Homemade Happiness is the Greatest Joy

This time of year, the transition from summer to fall with a new homeschool year, always brings with it some frustration, anger, and sadness for me, for a variety of reasons I won’t go into here. But this year I have been combatting the blues with organization and dejunking of the basement, which includes our homeschooling room. I am digging through layers of stuff that haven’t seen the light in almost 10 years! I am creating a family closet to permanently organize all the kids’ clothing once and for all! I have also organized the board and card games, to help us easily find games (with all the pieces intact) for Family Home Evening. It is definitely helping. I have felt increased happiness and a new set of eyes to help me be content with what I have, as well as determination to stay steadfast in habits to bring about greater fruit. In the meantime, I am finding lots of buried treasures in my basement storage rooms.

One of the treasures I found some was handouts from a 1999 homeschooling conference, with pages by LaDawn Jacob, the featured speaker in the video above. LaDawn’s inspirational thoughts have helped me so much this week to renew my devotion to the calling of motherhood and the calling of homeschooling. I feel so blessed to know her. This video has me recommitted to reinstill the habits of memorization and storytelling for family bonding and learning. I love how she talks about how she continues to work on memorizing poetry and Shakespeare while she works out on her treadmill or picks grapes. In the video, she says she takes a clothespin and attaches paper to grapevines so she can memorize lines while she harvests her grapes. I love it, she is so cute! Cheryl Carson, a popular speaker and author from Utah County, wrote a book about her called “Homemade Joy from the House of Jacob”, which I have a copy of. I had forgotten about it and now feel a desire to pull it out and recommit to its principles. It currently sells for $75, used,  on amazon!

Then the next day I watched/listened to a Duggars 19 Kids and Counting Episode as I continued the dejunking adventure. It is probably my favorite one I’ve seen so far. Watching these amazing kids band together to create a special night to honor their parents made me feel an increased sense of love for my own family. I feel called to encourage my children to create their own entertainment, of music and acting, and to use it to serve and bless others, instead of relying on mass-produced media. I also liked watching the three couples in the family go out on a date together to a special etiquette dinner at a friend’s home. I excitedly realized, “Hey I could do this with my two older kids of dating age still at home and my hubby. We could go on a triple date! We could even go on a quadruple date after my missionary son gets home in November!” My 16 year old son’s reaction: “Oh, mom! That would be horrible!” My 18 year old daughter’s reaction: “That sounds fun!” We shall see what happens. I am determined to do it sometime this fall. Maybe my friend Katie will be willing to let us use her big dining room, and we can involve her and her husband and her son who will turn 16 in the fall.

After I listened to the Duggars’ video, I continued to do my excavation dig in my basement storage room, through boxes of papers, books, toys, and clothes, and listened to Chapter 42, about family love, from the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith. It’s about how family is the sweetest union for all of time and eternity. I definitely felt that love when I heard the Duggars singing at the end of the video.

I liked this quote from the Joseph Smith manual about Joseph Smith’s family life after he saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ:

“Every evening we gathered our children together,” Lucy Mack Smith recalled, father, mother, sons, and daughters listening in breathless anxiety to the religious teachings of a boy [seventeen] years of age.”

“We were convinced that God was about to bring to light something that we might stay our minds upon, something that we could get a more definite idea of than anything which had been taught us heretofore, and we rejoiced in it with exceeding great joy. The sweetest union and happiness pervaded our house. No jar nor discord disturbed our peace, and tranquility reigned in our midst.

This is the joy that comes from being with families, serving each other, and reflecting on the light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, problems arise in families, but they can be overcome through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I cherish the counsel that LaDawn Jacob gave to Cheryl Carson, which Cheryl shares on her web site here:

1. Life is hard, but I can do hard things

2. My circumstances may not be ideal, but I can do the best I can with what I have,

3. Things take time.

And all of these things best take place in a family. Truly, happiness is homemade!

Apparently, intelligence is homemade as well. Watch the second generation of LaDawn Jacob in action below as her daughter, Jenet Jacob Erikson, PhD, shares with us on how learning in childhood best takes place in the home during work and play, in the context of meaningful, loving, family relationships.

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