Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bass Lake

Bass Lake Triathlon 2011


For fifty years our family has met every year at Bass Lake for a family reunion…there are now close to 150 people that come every year – we camp in tents all together in a huge campsite next to the lake. There is magic everywhere…a missionary fireside where returning and outgoing missionaries report…a devotional every night…talent night…family dance night….game night…song night….a family triathlon….trips up the falls and to Yosemite…. “noodlesizing” for all the aunts….diving off cliffs….every kind of boating craziness imaginable….

...but all of that is nothing compared to the real magic….it underlies it all and has great hidden powers….what happens to the cousins, as you watch them together…..that is where it is…..they bond in every way imaginable….during all their antics…but all through the week, they talk….around the campfire when most people are in bed…on Sunday…when no one is allowed to do any water play…we all go to the local church together…then lay around on blankets all day – just talking….reading scriptures… having a special Sabbath fireside with hymns and

devotionals…..the cousins all squish together in a big mass across the sleeping bags where they all sleep together near the lake….and they each become empowered as they share together all that they are… and testimonies are naturally borne in so many undetectable ways…. The cousins know all about what happens….because they have seen what it has done over the years for them…they call it “Cousin Power” …and they talk about needing to get to Bass Lake to get the cousin power back in their life…they all go away fortified from the examples and strengths that they each have….because there are so many and they are all strong in some ways and weaker in others….the sharing makes it so they go away strong and healthy spiritually, ready to take on the new year…. And they never want to disappoint each other… they call each other on anything they think needs correcting…modesty…speech….ideas…. and it all seems to get figured out by the time they are finished with each other at the end of the week…it is like this flow of endless love swarming them the whole time they are together…and my very favorite thing about the whole experience is when I look over at the huge spread of cousins in sleeping bags, all squished together at night….and I see all these little tiny lights all throughout the area they are settled in for the night….they each have a flashlight on and they are reading their scriptures before they go to bed… imagine the effect of all those young people…watching each other do this….even my youngest, when he was two, was thrown in with the group…all ages are there….all those lights… makes my heart sing..and in the morning they are tromping all over their books and lights and it is all big mess.. but just seeing all those Book of Mormons getting “camped on” makes me so happy…..

I once came into my camping area really late at night after everyone was asleep – even the cousins…and there was one of my nephews, at my table, reading his scriptures….so beautiful…..and I noticed this one nephew…would always wait until everyone would leave the campfire….and then he would stay with this one cousin who needed help spiritually – it seemed like everyone, one by one, just went to bed and they just happened to be the only ones left..but I knew what this nephew was doing…. And I told him that I noticed…. And he told me of his concern for her…. things like this…. Part of that underground magic….I don’t believe any other type of reunion can accomplish what camping all together does…not even in separate campsites…can accomplish this …if you have hotel rooms – you separate and come together here and there…. And when you are camping….and it has to be in tents…what happens is-- no one wants to stay in a tent all day…so everyone is out all the time…and so you are together all the time…wandering between each others lives…constantly….it is so beautiful….I am so grateful for this tradition and for what “Cousin Power” has done for my children….I know we don’t always like to deal with statistics when we talk about the power of love and tradition….but out of the 39 grandchildren that my parents have….every young man and most of the young women served missions… all that are married have married in the temple…. all have stayed true to the Lord… my Mother’s patriarchal blessing it said that the work she would do on the earth for her posterity would be monumental….I see her 39 grandchildren as that monument….and I know Cousin Power helped create that monument.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Who's Child is This?

My Daughter Cubbie

When I was a new, young mother, I listened to all my friends’ advice and read every book I could find about how to raise a child. My mind was so filled with what other people had to say, that I lost confidence in myself and felt paralyzed. I went to my husband with my dilemma and he asked me who it was that the Lord gave this child to. He said, “He didn’t give your child to Connie or Beth or Susan…He gave this child to you…so he trusts you, not them, to be able to mother your child.” I felt the spirit confirm that the words he spoke were true and something happened inside me at that moment…freedom! …I felt free to explore my own heart, mind and soul for the answers to how to raise my child. Since each child is so unique, it has been a blessing to realize that you can trust what you feel inside, as the source to determine the right thing for your child ….. the Lord gave the child to you….he trusts YOU to raise this child.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

