reading for me.






                                    Habit #9: Exercise a Little Every Day

If you have read Positive Parenting long, you have probably heard me say that I am an “all or nothing type of person.” This mindset can be either really great or absolutely horrible. It is really great when I have the time and energy to put “all” into something and come out with something wonderful because I gave it my all. It’s absolutely horrible when I can’t do “all” of something, so I do nothing. Exercise and I have definitely had that all or nothing relationship through the years.


I either walked 90-120 minutes a day, did “Abs With Denise” every night, and lost eighty pounds. Or I did nothing and gained eighty pounds. Definitely all or nothing.


As I have found with most things in my life, the older I get, the more balance I achieve—and exercise is finally coming into balance for me. No more all or nothing. If I can do ten minutes of arms and stomach a day, I do that. If I can ballroom dance for two hours one day, I do that. If I can take a long walk with one of the kids, I go for it. If we can play basketball in the driveway for thirty minutes, pass me the ball.


With this “new” approach to exercise, I will probably never be a size six again…but I will never be a size twenty-four again either! I am healthier than I have been since my “exercise mania days” (which turned out to be not so healthy when coupled with starvation diets!). And definitely healthier than my size twenty-four days.


So…do you want to join me in the coming year? Exercise a little everyday—ten, twenty, thirty, sixty, or 120 minutes. Because a little bit all the time is better than a lot very infrequently.


                                   Habit #10: Work on a Big Project Every Day


In the last post’s exercise confession, I described how I am an “all or nothing type of person.” This, as I stated earlier, can be a real boon or a real detriment.


I have always believed in the concept of “do a little bit of a big project everyday,” but, as is true with all really good things, it is not enough to believe it, you have to do it. And that’s where I break down a little.


Oh, I’ve had varying degrees of success with it—and have always loved the outcome of that success. Many years ago, I made a commitment to write curriculum a few days each week—a little at a time. And thirty thousand pages later (they are not *all* text; some are student “worktexts” with lines for the kids to fill in), I know that “write most days” really worked.


I learned a dozen years ago that organizing experts say that you can maintain an organizational system in twenty minutes per day of maintenance. We have applied this to most of our home’s organizational systems and kept things flowing despite full time jobs, homeschooling, and starting a business/family ministry. A little every day keeps things moving on bigger projects in the same way that a few “dailies” each day keep things moving on a day-by-day basis.


I even taught my kids to do this. I can remember our third child, who is now a disability ministry director and gets tons done every day, announcing near the beginning of high school, that no matter what her days held, she was going to do ten minutes of each subject every school day. Obviously, most subjects required more than that, but her thinking (and it is great thinking) was that if she got out each subject for ten minutes every day, regardless of whether she was working that day or going on a field trip, etc., she would make her way through everything by the end of the year. And it worked.


Two years ago I set out on a “do a little bit of a big project everyday” as I started Positive Parenting 3*6*5 and committed to write a post every day—365 days in a row, as much as possible. I ended that on December 30th with success—365 parenting blog posts.


I was inspired again to apply this approach to some big projects I am working on right now by the “Git It Done Guy” (http://www.steverrobbins.com/the-book/ and on FB: http://www.facebook.com/GetItDoneGuy?ref=ts&sk=wall ). This internet self-help guru described how he broke down a big project (an upcoming book) into twenty minute increments every day. I am doing the same this year with my outlines and presentation materials, as well as with our parenting blog and our Language Lady blog.

Truly, to “git ‘it done,” you just have to do it….a little bit at a time.






                                            Habit #11: Do Something for Yourself


This habit is definitely a new one for me. However, in the past year, I have lost forty pounds, forty inches, and three sizes—by doing something for myself each day. Exercise, face exercises, skin brushing, moisturizing, “anti-wrinkle” cream application, and more have been added into this busy mamma’s schedule that formerly contained washing my hair, face, and body with the same Suave shampoo that my husband uses. (I’m not a real picky person—with seven children, you either become flexible and don’t freak out over not having everything “just so”—or you make everybody around you miserable—and I have always chosen the former.)


At first, I could barely write the shortened form of my new “something for myself daily habit”—SC—and that doesn’t stand for South Carolina, but rather for “Self Care,” something I decided that I would really try to do over the past several months. It felt so, well, self-focused and self-absorbed. I mean, people are waiting on their new language arts books, my kids need their mom during the fifteen minutes I was standing in front of the mirror attempting to make wrinkles disappear, and I could be writing another book with that time!


However, I succumbed to the SC regiment—and I’m kind of liking it. Oh, I don’t do all of my “Self Care” tasks every day—and some days I fall into bed without even one SC done. But taking the time for these extras is starting to pay off—and I really love the new clothes I am fitting into! 




