Family Legacy Homeschooling Just a Thought... Tips

Parental Challenge

Stacee Taft Blog - Dreams for our childrenItems needed:
• pen/pencil and paper (or you could type it on the computer if that’s more your style)
• and some personal quiet time/space where you can think and won’t be interrupted.

Write down the character traits that you want your son(s) to have when they are grown men.
If you only have daughters, then write down the character traits that you want your son(s)-in-law to have.

Mothers: Write down the character traits that you want your daughter(s) to have when they are grown women.
If you only have sons, then write down the character traits that you want your daughter(s)-in-law to have.

Be specific, but only things related to character.

For instance, “successful” is not specific or character related, however, “being compassionate” is.

Still in in your personal quiet spot, assess your own life.

Look at the list and circle the character traits you have in yourself.

Are you modeling the character traits you want your child(ren) to have?

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image
My sweet babies

If we don’t have these character traits in ourselves
and aren’t modeling them in our own lives,
how in the world are our children going to learn them from us.
Positive character traits don’t typically come naturally or “just happen”.
They take hard work.

In case you’re feeling like a failure at this moment,
as I was when I did this… stop that!
Pity parties and regret won’t help you get to where you want/need to be!

Maybe you haven’t ever really thought about all of this.

Maybe you’re just doing what you learned from your parents…

Maybe you aren’t doing everything you can/should be doing…

but that doesn’t mean you’re a failure…
It means you have a choice to make!

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image
My family and dear friends {me – bottom left}

You see, we all come from imperfect families
lead by imperfect parents.

They didn’t do things “exactly right” and
we are molded and shaped by that and other factors.

It shaped who we became…

But WE choose who we will be from this moment on.

We choose if we will stay a victim to our past
or move on toward learning how to thrive.

We choose, each day, one little choice at a time
whether we are going to stay in our old ruts
or start to move out of them…
sometimes slowly,
sometimes in one big “if I don’t do it quick it will never happen” jump.

Face your fears... my husband leading by example
Face your fears… my husband leading by example

This seemingly simple challenge was to attempt to help us see objectively,
without us getting defensive,
how we are doing at setting a good example for our child(ren).

Each one of us wants our child(ren) to grow up
to be the very best they can be,
to achieve the goals that we know they are capable of,
to strive for personal success,
to be better than we are.

We teach, we train, we guide,
we speak words of wisdom and truth endlessly to them.

We pray over them.

We cry over them.

My babies 10 years ago
My babies 10 years ago

We have dreams for them.

We correct, encourage, and challenge them
to be better today than they were yesterday.

It’s our heart’s desire for them to not just live,
but to thrive as adults.

But, often something huge gets in the way… us!

Like our parents before us,
we’re not perfect parents.

We don’t do everything right.

We don’t always set a good example
of what we want our child(ren) to be/do.

© Stacee Taft Photography
20 years together… 14 years of parenting… a lifetime to go!

But we don’t have to stay where we were…
we can grow and mature and learn to thrive, too.

My hope, and prayer,
is that each one of you reading this
makes a choice to live today better than you lived yesterday.

That the excuses and blame-game
and whatever else is holding you back
from becoming the person YOU were created to be…
will no longer have a hold on you.

You choose who you are going to be from this day forward.

No one else.


Now get out there and make your life what it should be!

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image
Our family… love them!
Family Legacy Homeschooling Just a Thought...

2015 Destination Imagination Global Finals


    HELP US GET TO GLOBAL FINALS Oregon Destination Imagination, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Using this link restricts the funds for our team’s use only.

Hi! We’re the Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans! We’re so excited, and honored, to go to Global Finals again this year.

This year’s Technical Challenge is very difficult… and well… challenging. It is a fun challenge to tackle, and took a lot of work!

But, it was all worth it… Out of 68 teams that participated in the Destination Imagination State Tournament, we are honored to be one of the 17 teams representing Oregon at the 2015 Global Finals!

Along the way, we also won special Renaissance Award, in recognition of engineering design.

However, our team needs to raise $8,600 soon to compete20150308_082507crop in this amazing international academic tournament. Every penny donated can help us reach our goal! This cost will cover our registration fees, air transportation and transfers, shipping costs, and on-campus housing and meals.

Destination Imagination… is an amazing program that prepares kids for future careers by teaching them the creative process, project management, teamwork, and critical thinking using STEM {Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics}.

Teams must only use ideas their team originated and must implement these ideas themselves. For instance, we can ask someone to teach us to solder or sew or rebuild a circuit board, but if we want to use it in our solution, we have to do the work ourselves.20150411_172505crop

Our team competed in the Technical Challenge – Creature Feature: we imagined, designed and built a world, a creature that did specific creature actions and a story of adventure.