How Does She Know


How does she know when to rock through the night

Somehow aware of a fear or a fright

Nothing is seen, nothing is heard

But deep within a mother heart stirred

How does she know when a new babe is born

The melting of souls is what creates the adorn

That beholding the glow from God’s new design

Will brighten the recall in remembrance divine

How does she know that her shoulder would shield

Innocent eyes as the world around reeled

A place for retreat from images new

Wondering becomes learning…why the sky’s blue

How does she know music’s soft waves

While holding her babe, will quell the raves

The motion in dancing with music combined

Will calm troubled waters and sweet respite find

How does she know revealing the sea

To a young child’s mind will bring ultimate glee

That splashing and laughing in white swirling foam

Will cause a young heart feel closer to Home

How does she know when a child cuts a finger

Her outpouring of love is all that will linger

That patching a hurt is such a small part

In the healing of tears and a broken heart

How does she know that the breaking and crashing

Are just “signs of life” of playful child dashing

Full speed ahead, wrestling and racing

Young ones all struggling to keep with the pacing

How does she know the ache of no-bearing

After full, fruitful years will not faze the caring

The eternal deep yearning of a mother heart

Though bound by mortality will never part

How does she know soft melodies at night

Will melt away worry, setting all aright

That stroking soft hair will calm all the fears

Bringing blessed sleep that will quiet the tears

How does she know that painting with butter

swimming in milk or blasting through shutters

walking in honey, flinging applesauce on walls

Is bright curiosity that will help them grow tall

How does she know the child is God’s gift

That within her breathes all that’s required to lift

The pathway to Home written in both their souls

A sacred imprint….through ages rolls

She knows because deep within her lies

A sacred trust with divine ties

A preexistent promise made long ago

Emblazoned bright quest, burned into her soul.

Written by Karen Nelson

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who Has the History?

My Grandchildren


When a parent makes a decision for a child, or counsels a child, they are coming to that moment with HUGE history behind them. They have been with their child since the time they were born, watched them all throughout their life… loved them, cried over them, laughed with them, spent time with them, prayed over them, dealt with them, worked with them….. there is absolutely no one else on earth in a better position than they are, to make a decision or give guidance… We should trust parental guidance and decision… the yearning and praying and love cannot be measured … and it all comes into play at the moment of decision and counsel...

Sammy and Luke


To illustrate why “Who has the history?” works….a while ago, while on vacation with two daughters, my son-in-law, my three grandchildren and my ten-year-old son – I decided to take the four little boys to the park – as soon as we left the hotel room I heard and saw explosive signs of physical and emotional distress…. Another way of saying this is – loud screaming and enthusiastic fighting…..I stepped inside the room and told their parents that I had no idea what happened and no idea how to handle what happened….they immediately said, “Oh, he just stole his invisible stars.” The parents immediately knew what to do as their passion escalated…and we all tried to hide our laughter….I thought…imagine if I had tried to handle what happened…there is no way I would have ever guessed that one of the boys had stolen the other one’s invisible stars….but they knew immediately and knew immediately how to handle it….because they “had the history.”


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

There's Always a Story

Whenever you are quick to make a judgment about what someone is doing that you cannot figure out…remember… “there is always a story.” When you stop and find out what caused someone to do what they did, compassion replaces judgment and anger. I heard a story told by a religious leader in our church, that caused him to ponder the reality of this idea. He was in his car and accidentally bumped, barely, the backend of someone’s car. He was surprised when the man got out of his car and unleashed every foul word imaginable upon him. The next Sunday, he was also surprised to see this man in the congregation where he was about to give a talk. After the meeting, the man came up to apologize for his outrageous behavior.... and then continued to explain that at the time his car was bumped, he was just in the middle of trying to figure out how to tell his children, when he got home, that their mother had just died. When his car was bumped, it was the last straw for him, and therefore, the unleashing…… when the “story” was revealed behind the man’s actions, understanding and compassion replaced all the initial surprise. “There is always, always a story.” Take time to listen to it, first. God told us to leave all judgment to him….when I think about why he asked us to do this…I think of all the stories behind why I do things, my children do things…all people….and even if we try to figure out their stories, we really don’t know anyone’s “real” story….God alone knows our true history…letting go of judging from our limited perspective is so liberating… and realizing that we are all in the hands of God, thankfully, allows us to let go and love, just love, without judgment…and the stories of people’s lives can be allowed to be written more beautifully, with our love supporting them, without interference.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

