Dec/Jan Check-In: Family A


This is hard.  Not in the “I knew it would be extra work and require some extra time to complete” kind of hard.  More of a “this is impossible” kind of hard.

Purposely living your values requires being purposefully mindful of your values at all times.  And, that kind of sucks!  Because you can never meet all of your values at all times.  It’s like trying to be the ideal version of yourself at all times.  Yes, that would be AWESOME…but, what are the chances of that happening?  In fact, in my experience, the closer I get to my ideal self, the more my definition or characteristics of ideal self changes.

That’s where the really hard part comes in.  It’s hard to keep going and keep trying.  It’s easier to chalk it up to failure, or excuses, or focusing on something completely different

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“It’s those small gains on the field…that begin to change a family’s culture.”   Photo by Fabricio Trujillo on

and avoiding it altogether (as all of us seemed to do the past couple of months.)  It’s hard to admit defeat, brush ourselves off, and run back into certain failure again.  Yet, it’s those small gains on the field, the extra hike, the reminder to treat our siblings with respect, the discussion with friends going through this experience as well, that begin to change a family’s culture.  The little steps, these little wins, will land us in a different spot than where we began in the beginning of this values living journey.  And who knows, our idea of what our family values may have grown exponentially by then…our goal post just changed–always slightly out of reach.

So…what is our plan for this month?  Try to truly live.  Be in the moment with our kids and encourage them to do the same.  Meals together (even if it is only one parent not working and able to dine), joyful activities, and new experiences as opposed to new stuff.

Will meet our goal?  Likely not.  We will; however, gain a few steps forward in stead of continuing to languish in mediocre interactions.

Dec/Jan Check In: Family B

I (mom) am sorry that we have not written a post since before the holidays… partly, this is because we were very busy and partly because we really have not lived our values intentionally. It seems as though we focus on what feeds our soul only when we have “extra” time and space in our everyday life.

The last two months have more so felt like pure survival and very little stopping to focus on what we are really doing. To be honest, I actually felt really annoyed by our value tree and avoided it – probably because I felt that we weren’t doing a good job focusing on our values and it represented just another shortcoming in our parenting.

This sounds much more gloomy than it is, we still had tons of fun and laughter with our kids every day. It is hard to be serious with these goofballs around. 

board game business challenge chess

“The last two months have more so felt like pure survival…”

I wish I had a plan for how to get back to focusing on our values. One thought is that our value tree is much too “big” and most of the values are aspirational vs ones that we are already good at and just need to highlight more. Another thought is to work a little less, but then my daughter’s fortune cookie tonight told us “a day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work” – so, maybe not 🙂

The Holidays:Blinded by Stress

So, for those of you who actively follow this blog, you will have noticed silence…for weeks…almost a month.  The holidays, a time that is focused on family and togetherness is also a time we seem to all go on autodrive.  How many family focused activities do you do during the holiday that you make the conscious decision to do because you want to focus on family and how many do you do because “that’s what we do” or “it’s tradition”?

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Photo by Pixabay on

This is NOT a judgment to any of you (or us), just an observation of our experiences.  Traditions become tradition for a reason.  They arise out of cultural norms, beliefs, and needs.  Humans need relationships, families need time together, and holiday traditions have become a way of ensuring these needs are met without thought.  We spend time together during the holidays because we want to, we need to, and we’re supposed to.

The question is, what is the quality of those interactions?  As we went through some of the traditional interactions, I found myself enjoying some and so very stressed by others.  I enjoyed the quiet moments with my children drinking hot chocolate and watching old school Christmas movies; I enjoyed our new Christmas Eve tradition of gathering with friends and family to eat, drink, and decorate cookies.  I felt overwhelmed and taxed wrapping and organizing gifts; I felt guilty sitting for christmas eve mass while others stood and annoyed my children didn’t seem to be listening; I felt like a failure when we stopped reading the advent readings–though they were too adult for the kids to understand.

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Photo by Pixabay on

So…how do I trim the pieces that are unneeded.  What traditions are not only worth keeping but in line with our values?  And the one’s that are stressing, which pieces may not be in line with our values or what am I failing to see and build upon?  As with the rest of the year, holidays should be a purposeful manifestation of our values, not the blind walking through of traditions.  Challenge:  be purposeful in our adoption and living of holiday traditions in the upcoming year.

Side note:  As I write and read this…I am beginning to realize that some of what I may need is mindfulness–living and feeling in the moment.  (More to come on this in future posts)

October Check-In: Family A

We are officially more than a month into attempting to live our values daily.  For those of you not following the monthly check-ins, our family chose to attack one value set at a time, with quality time with kith and kin being our first value goal.  While not meeting the lofty goal of living this value daily, there have been some notable changes:


Photo:  Edmon De Haro; article can be found at

We, the parents, are more aware of our engagement with the kids.  I noticed we spent less time on our phones or computers, engaged one another and the kids in conversations, and had less family movie nights this past month than we have in several months.

We, as a family, have been purposeful in planning our weekends to ensure we had time for family activities that were enjoyable.  This required a good deal of sacrificing on all sides (no dissertation work on weekends till kids went to bed for me, less time with friends for my husband, and skipping a sleep over for our oldest.)  Everyone agrees it was worth it.  We played at the playground on the zipline and the climbing wall, went to the circus, cooked and ate dinners together, went to sports games as a whole family even when it wasn’t necessary, and hosted get togethers with friends and family.  Our weekends were truly focused on kith and kin.

When having our monthly family meeting, the kids shared that they were happy with this experiment so far.  They shared they felt “more important” and “more loved” over the past few weeks as my husband and I took the time to connect with them over their interests and in a conscious manner.  It means something to them that we consciously chose playing with them over sitting and talking to one another, or working on our school/work projects.

Moving forward, we plan to continue forward with our momentum towards the goal of engaging in activities focused on kith and kin this month, but also focused on learning and growth in some way, shape or form.   The kids requested hiking, exploring the world around them, and learning skills they would need “to survive by ourselves in the woods.”  We, the parents, have our goal of providing the kids with the kind of learning experiences they are requesting and increasing our own knowledge of gardening and canning in such a way that we are also enjoying quality time with one another.  (Secondarily, I have made it a goal to actually look up the answers to all the questions the kids ask that I don’t know and say “let’s google it when we get home.”  Starting with this:  the horses we saw the other day were probably wearing coats because they had been recently bathed, the owner didn’t want them to get dirty, or they had a recent hair cut and may have been a bit chilled.)

We’ll let you guys know if the kids are ready for the Zombie Apocalypse come next month 😉

What have you always wanted to learn?  What’s stopping you?  Is there something you can do this next month to grow in your learning, knowledge, abilities in some small way?  Join us!