In our story, Mr. DeMarcus’ submarines are disappearing off of the radar. He hires a team to construct CUB, an ROV submarine, to rescue the subs. While CUB is retrieving the missing subs, it is attacked, however, the team manages to get CUB back to the surface proving that teamwork is the best way to solve any crisis.

We also created a background scene change which applies the laws of physics and a control panel designed using recycled parts, a parallel circuit and magnetism. We also made an awesome antenna for the control panel, powered by a part from an old printer. We DI kids love to reuse things in creative and innovative ways!

We incorporated a puppet show that allows the audience to see what the engineers in the lab are seeing on their laptop monitor: CUB’s video of its deep sea dive and the creatures it encounters while rescuing the missing subs. The puppets were hand sewn and created to look like actual deep sea creatures we researched.20150411-DSC_5331crop We even made our own patterns for the creatures!

We can’t wait for GLOBAL FINALS!

Visit Easy Fundraising Ideas

However, as we mentioned before, our team needs to raise $8,60020150411-DSC_5382crop to compete in this amazing international academic tournament.

If you, or your company, can help us achieve our goal, please use this link to donate:

Oregon Destination Imagination, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Using this link restricts the funds for our team’s use only.

To learn more about Destination Imagination® & Global Finals, visit:


2015 Global Finals



   Thank you for considering to help us reach OUR destination,
   2015 Destination Imagination Global Finals!

  Sincerely, The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans

And a HUGE Thank You to all our sponsors and donors for our raffle!


Family Legacy Homeschooling Just a Thought...

Failure… It’s All About Perspective

I was just talking to my son about failures.Thomas Alva Edison in his lab
Right now he feels like he’s failing at everything.
He doesn’t enjoy most of his school subjects {especially math}
because they aren’t ‘fun’ or ‘easy,’
so he hasn’t been interested in giving 100% to learn them…
thus he doesn’t get a perfect score.
Then he assumes he’s a failure because of the results.

He’s wrong.
And he’s not alone.

We all fall into this mindset from time to time.
My son is NOT a failure…
he simply hasn’t succeeded yet.

Edison is a great example of this.
He had the right perspective on his failures…
on hard work…
on perseverance.

“I have not failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

He looked at his failures as chances to gain new data
or learn something he hadn’t considered or,
perhaps, just cross a possible solution off of his idea list.

“They [failures] taught me something that I didn’t know. They taught me what direction to move in.”

Failure, depending on perspective,
will either bring opportunity or despair.
Only one requires hard work and is worth the effort.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
“Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

It’s all about perspective.

“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”
“We sometimes learn a lot from our failures if we have put into the effort the best thought and work we are capable of.”

I love how Edison had the right perspective.
I am thankful he did, too.
Think of all the amazing inventions that were created
because Edison had the correct perspective on his failure.

Mark and I try to pass this joy-filled, perseverance, correct perspective concept
to both our children.

However, some days are harder than others.

Like today.

My son assumes there isn’t a point to learning most of these subjects.
Again, he’s wrong…
although I surely understand where he’s coming from!

Only a part of our schooling is the actual memorizing of facts, dates and formulas…
the other half is character development: self-discipline; learning to work hard at something
even when we hate it…
in fact, learning to enjoy it;
perseverance when we feel like there is no end in sight;
obedience even if we don’t understand the ‘why’ behind the instructions given.

All of us have a choice when we approach any situation…
We can let our circumstances dictate how we think/feel
or we can choose to be joy-filled.

The latter does not come natural and requires God’s strength and perspective.

“If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

I attempted to use the game Mastermind as an illustration.Mastermind game
If you’ve ever played the game you know there is a long board with peg holes.
One player chooses a pattern of colors, not letting the other player see.
The other player, through a series of guesses, tries to use deductive logic to figure out the pattern.

No one gets it the first time around.

In fact, they give you almost 15 spaces on the board to try to figure it out.
But each time you try, if you’re paying attention, you will learn something.
Perhaps all you learn is that there isn’t a blue peg in spot number one.
Perhaps you’ll learn more.

But the point is… if you see each one of those tries as a failure, you totally missed the point of the game.

It’s all about perspective.

Now granted… in some people’s cases just trying won’t automatically equal success, but knowing my son like I do…
he can and will thrive and succeed at anything he chooses to.
And the fact that he doesn’t yet get that grieves my heart.

Even more so because he’s my clone (in a boy-version).
I totally remember being where he is.
Feeling what he’s feeling.
Wanting to give up because I don’t see the point of trying.
Being lazy instead of diligent when it’s hard or not fun.
Some days I’m still right there with him! Even at the age of 40.