a philosophy of life


Life is a choice. You can pull the blinds down and stay inside and hope nothing bad happens to you…. or you can open the blinds and go out and “live” your life. You can decide to not have children because something might cause them to be defective at birth, or because they may get in an accident, or because they may go astray and cause you and them heartache…….or….. you can jump in and love life….go through all the joys and trials life has to offer. “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” is a true principle. Loving is winning. Choosing to live in fear is to not live at all. Run in the wind, don’t hide in the dark. With the Lord by your side while you are “living,” you will always end up in the light.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Through the Mirrors of Time

In honor of "all" the women in our lives, I wrote this poem...


One early morning before day dawn break

And scarcely before completely awake

She found herself sitting arrayed all in white

In a sacred room filled with crystal light

She looked at the mirrors that brought time together

And basked in eternity – in her visual forever

And pondering upon all the souls gone and forward

She felt a deep stirring and knew she had heard

A voice that speaks soundless – the language of soul

That taught her of lives that exacted a toll

That all she was and would hope to be

Was brought through the mirror – the lives she could see

Of those who had struggled and cried and stretched

Whose brilliant life stories were carefully etched?

They came in bright glory, one by one

Women of light, the sung and unsung

Each precious story – each life profound

All built a foundation – pure and sound

For the next to come forward – for her day in the sun

For her day to laugh, cry – give birth and run

Run in the wind, splash in the waves

Warm by the fire – and earnestly pave

A new path to follow for wondering eyes

That search through the soul to determine the prize

What are the gifts she will bring - they ask

What are the treasures – to aid in the task

Of finding the way through the maze of life

That will take her through – both the joy and the strife

And each valiant woman who taught their heart

Taught them to choose the better part

To stand tall, full straight, not bent by life’s tears

Full of pure faith, not bent by the years

Becoming all they were destined to be

Opening hope for the each to see………………….

And then it all closed and the souls in mind’s light

All vanished and left her alone in the might

The might of the gift she was given through mirrors

That faced one another with her as the seer

She stood in the middle looking backward and forward

And blessed all the lives, now infinitely dearer

Of those who behind her stood strong in the wind

And those ahead – whose lives are not penned

The life they will write with music and song

With words that will then help others along

And then as she stood there – a truth stepped out forward

And planted its message without a word

Just knowledge – pure, precious, plain, penetrating

Suddenly, completely a part of her being

She knew the forever – of backward and forward

Were hers to own, to enjoy and to measure

She had the choice to honor the gifts

Of those from before – whose choices were lifts

From one to another….and now they held out

Their steady hands – banishing doubt

So with faith and trusting – she held their hands tight

And with the other, reached into the night

To pull those unborn through the curtain of light

And give of her gifts made golden and bright

Gifts of pure wisdom, gifts of pure faith

Gifts of the heart, gifts in clear lace

That only can come and go from a mirror

That faces another and brings loved ones nearer

And basking between forever and ever

She stood all amazed in a time-honored treasure

Packed solidly, firmly in the sinew of soul

That is shared through reflection as the ages roll.

Written by Karen Nelson

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Good But Not Good Enough...

Cell phones, I Phones, texting, email, facebook, twitter, blogging…technology has connected us in so many wonderful ways we could never have imagined even a few short years ago. We have found lost friends, made new friends and shared our lives with people around the world. The ways our lives have been enriched and expanded are immeasurable. It is all very, very good –in fact it is greater than great.

It is still, however, not good enough.

I have had a philosophy of life that is a subset to Circle Living. It is called “sideways” living. We often find ourselves sideways – sitting in a car, in a movie, at church, at school, on a subway, bus, airplane, etc. These are inevitable necessities…they are our necessary reality.

This is definitely not good enough.

Because of the “wonderful” and because of the “necessary” we must always be looking for opportunities to get in front of one another….

I always tell my husband, when we go out on dates, that at some point in the evening, I need to sit across from him and talk to his eyes. (I am also endlessly badgering people to remove their sunglasses when speaking with another person because it completely blacks out the only window we have to look through.)

