Monthly Archives: August 2015

PMS – The Problem is the Solution

Women and mothers are generally the peacemakers of the home.  They sooth the hurts, heal the wounds, calm the worries, and fix the problems of their children and husband when they come home from a hard day at work or play.  They are nurturers.  Then once a month mother changes.  She becomes something else.  She is upset, pointing out undone chores, and leaking faucets, holding everyone to a higher standard than is generally expected.  She complains.  Instead of compliments and praise and gratitude, she is pointing out flaws and problems.  Instead of soothing our wounds, she just scrubs them, pours on the stinging disinfectant, and tells you to be more careful next time…  And then she beats herself up for acting that way.

The world has identified this as a disorder – called pre-menstrual syndrome, because it occurs during the week before menstruation begins.  For women who do not track their cycle, it is often the indicator they use to know their period will begin soon.  This is a tragically flawed view.

PMS actually stands for the Peak of Maternal Emotions.  Calling it peaked acknowledges that it is part of a cycle, a cycle that exists primarily, to allow women to become mothers.  Another purpose of this cycle is to aid in the progression of the woman and the family.  It is for the betterment of the home.

This is the peak of the cycle for the emotions. It is important to recognize that it is the down phase for the physical body. Our energy will be less.  I find it helpful to plan accordingly, by allowing myself more time for sleep, and expecting less in the way of work, projects and exercise to be accomplished.  It is neither the peak nor the valley for the mind or spirit.

With the increased emotions we are more aware of our own, our husbands, and our children’s imperfections.  And a powerful surge of emotion sends those problems spewing forth from our mind and out our mouth.  Satan uses the increased emotions, when he can, to pit us against our husband, children, or others, or to get down on ourselves.  We recognize our shortcomings and the follies of those around us more readily.  The adversary then has a great opportunity to put us on a negative spin that is hurtful to ourselves or others.  Our Mother Bear comes out readily, going after anyone who seems to be inhibiting the forward progress of our home.  I have found that for me, my eyes actually become sore, or achy, as in the idiom “sight for sore eyes,” because I am seeing everything as ugly, and problematic.

Along with an appreciation of cycles, a beautiful principles that I have learned from studying permaculture is that the problem is the solution.

It is God’s design that we have this cycle. Therefore, I believe it has a good puropose.  We have these heightened emotions and sensitivity for a reason.  What am I supposed to do with the angst that builds up as I see all the weaknesses, undone projects and major and minor problems in and around me so clearly?  We are to use that clarity, or brutal honesty, as it more often feels like, to motivate us to change.  We can use these powerful emotions to evaluate our lives, to see what needs adjusting, what is too much, what is going the wrong direction.  The heightened emotions allow us to see those things that are not right in our lives and to experience pain over them so that we can change them.  After all, pain is the great motivator.

A note on stewardship, as a woman, a mother, a head of our household I have stewardship to change anything in or about me.  I have the stewardship to teach, counsel, and set standards in our home and for our children.  I do not have stewardship over the choices of my children or husband.  Be aware that leading and influencing others is a fine art that is refined through the study of human nature.  We all have the potential to do it, and I believe it is a gift of women to lead our husbands and children to higher standards of goodness and doing right while completely respecting their agency.

For me this is not usually a peaceful time.  I work hard to not be unkind to those around me, but I am often a little edgy, brash, and feisty.  How does this problem show us a solution?  The heightened emotions give a woman the emotional energy needed to confront people and problems that are too difficult to deal with and therefore left ignored for the rest of the month.

I have a dear friend who has been in an emotionally abusive marriage for over 16 years.  Her husband is a good man at the core and she loves him, but because of a pornography addiction, and therefore an addicts’ brain, he frequently uses intimidation and anger to hide from his struggles.  When he struggles with life he turns to yelling, and saying cruel things to his wife and children.  The wife has become submissive and passive due to this intimidation, and generally refrains from or is afraid to express her thoughts and emotions because they are contradicted, and turned against her.  However, during her phase of Peak Maternal Emotions, she often does have the emotional energy and exasperation to voice those things that are troubling her, or to hold up a standard in her home, that she cannot usually do.  Ironically, her husband recognized this pattern and sought diligently to have her put on medication for her unreasonable PMS.  To this woman’s great credit, she stayed true to herself and refused to seek medication.

The sophisticated modern world will tell you that we should be even-keel all the time, but if we observe nature we will see that all biologic systems have ebbs and flows, cycles, highs and lows.  We can fight against or be annoyed by the cycles and the inconvenience they cause or we can try to understand their purpose and work with the cycle the way God designed it.  The more I have recognized the purpose of the Peak of Maternal Emotions phase of my cycle, the more power I find in being a mother who knows, a powerful, virtuous woman with purpose.  That phase still comes with some pain each month.  But the pain now brings me to inner soul searching, and prayerful evaluation of my life, which always ends with increased blessings and understanding from  God.