This is why perspective is so critical.
HOW we see things dictates what we believe about… well… everything.
If I don’t choose to be joy-filled
and choose to be able to look beyond my circumstances,
my ‘right now’ pressures of life, or in my son’s case…
his daunting schoolwork syllabus…
I WILL, by default, be thrown hither and yon by the circumstances that swirl and rage around me.

My stresses, my to-do lists, my schedule, my responsibilities, my sagas…
all the things that weigh heavily on my heart and mind…
they will crush me and steal my joy.

And, in actuality, by not choosing to be joy-filled…
I am giving my joy away.

By choice.

This, of course, is easier said than done.
In my son’s case…
we’re just talking about schoolwork.

But what he learns about how to face unpleasant ‘little’ things
that feel huge will translate later into how to face horrific things,
like cancer, loss of a family member or job.

So that when those things come…
and they will…
we are not destroyed.

Our joy is not lost…
even in the midst of chaos and pain.

So where does that leave my precious son?
Well thankfully, after a lengthy, rather drama-filled, conversation…
He’s having his sister quiz him to make sure he’s really studied well for his two tests tomorrow.

He’s daily, sometimes minute-ly, having to make the choice that we need to do things,
walk through things that aren’t desirable to us…
to grow and get where God wants us to be.

He doesn’t always choose correctly.
But today he’s choosing joy
(via obedience, respect and a good attitude).

He’s choosing to work hard even though the pull
of rushing through his work carelessly so he’s ‘done’ and can go play
tugs on him with force equal to a hurricane.

He’s choosing not to let his desire to play become an idol,
but rather a goal to drive him to work harder,
smarter, more efficiently and effectively.

He’s choosing his perspective.

We all are choosing one or the other…
every day of our lives.
He’s choosing joy over circumstances.

So am I.

Which perspective are you choosing?

Homeschooling Just a Thought... Nature

Really Cool & Really Sad

My children pounded on our bedroom door this morning, which was highly unusual.

Thankfully I was already up getting ready for the day.

I opened it and was greeted by strained faces and my daughter saying,

“Mom, something happened and it was really cool and really sad.”

I wasn’t exactly sure how to react or respond to such an odd remark,

so I simply asked her to expand on what had actually happened.

She went on to explain that she was cozily sleeping when

W H A M!

there was a huge thud against her window.

Evidently my son was already awake and went in to see what had happened.

They then had discovered that a juvenile robin had flown into the window.

They speculated it had rolled down the roof, attempted to fly and landed, wings spread,

on the dewy lawn below {photo below on right}.

Once the story had been told, we all went to see if the bird still lay on the grass.

Sure enough, the poor little fella was still there sitting on the cold, wet grass with his wings spread out wide as if caught in mid-flight.

For a moment I didn’t know if he was still alive or not.

As I was admiring his beautiful plumage I noticed his eyes open, then his head turn a little.

Still he did not move his wings.

The kids, in their pj’s and warm coats,

ran to get our bird book to determine if our guess was right about it being a young robin {photo above on left}.

Sure enough, they found we were indeed correct.

They really wanted to pet the sweet, helpless bird… obviously, I didn’t allow it.

Poor little thing was frightened enough.

But as frightened as he might have been,

he didn’t attempt to move away from us even when my son offered him a worm…

very close to his face.

He didn’t eat the worm, but didn’t flinch either.

Eventually he slightly pulled in his wings, giving us hope that he hadn’t broken them.

I had taken a few photos with my little point and shoot I keep in my purse,

but was frustrated knowing that my full format camera was up stairs.

So I went to get it.

As soon as that little bird saw my giant 70-200mm f2.8 lens,

He moved!

Pretty fast, in fact, for a little one who just slammed into a window; he hopped all the way over near our fence.

I’ve been told by bird experts that large camera lenses look like eyeballs to wild animals and it can really freak them out.

Evidently, this sweet robin was no exception.

I felt bad I had scared him, but we were delighted that he could move.

We followed him as he hopped around the yard.

My son decided to offer another worm, but, again, the bird didn’t seem interested in it at all.

Finally he hopped off to the corner of our yard, thick with ferns and we headed in for breakfast.

We never did see him hop or fly away, but he wasn’t there when we checked after breakfast.

We’re hoping he recovers fully and doesn’t fly into any more windows.

I’m thankful that the phrase “really cool and really sad” wasn’t anything worse.


If you’re curious, the first image is with my Nikon D700 and the two images in the diptych are from my little point and shoot.