We need real live people in our lives to make ultimate connections. I stood in front of my mirror, at midnight, recently, and said, “Karen you have lived here an entire year and you have not made one friend”…..lots of friends…. but not people I regularly spent time with. I had been busy with endless family connections but the friend “place” in my heart was feeling vacant. So the next day I called someone up, who had invited me to walk with them, and told her I was going to be one of their new “walking, talking ladies.” It was like magic. Real people friends were in my life, and even though we were doing a lot of “sideways” talking, we would also, at times, stop and talk with our eyes.

You can see why I am so excited to find the women who stand in the mirror at midnight and wonder what is missing. They are all of us. Many of you are involved, already, in Circles that have become immensely valuable to you, or even your lifeline. You are in book clubs or other regularly scheduled events that bring you together. When I talk to women who are involved in Circle Living, they express how important it is to their life and that they “wouldn’t miss it for anything!”

I was walking/talking with my new friend the other day and she began describing a “circle” she had been a part of for years. As she proceeded to speak, I became so excited about what she was telling me because it is a perfect example of what can be achieved by women gathering together to participate in “better than good” and “better than great.” I gave her an assignment to write about what she was telling me, this assignment is included below...

Women's Forum:

words from Peggy Hodson

Thirteen years ago, I was asked by the mother of one of my daughter’s friends to join a book club she was starting. She had contacted an eclectic group of women she knew from different areas in her life with whom she wanted to connect on a monthly basis. She decided a book club was a fun reason to get together and share ideas and lunch once a month. I had just had my last baby (I was a few years younger than the rest of them) and told her I didn’t think I could keep up with being responsible for reading a book a month with a newborn and 4 older children; that she really didn’t want me taking up a space in the group and not contributing. She was insistent, and asked me to come to the lunch anyway. I didn’t know her that well, but had worked with her a little on some school activities with our kids and she seemed so understanding of my situation that I decided to take the baby and go to the lunch. (I think she was 2 months old at the time.) I did read the first book that month while I nursed the baby, but after that luncheon at a restaurant I don’t think we read much after that. She had assembled an amazing group of women who I thoroughly enjoyed meeting. After the first few meetings at a restaurant, we decided to meet at each other’s homes once a month and rotate hosting the lunch. Our homes were much more intimate and conducive to talking without the interruptions of a public restaurant. I began to really enjoy these women and looked forward to getting together each month. Besides that, I really liked cooking and entertaining people so I liked that idea.

I don’t think we read many more books as a book club. We had such interesting lives represented at the table (there were about 12 all together) that we evolved into a topic driven discussion group. We decided that each of us would bring a topic we were interested in to present to the group to share or to bring up as a matter of discussion for input by the rest of the group. This was also very interesting to me and I found that as the time went on, I was willing to get a sitter for my daughter as she grew older so that I did not miss these luncheons. I learned so much from these women who came from various backgrounds and had different talents and strengths.

After a few years, one month, when it was her turn to host, one of the women thought about all the time that we had been together sharing ideas, and realized that she really didn’t know each of us on a personal level. She wanted to know about each of our lives and what was important to us. So she decided to share her personal history and invited us all to take a month and do the same. That was when I was hooked. Hearing personal histories of interesting women and their philosophies of life took our relationships to a new level. We took about a year to go through each of our personal stories and by then we were connected on a more personal emotional level. We were friends.

Our lunches have gone from lasting an hour and a half to three now—and we could go longer if it weren’t for busy schedules. Since we started sharing our personal histories a few topics have been presented, but not many. Our rule in the meetings is that whatever is said in the meeting, stays in that meeting. No one is allowed to talk about anything personal that is shared between us outside of the lunch group. We have begun meeting at a regular private room in a restaurant so that no one is in charge of making lunch for everyone and we just put money in an account each year to pay for the lunches. It has become more about getting together, hearing each other’s news, sharing tips and ideas, and just and enjoying each other than anything else. Over the years a few of us have moved away and a few others have been added. We now do what we call “updates”--each of us takes ten minutes or so to give an update on whatever is going on in our lives and families. Because we are all mothers—that is our common denominator—our updates are mostly about what is going on in our personal lives and families. That is what we care about most. Among them are women who have built their own businesses, are doctors, ranchers, are involved in community or governmental leadership, work at cooking stores, ski shops, or are married to men who are leaders on some level. I am a mother of five who feels very fortunate to have benefitted from sharing a part of the lives of some wonderful human beings. We have taken trips together and some of us walk together for exercise in the mornings. Some who have moved away try to schedule visits to Santa Barbara to coincide with our meetings because they hate to miss. The time we have spent together has been well invested. I have learned valuable information from medical issues to business investments to the psychology of raising challenging children, and I think I have helped others of them with my life experience. I am so grateful that I made that effort in the early days to connect with these wonderful mothers who I now call my friends.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lit by Life