And my family life is happier, even during PMS.

Family Centered Education Seminar

Family Cuddle
Layton, Utah

Fri-Sat, October 9-10, 2015
Seminar Presentation ~ 9:00 am-5:00 pm both days
Potluck Lunch ~ 12:00 pm-1:00 pm both days

At the home of Kyle and Laura Johansen

1615 Kays Creek Dr.

Layton, UT

Ticket Prices
Attend One Day: $50/Person, $20/Spouse
Attend Both Days: $75/Person, $30/Spouse
(If attending one day only, you may select either day since each day is a stand-alone presentation)

PRESENTER: Diann Jeppson


The Family Centered Education Seminar is presented in a workshop style so that you can learn by doing.



 Family on Beach Create your family vision, master plan and systems for orchestrating the education of your children.

If you want to take your family to the next level, day one will provide a map for you, with clear explanations, examples, stories, and planning tools to help you create family centered education in your home, including…



~ How to embrace the essential connection between family relationships and the success of your educational efforts.
~ Learn tools to help you nurture a love for learning in your children’s hearts.
~ The ability to see your children’s emerging interests with new eyes, to enable you to respond more effectively.
~ How to prepare for, create, and record a family vision, to allow you to “see” the hoped for outcome of the education in your home.
~ A simple schematic for you to build your own master plan, with nine key elements designed to help you determine what learning time will consist of next Monday…and the rest of the year too.
~ Where and how to select the best books to read in your home, with strategies to establish or improve and overcome challenges with family reading.
~ The essential elements of a family work system, with tips for teaching adult skills to your children in an easy and systematic fashion.

*Day One is presented with a non-denominational perspective.



 Dad Reading to Child When Karl Maeser started the Brigham Young Academy, President Young admonished him, “Remember that you ought not to teach even the alphabet or the multiplication tables without the Spirit of God.”

Teaching methods should seek to lay Christ and true principles at the foundation of all learning.

Day two will provide you with teaching methods to facilitate more family centered education, and to strengthen your family’s faith through all learning, including…


~How to teach in with a one-room schoolhouse approach, to children of multiple ages participating together in the same learning time.

~ A simple process to help you hand-pick important ideas, resources and systems to use in creating and improving a daily family devotional.

~Methods that develop academic excellence and prepare children for a successful college experience.

~How to teach children to read and understand difficult literature, reason and discern principles, and apply truths learned to their own lives.

~Processes for teaching children to write and speak persuasively.

~Helping children to develop study habits that will prepare children for successful life-long learning.

~How to help children memorize quotes, passages, speeches and poems that will provide greater ownership of their internal property, and truths with which to make decisions.

~Celebrations of learning, to bring history, literature and all learning alive!

~How to create an effective timeline in your home, to show children the providential view of history and their place in it.

~A tool for examining the internal and external character traits of individuals from history and literature, for application in the building of our children’s character

~Methods for creating an organized record of their studies so that children can preserve the concepts and principles they have learned.

*Day Two is presented with a Latter-day Saint perspective


 Mom with Baby in Sling
Babes-in-arms are welcome


Home Education

We are starting back into “school.”  It is a new season, a fresh beginning.  Fall is when the best learning occurs – our motivation is high because our classes are new.  Days are getting colder and shorter so there is possibly less to draw us outside and off to other activities.

I join the ranks of eager learners.  I want to make this an exciting and rich year for myself and my children.  Our learning and school are not like most Americans.  We homeschool. The frequent question is “How does it work? How do you teach different ages at the same time?”  Well I don’t.  An  ideal day of school at our house looks like this:

I get up and spend an hour in the morning studying and writing.  Then wake up the children, we all get ready for the day, and have a super short and sweet breakfast devotional: Song, Prayer, recite our family mission statement, share one inspiring something – video clip, article, story, poem, and then say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Next we do chores – and yes, this is a super important part of school!  What adult does not have to maintain a house, do laundry, and fix meals?  That is probably the most practical part of my children’s education.  I tell them that if they learn to work fast and well, they will have more time to do what they want.  Now and for the rest of their lives.

Then we break off to learn.  Older children who are independent readers, have a mix of reading and other assignments that largely they have chosen and I have helped give guidance on and find resources for.  The youngers get to read and do activities with mom for about an hour.  Then I interact with the older children, helping them as needed until lunch.  After lunch there are usually lessons, group classes, or blessed free time.  That is when meetings, appointments, projects, etc get to happen.  By dinner time we are all gathering and talking about what we learned or did. Then some family scriptures and prayers and off to bed.

