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October 30, 2007
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A Be-witching Birthday Week

 
 
 

The American Mothers International sponsored a fun event on Saturday October 20, in Logan, Utah. “I Didn’t Plan to Be a Witch” was their theme. It was fun to dress the part along with the spectacular organizing committee! Based on those two editions of the book I wrote with the same name several years ago, we discussed the finer points of being a witch with about 300 magnificent mothers! We talked about five ways to be a better witch and five ways to work yourself out of a job! Fun was had by all!

Las Vegas was our next stop as we spoke to the International Entrepreneurs Organization about “Being the Parent and the Family You Want to Be”. It was an outstanding group of Entrepreneurs and their spouses from all over the world and we had a delightful interchange with many terrific families. I particularly enjoyed sitting by a couple from India one night whose marriage had been arranged, as most marriages in India still are. They were quick to tell us that after they met at a big family party, it wasn’t expected that they should make up their minds right away. They had two days to decide! They were such a happy young couple and I think Richard and I are convinced that arranged marriages are a great idea. We just can’t get the kids to agree!

After that we spent the weekend in Kansas City where again we had the opportunity to do a Parenting Seminar for our church members and their friends and neighbors. With about 1000 parents in two sessions, we had a fabulous time interacting with parents who are all fellow strugglers in this great adventure of parenthood!

The best part was that it was Richard’s birthday on Sunday and we spent the day luxurating in the leaves at the home of our friends the Hermes near Kansas City. The leaf traditions continues as all the kids jumped in their own piles wherever they were or sent leaves by mail. It is also a tradition to send Dad a poem on his birthday. Some were poemed-out so they sent their top ten things they like about their Dad. Their top ten included funny stuff, crazy stuff, scary stuff and deeply heartfelt stuff… all were a delight to read!

The chair pictured is the only thing we’ve found to make Richard look small. It’s good to feel small once in a while, don’t you think?

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October 21, 2007
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An Eyre Family Event!

Although we don’t usually enter family “events” on the valuesparenting blog, we wanted to share a very special happening in our family this week with our valuesparenting family. Thirty yeaars ago Richard and I spent three years supervising 200 missionaries for our church in London. We loved our experience in this wonderful culture as did our little children who were 5, 4, 2 1/2 and 1 when we left. We also had the interesting experience of having two babies while we were there.

So many years have passed since then. When we got back to the US we added three more children and watched all nine blossom and grow amidst the mayhem as well as the magic of their childhood and teenage years. As each child has became “missionary age” (19 for young men and 21 for young women) each has served a mission teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and doing Humanitarian Service in their own turn. They have joined 50,000 missionaries in 335 missions all over the world. Our oldest daughters served in Bulgaria and Romania, two of our sons went back to England, and another daughter went to Spain. Our other sons served in Brazil, Chile and Japan. All declared their service to be the defining experience of their lives! They serve with no pay but the joy of serving with a mighty and courageous heart full of love for their Savior and for the people they serve.

This week it was our “baby daughter’s” turn to open the envelope from church headquarters which would tell her where in the world she will serve. (She will finish her education at Wellesley College in Boston in December and leave for her mission in January.) With two of her sisters at her side in Boston and the rest of us on a conference call we were all delighted and astounded to hear that she will be serving in the England London South Mission…the very same mission where Richard and I were all those years ago! We know what an amazing experience this will be for her as she serves in our beloved England for 18 months. This learning, stretching, growing, excruciatingly difficult and spectacularly rewarding experience will change her life forever!

We just wanted to share our JOY!

Opening the envelope!

Our three Wellesley Graduates Saren, Saydi and Charity (our new missionary)

October 10, 2007
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Back on the road again!

During the summer we (Richard and Linda) accept very few speaking engagements so we can spend more time with our children and grandchildren. Now that the leaves are falling we’re back on the road, meeting families all over the country who are raising strong families but want to do a little better.

In Toledo, Ohio we met with some creative, dedicated families in the Young President’s Organization who entitled their evening with us “The Parent Trapeze”. We thought how appropriate that was considering that parenthood is often like being on a trapeze usually with a partner. The courage it takes to “fly”, “hand off” and experience the exhilaration and the failures on a precarious trapeze far above solid ground is so similar to the experiences of parenthood. It was fun to explore!

There we also enjoyed one of the finest small art museums in the U.S. which includes a glass museum unique in all the world we traveled on to Boston and New York where we visited with children and grandchildren and then on to a delightful group of parents on the seacoast of Connecticut. There we enjoyed a fabulous sunset by the beach as we talked about the importance of Lifebalance. We all re-committed to prioritize our families in this fast-paced world and remember that the most important things that we would ever do would be within the wall of our own homes.

After a two hour ride back to Kennedy Airport for a 6 a.m. flight the next morning we returned to Salt Lake City to participate in a Rally for Mitt Romney, who has been a friend for twenty years. Our son Eli had been working on the effort 24/6 for the past two months and we were happy to be part of a good family’s quest for the presidency that requires more than anyone should have to give, to try to make a difference. How we appreciate people who are brave enough to venture into the cut-throat arena of the political world!

That night we co-hosted an fund raiser for Ascend Alliance, an organization that we’ve been associated with for many years that encourages expeditions to third world countries where our “spoiled” children can see and work with kids who live in thatched huts and drink dirty water. As mentioned earlier in this blog, members of Valuesparenting contribute seven and a half percent of their membership and dues to a foundation that gets funds to these happy but desperately needy families.

Our most recent trip last week was to Jackson Hole Wyoming where an incredible group of women have formed a committee called Our Common Cause. It is composed of women from all religions who organize and sponsor two events every year. A nativity scene from each religious group is displayed in town center at Christmas time and in the fall they do a seminar for parents. We were the lucky ones who got to be part of that wonderful event for hundreds of committed parents held at the high school. It was fascinating to talk to not only the local ranchers and school teachers but lawyers, doctors and businessmen who had “immigrated” from all around the country as well as a delightfully happy couple from Iran with three small children who told us about their arranged marriage.

Our travels never cease to inspire us as we see so many families doing their part to strengthen the most important unit of our society…the family! Not an easy task, but so crucial. Precarious and difficult indeed, but also a lot of fun, which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved piece, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up,
totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming WOW, WHAT A RIDE! Anonymous

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