Me and my Five Oldest Children

photo by Anita Debney - England 1983

Today I want to share with you a poem I wrote entitled, "Lit by Life."


A child is born…a child dies
A soul is rescued…another cries
A song is sung in brightest tones
A melody lost in weep alone
A heart that soars on love’s sweet wings
A broken heart that cannot sing
The light, the dark…the ebb and flow
Brings the softness of a glow
Faintest glimmer held in hope
Shines e’er brighter in the grope
Combining in the end all light
The darkest black and lightest white
And gleaming, golden, through the fire
We mold our souls and all desire
To stand pure white in heaven’s gaze
From all our wandering through the maze
And in the mirror of our life
Recorded all our joys and strifes
Will through the mend then all turn bright
Through clear, transcendent, perfect sight… by Karen Nelson

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Art of Mending

Today I want to share with you a "Philosophy of Life" I have entitled, "The Art of Mending."

I was reading the book, “The Art of Mending,” by Elizabeth Berg, and came upon a paragraph that I have treasured ever since.

“My relatives still make fun of me for my love of things domestic, especially my Aunt Fran, who, whenever we visit, always tells me she’s saved her ironing and mending for me. Actually, I wouldn’t mind doing it. I like ironing. It’s the physical equivalent of staring into middle space. I think it waters the mind, if you know what I mean. As for mending, I think it’s good to take the time to fix something rather than throw it away. It’s an antidote to wastefulness and to the need for immediate gratification. You get to see the whole process through, beginning to end, nothing abstract about it. You’ll always notice the fabric scar, of course, but there’s an art to mending: if you’re careful, the repair can actually add to the beauty of the thing, because it is a testimony to its worth.”

I had an experience that made me understand this idea personally. I have a favorite painting that I found while we lived in Boston. It is easily over 100 years old and over the years has become all the more dear to me. One day someone was playing ball with our dog, near the painting. There was a candle burning on the table below it. The ball hit the candle and the wax sprayed all over the painting, the furniture and the wall behind the painting. I grabbed my painting and my daughter, who was standing in the other room, and dragged them both into my bedroom. In tears, I looked up into my daughter’s eyes and said, “Tell me it’s a thing, tell me it’s a thing.” She consoled me in her inspired way and we went on with the evening that involved a house full of relatives and friends. Later that night, around midnight, when everyone was asleep, I brought my painting out and laid it on the counter under the bright lights. I then worked, for hours, to lift the wax off my painting and the antique frame that surrounded it. Finally, I had done all that I could. I stood back and looked at it….it wasn’t the same…. But it was still beautiful, and in light of what I learned about “the art of mending,” it had become more beautiful, because now it had all the marks of my efforts to restore it, which was in the end, a “testimony to its worth.”…… and then I see the Lord, looking at His masterpiece -- beaten, battered and bruised by life ... and I see him working tirelessly in the garden, on a ultimate victory....His work and His glory...the wax is peeled away - and there we stand, glorious to behold - His grand testimony of our infinite worth.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Circles of Life

I am planning on adding to my "Circle Mothers" blog every day. I have a writer-friend who told me the secret to becoming a writer is to write something-anything every single day - even if it is a thankyou note. It is my hope that as I share my writings with you, you will write also and continue to compile all your thoughts, poems and ideas throughout your life, in whatever form you choose to record.

"Circles of Life" describes the ripple effect and power of the circle that I am hoping to create and "send forth."

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Beginning

I was approached by a chapter president of American Mothers, Inc., a national organization of 75 years, to accept a nomination for Mother of the Year for the State of California. I was requested to compile recommendation letters, write essays about my philosophies and submit a record of what I have done during my 36 years of mothering. At a special gala event, held in the Los Angeles area, in March, it was announced that I would represent California as Mother of the Year for the year 2011.