That is the super ideal day.  Everyday has its own variations and flavors, but life is always about learning – almost none of it takes place at a desk or in a classroom.  Those are used, but sparingly.  More actual learning is done by reading from the best books, sitting in your favorite chair, or discussing something as you fold laundry or make dinner.

With math and science the real learning happens as you experience and apply it in everyday life – building something, and having to solve a problem to make it work, then talking about why it did or didn’t work, and coming up with better ideas.  Yes, we do some regular math problems too – but that isn’t where the best learning occurs, that is just skill building.

My favorite part of home education is that all through it I get to share in my children’s epiphanies, and I get to share those things that I choose as most important for my family and my child – not just what a generic board or government decided my child should learn. I love sharing my worldview, my culture, my religion, and not having to make it flavorless to avoid offending.

All that said, I am grateful for my freedom to choose home education, and I totally understand, and support the many I love who choose other methods of education.  The beauty of our day and country is that we have many choices.  I just wanted to share the why and how of what we do.

Early Morning: a liber habit?

Today I read an article, Filled with Life and Energy, about early to bed and early to rise.  It gave ample testimony and evidence that this one habit in our lives will be the greatest contributor to our health, our ability to receive divine guidance, and our well-being in life.  Those are pretty high claims, or blessings, to receive for practicing one single habit.

I look at what evidence I can see in my own personal knowledge and experience.  To start off, this past week has been full of way too late of nights, and not very early of mornings.  I have gotten less that 6 hours every night.  This is not a typical week for me.  It has led to more that one emotional meltdown, and a couple occlusions with Jonathan, which are silly in hindsight, but were painful in the moment.  I knew all week long that my lack of sleep was decreasing my performance at Crossfit, and my mental awareness and therefore ability to lead my children.  I also know on two different nights that my staying up late was detracting from the Spirit, rather than increasing it – I was too tired, and therefore hyper-sensitive, irritable and illogical.

I look at my father.  He has always been the person I have most known to keep this habit.  He would enjoy a family party for a while, then quietly slip off to bed at a reasonable hour.  My childhood memories are of him getting up, lighting a fire to warm the house, reading his scripture and writing in his journal,  praying vocally, then doing some calisthenics in the living room.  My father is also the most mild-tempered and peaceful person I have known.  He is in his seventies and has no serious health problems, is cheerful, kind, of a keen mind, and ever serving and enjoying life.

Taking the doctrine and examples of the article, and the evidence I have from my own experience, I completely agree or believe it.  In fact, I have always believed it.  But have not as yet implemented it into my life fully.  Would doing so bring me to a knew level of freedom?  Absolutely!  So why am I, even now, hesitant to commit to living it?  Because it is hard – it requires going against social norms, and changing my own patterns, as well as responding differently to other people’s patterns than is normal or expected.  I would have to become much more aware of the time than I currently am, cut my social and unwind time down.  Leave early or leave out some very desirable social activities that tend to run late into the evening.

I believe it is worth it.  My goal – not yet a commitment as I try to really wrap my mind around it, is to be in bed no later than 10:30 and up no later than 6 am for the next week.  The blessing I am most excited to receive from it is the clearer personal revelation.  Keep you posted – ES



I have a heart that is aching for the pain of others that I see.  This mortal experience includes learning from our own experience and coming to know the good from the evil, which comes for many of us by experiencing pain, and being able to see the fruits of evil as pain, and the fruits of Spirit as pleasant, sweet, desirable.

The question comes: How do we get out of pain?  Pain is a form of bondage.  Sometimes it is pain we have knowingly brought on ourselves, more often it is pain we bring on ourselves unwittingly because of choices made in ignorance.  Then too, there is pain caused by others actions toward us.  In all three situations we want out.  In all three situations we must learn something and do something in order to get out of the bondage.

Knowledge is a powerful tool.  Truth is what sets us free.  When we can clearly identify a problem, then we can begin to solve it, but until we discover, learn, and accept the real problem that is causing our pain, we cannot escape it for any length of time.

I believe that always the power to escape pain, even that caused by our ignorance, or by others to us, is within our own power and by the grace of God is possible.  Men are that they might have joy.  God will, as we seek Him, follow the guidance of His Spirit, and as we humbly search for understanding and truth, grant us peace, healing, and yes Joy!  Even in the midst of adversity there is peace to be found in understanding and wisdom that comes from knowledge.

It doesn’t come immediately, not even quickly – by men’s standards.  But it does come, line up line, bit by bit the pain recedes and is replaced with hope.  As we continue to learn and to work, precept by precept, we come to Joy.  And we find that God’s  yoke is easy and his burden is light.