Habit #12: Kiss Your Spouse for at Least 15 Seconds and Hug for at Least 30 Seconds

“It isn’t, of course, the magic of kissing for fifteen seconds or hugging for thirty seconds that makes this a good daily habit. It is the fact that a fifteen second kiss is more than a peck, and a thirty second hug is more than a passing squeeze. The “time minimums” force us to stick around a little bit, stop what we’re doing, and be close to the one we love.”


This is a new “rule” for us (as of the 2008 original article)! Don’t blush…you know that you function better in all areas when you have kissed and hugged enough! My brother-in-law, a much cooler, younger person than Ray or I, came home (along with my sister and their kids) this summer to visit following a marriage retreat that they had attended. When anything got stressful for my sister, he would say (as only Uncle Leonard can), “Come here, honey. You know we didn’t have our kissing and hugging yet. That’s probably what’s wrong.” What a sweet husband!


Leonard was just stressing something that all of us married parents need to emphasize: romance, including kissing and hugging, can help alleviate stress! Our kids thought our elevator kissing was unbearable already, without enduring it for a full fifteen seconds! But you know what? They secretly like it. 🙂


It isn’t, of course, the magic of kissing for fifteen seconds or hugging for thirty seconds that makes this a good daily habit. It is the fact that a fifteen second kiss is more than a peck, and a thirty second hug is more than a passing squeeze. The “time minimums” force us to stick around a little bit, stop what we’re doing, and be close to the one we love. Maybe there won’t always be time for romance, hearts, flowers, and rainbows, but our marriage is the most important (and longest!) relationship we have on this earth. We need to protect it, nurture it, and shower it with kisses and hugs.






So….there you have it. Twelve daily habits* that make a huge difference in my home, life, and school. I did want to add that “daily habits,” for us, has always meant “more often than not.” We do not beat ourselves up trying to achieve perfection. We have found through the years that if we can do those important things four days a week at least (more often than not), we will succeed over the long haul. Of course, hugging and kissing has to be 365 days a year to make me truly successful in life. Smile…






***Parts of this article were written in 2008 under the title “Eight Daily Habits for ’08” and published in Training for Triumph’s homeschooling newsletter (as opposed to the “Twelve Daily Habits of ‘12” in this blog).

Twelve Daily Habits for 2012–Habit #12: Kiss Your Spouse for at Least 15 Seconds and Hug for at Least 30 Seconds

Habit #12: Kiss Your Spouse for at Least 15 Seconds and Hug for at Least 30 Seconds


“It isn’t, of course, the magic of kissing for fifteen seconds or hugging for thirty seconds that makes this a good daily habit. It is the fact that a fifteen second kiss is more than a peck, and a thirty second hug is more than a passing squeeze. The “time minimums” force us to stick around a little bit, stop what we’re doing, and be close to the one we love.”


This is a new “rule” for us (as of the 2008 original article)! Don’t blush…you know that you function better in all areas when you have kissed and hugged enough! My brother-in-law, a much cooler, younger person than Ray or I, came home (along with my sister and their kids) this summer to visit following a marriage retreat that they had attended. When anything got stressful for my sister, he would say (as only Uncle Leonard can), “Come here, honey. You know we didn’t have our kissing and hugging yet. That’s probably what’s wrong.” What a sweet husband!


Leonard was just stressing something that all of us married parents need to emphasize: romance, including kissing and hugging, can help alleviate stress! Our kids thought our elevator kissing was unbearable already, without enduring it for a full fifteen seconds! But you know what? They secretly like it. 🙂


It isn’t, of course, the magic of kissing for fifteen seconds or hugging for thirty seconds that makes this a good daily habit. It is the fact that a fifteen second kiss is more than a peck, and a thirty second hug is more than a passing squeeze. The “time minimums” force us to stick around a little bit, stop what we’re doing, and be close to the one we love. Maybe there won’t always be time for romance, hearts, flowers, and rainbows, but our marriage is the most important (and longest!) relationship we have on this earth. We need to protect it, nurture it, and shower it with kisses and hugs.


So….there you have it. Twelve daily habits* that make a huge difference in my home, life, and school. I did want to add that “daily habits,” for us, has always meant “more often than not.” We do not beat ourselves up trying to achieve perfection. We have found through the years that if we can do those important things four days a week at least (more often than not), we will succeed over the long haul. Of course, hugging and kissing has to be 365 days a year to make me truly successful in life. Smile…

“To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet (first American poet)

I love the “to my husband” poem written by the first American poet, Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672). It is a poem that she wrote to her husband that I would like to share with readers today on my and Ray’s thirtieth wedding anniversary.

To My Dear and Loving Husband

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more tham whole Mines of gold,
Or al the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee maniforld, I pray.
Then while we live, in love lets so prsever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.