Dorothy Devore, Cherry Field, Me, Christine HoChing

I then went to a national convention, held in Salt Lake City, in April, where each state representative was commissioned to "make a difference." The keynote speaker, Sherri Dew, in our culminating event, encouraged us to use our own unique talents and interests to guide us in finding out what it was that we should do to make "that" difference. She told us to take seriously this opportunity to "change the world." We each had to give a 3-minute speech which I have included here.

Sherri Dew, Me, Holly Nelson (Daughter-in-law), Fred Nelson (Son)

Diane Calister (Mother of the Year 2010), Fred Nelson, Me

Me, Freddy

I have been pondering what it was I could do. After a long process of trying to match what "I do best" with "making a difference," I finally brought it all together to create something I am infinitely excited about. "Circle Mothers." I have championed the cause of "
circle living" versus "sideways living" for years. I have written talks, philosophies and essays on the power of the circle. Growing up with seven children, around an enormous round table, across which we regularly connected our lives, was where the fascination with its power began. I never knew, as a child, why I was so anxious and excited to come to the dinner table to share my “news” with my family and to hear that my brother got an “A” on his English paper. It was like a pizza – I could look across the table at each person. I could see their eyes and realized, over the years, that their eyes truly were the windows to their souls. I feel like what happened at the table – the words, the eyes – to understand and be understood – was bonding, valuable, building.
As I grew into girlhood and womanhood, I began to realize the importance of “girl talk.” Raising children and going through the inevitable trials that beset family life was a load lightened by other mothers sharing and caring. This led me to being interested in all the information I began to capture from studies and findings about the benefits of verbal exchanges between women. I am including one of these reports in this blog, from UCLA.

My Family


Christy Alger, Holly Beifuss, Yvonne Wirig, Kara Davis, Me, Melody Dyer

Several years ago I was involved in a church organization that provided me with the opportunity to work with a group of women that taught me the power of circle gatherings. We had many tasks to perform but the “magic” of the circle began with the opening of the first door to the very first meeting. That joyful greeting, that was powerful enough to open any heart, brought us together. It felt like we had entered C.S. Lewis’s “wardrobe” where we began a journey that propelled us into development, self-discovery and a world of sharing, caring and unity. It is the power of this Circle that I would like to create for the mothers of America. The “sewing circles” and “quilting bees” of yesteryear were popular among women for a reason. I believe there are untapped talents and resources in the heart and life of a mother that could greatly benefit herself, her husband, her children, her extended family, her friends, her school and her community.

When my first child was about to get married I tried to think of the best thing I could give her and all I could come up with was "me!" I had been collecting my thoughts for years and writing them into a book. My gift was a collection of my philosophies on life, poems I had written, personal letters, my personal history, dramatic writings, writings and poems about her and my ultimate, favorite recipe. This tradition has continued as each child has married; the book becoming immense as the years go by – because I keep thinking and keep writing. Somehow when you know you are going to write your ideas down, you actually "think about what you think" more. The trick to doing it, I discovered, amid all the wonderful chaos of raising a family, was to grab a piece of paper, napkin, checkbook, etc. as fast as I could to catch my thought in time before it got away from me. Often just one word was enough to trigger memory. Later on I would gather up all my little scraps of paper with the "words," which had now been processing in my heart and mind, and sit at the computer and start writing all the things I knew to be true about an idea or principle or new dawning of thought or story that taught me a profound lesson. Then the magic began. Somehow the process cemented the idea deeply within me and became a real part of me...and I began to actually know what I believed and how I felt about all kinds of things…it became the art of my soul. Then something unexpected happened. Almost without being aware that it was stirring in my soul....the idea became so meaningful and so much a part of me that I wanted to turn it into art. Art always graces life by taking it to a deeper level of experience. That is how I started writing poetry. I wanted the words to capture what I really meant with the added strength of the depth of art. It followed naturally ...and not necessarily rhyming poems - any artistic flow of thought captured by a pen.

So, when we gather in circles to "talk" we would be holding a spiral notebook in one hand and a pen in the other. As we share we write words that will be springboards later to the full development of our ideas. The next time we meet together we bring the expansion of our thoughts and share them with one another. The spoken word is healing and revealing. The written word is, in essence, a record of “you”…and the journey of your mind, your heart, your life. This will be immediately valuable to those with whom you presently share life with a treasure to those in your future.

Mothers of the Year 2011

This proposal for the creation of “Circle Mothers” will be presented to the Superintendent of Schools for the State of California. The goal will be to bring mothers together to share philosophies, learning, art, music, poetry, stories, parenting ideas, traumas, hopes, beliefs, ideas, etc. It will be a time for processing our lives together, connecting women of many faiths and backgrounds. The hope is that this connection will also serve as the "stress reliever" it is believed to have the power to do and to bring women together from their designated schools to assess, share and learn as friends, school workers, mothers, helpers, confidants and for the encouragement needed to and develop the unique talents within each person. The discovery and combining will create a powerful force for good in all levels of community.This could be a vast resource for the school. “Circle of Mothers” could take a survey of all the interests and talents among the mothers in their school and have it available to the principal, the teachers and to use among themselves. There is no end to the possibilities of having this information available. Finding out who does what can connect lives in innumerable ways.

These meetings could be held “in a circle” at the school, at a time and place designated as best by the Principal. The meetings could be held weekly, bi-monthly or monthly. Each person would be encouraged to share in whatever form they desire. The natural similarities inherent in bringing age group mothers together lends itself to having Circle Mothers held at the child’s school. These meetings, however, could also be held in homes, churches, senior centers or other community centers. My daughter recently held a meeting in her home, in the form of a tea party, which she called “culture club” where all types of connections were able to be made. As an example, if I were in the circle, for the first time, I would share one of my philosophies of life that I have written from my “Lit by Life” book. Conversations would naturally result that would create connections with another person’s feelings, struggles or ideas. The “circle” could also be a place for someone to share a painting or musical presentation. It could be a place for a parenting dilemma to be shared that could be aided and given perspective by having others share their experiences. These ideas and learning would be recorded by each person.

Anyone who participates in “Circle Mothers” can then , on this blog, contribute any of their thoughts or ideas or give an general account of what took place in their meeting…and keep a collection of their own ideas for their own personal record or book of ideas they are creating….and create their own blog of ideas.

The Mother: Stress relief – expansion of thought – valuable, helpful connections – a record of ideas
The Husband: necessary “girl talk” providing room for “husband/wife” talk
The Child: peaceful, fulfilled mother with expanded mind and heart to bless their child with - “If Mommy’s happy, everybody’s happy!”
The Teacher: Mothers that are connected would provide the teacher with a network of women that are familiar with one another that could help with a variety of needs in or out of the classroom i.e. special projects.

The School: Behavioral problems would most likely decrease by children coming to school from a peaceful environment. Women could use their expanded and united talents to enrich the education of students by creating and organizing events or programs. Knowing what someone has done and can do can connect lives in innumerable ways. Years ago I organized and performed in Christmas Concerts for the Community. As my children matured in talent they would also perform in the concerts. “Circle of Mothers” would (just as one example) know who played musical instruments, or who were vocalists. A “Mother/Child” concert could be created for the school or the community. Women could find out who had small children of similar ages and arrange for “park day” together. Families personal lives could also be enriched by the interests and talents of others…such as help with weddings or funerals. This “circle” would be like a drop of water in a pond extending out creating circle after circle after circle.

We need to know who each other is and what we can do to bless the lives of one another. Everyone’s lives would be enriched immeasurably. Strengthening and resourcing Mothers of America would be a powerful force for good and for expansion of life. Feeling alone in the battle, wanting motherhood to be the wonderful adventure we all are striving for it to be, can be blessed by this opportunity to come together and share our adventures with each other and the things that enrich our paths.

It is my hope that all schools in California adopt "Circle Mothers" as a powerful tool that will strengthen and develop the mothers, which will in turn bless the family, the schools and the community. It is my further hope that “Circle Mothers” will become a nationwide opportunity to strengthen and empower Mothers of America.

Circle Living

Seven children and my Mom and Dad seated regularly around a huge round table – that is when I first became acquainted with the “magic” of the circle. I kept watching for Circles as I grew older. I knew they had power to make strong connections. My life has been infinitely blessed by this symbol of unity and eternity.

….and now I have been given a chance to bring its power forward into the hearts and lives of others. This chance I have named “Circle Mothers.”