I was recently asked what I've learned about parenting from John. This was my response:

           "As I've watched my husband father our 5 children for almost 19 years, I have learned a lot about parenting that is unique to him. John has a way of teaching that is gentle, yet deliberate, that reaches our children far better than the constant reminding that happens in the daily routines of our busy family life. When he has a concern, he finds a quiet time to sit down and talk with that child. It’s the one on one time he takes that makes the difference. Although his many responsibilities sometimes limit the time he has with our children, John makes a point of connecting with each of them at the end of the day, scratching their backs, asking them how their day was and telling them a story, personal or scriptural, from memory. It's amazing how well even the teens respond to him when he's scratching their backs. 

         I think the most important thing I'm learning from him is taught by overhearing these conversations: the lesson of seeking forgiveness.  When it has been a rough parenting day, John will sit on the edge of the child’s bed and explain that even though as parents we try hard, we aren't perfect. He explains that as a family we are sometimes learning things for the first time together. He apologizes if he got upset or said the wrong thing and asks for forgiveness. I'm still learning this from him. It takes a humble dad, a humble man, to do that and I love him for it." 

Part of my response was used in an article by Heidi Smith Luedtke, Ph.D. She sent me an email several weeks later to let me know where it would be published.
Here's the list!
Montgomery Parents (Alabama)
Little Rock Family (Arkansas)
Austin Family (Texas)
Space City Parent (Houston, Texas)
Broward Family (Florida)
Eastern Shore Parents (Alabama)
Simply Family (Montana)
Volusia Parent (Florida)
Flagler Parent (Florida)
Atlanta Parent (Georgia)

Isn't that exciting?? I'm so pleased I get to share a little bit of John with so many families!
I discovered what a "talk talk" is quite by accident when researching possible titles for our book. Turns out our title isn't all that original. Why? Because there is a whole genre called "table talk". Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it:

"Table talk is a species of memoir in which a collector (biographer, colleague, friend, etc.) records impromptu comments by some famous person (made generally at the dining table or in small get-togethers), in anticipation of their lasting value. " It then goes on to make a list of famous published "table talks".

Isn't that perfect? It not only points to the purpose of Table Talk, but adds value to it. As parents we are the collectors "recording" the impromptu comments made by our children as we ask them questions "in anticipation of their lasting value". This starts by asking them meaningful questions. While we may not be physically recording their answers, the values you transmit during these conversations will definitely be written in their hearts. As you work to get your children talking, the trick may be in making them feel as if they are that "famous person" whose thoughts really matter. If you want them to hear, listen.

I was recently asked to write a guest blog post on my perspective on Mother's Day.
So here it is!
While trying to remember my favorite Mother’s Day, I started reading past journal/blog entries and got caught up looking through pictures and reliving the memories.

I smiled at the useful gifts: “I got new mixing bowls that no one has ever thrown up in or used to wash the car!” “Guess who was first to try out the new vacuum attachment for the stairs…and still in his work clothes.”

I laughed at the plans I made for myself: “I’m excited to have the missionaries over for dinner tomorrow night, ensuring me good food and a clean house. What more could I ask for?”

I cried remembering the years of struggle. “I try hard to remember that Mother’s Day is just like any other day except that my family gives me presents for doing what I love. Most years it works great. Other years not so much. Instead, as my kids point out my strengths, I remember my weaknesses and where I can improve. This year I can’t seem to let go of all the sad, tragic events happening in lives around me. Sometimes I wish I had a magic wand to fix all the hard things in life. But if I had to pick: natural disasters or family disasters? I know which I’d pick. So I’ll go back and read those nice cards and realize I’m doing a pretty good job as a mother…or at the very least I have good goals to be. And I’ll try to be more grateful. Try. Try. Try.”

I gushed at my husband’s thoughtfulness: “For our Mother’s Day date, John took me on a quiet picnic by the lake. My favorite part was when I jokingly said, ‘I would love to see a bald eagle. That would be so cool. Could you make that happen?’ John laughed. Not 30 seconds later, a bald eagle swooped down, grabbed a fish, circled overhead and flew off. True story. How did he make that happen?”

I loved more than anything the handmade gifts and sweet, sometime hilarious, messages from my children, like the one written on a paper plate by a 7 year old: “I know that I always don’t have cash so I got you something for free…coupons!” “Tori, took all the writing space so I’ll just say Thank you and I love you.” And my favorite: “I hope when you’re old, you can look back at this card and say, ‘My daughter gave this to me. And look how far she’s come.’”

Overall, when I think about Mother’s Day I think it’s awesome that the people I love give me gifts and pampering for doing what I was born to do, what I’ve chosen to do, and what I love to do!

If you don’t love Mother’s Day, I have some tips that have helped me in the past.

  1. If you aren’t yet a mother, honor your own mother or another mother who you admire.
  2. The adversary wants nothing more than to devalue motherhood. Try not to let self-defeating thoughts get in the way of celebrating the day(s) you became a mother.
  3. Remember that no matter how much we want it, our Superhero’s power is not mind-reading.
I hope you all (both the mothers and the mothered) have a fantastic Mother’s Day!

I was recently asked by a reporter for sheknows.com about my involvement in my kids' lives, specifically volunteering at the school. It was recently featured with interviews from 3 other moms: Secrets of Involved Moms.

NAME & STATE: Tina Bushman, Washington State
KIDS/AGES: 5 Kids-7, 9, 12 ,15, 18

On two afternoons every week, I volunteer in my 1st and 3rd graders' classes for about 3 hours. I help with the weekly "At Home" reading program, check homework, make copies, material prep, and anything the teacher may need help with. I often go to PE with my sons just for the chance to play with them and their friends.

HOW DO YOU KEEP TRACK OF EVERYTHING YOU HAVE TO DO? DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL SYSTEM? I've blocked out "school" as a weekly commitment on my calendar for those two days and stick to it.

I usually only volunteer for the tasks that I can do while in my child's classroom during the time that I am there. My whole point of being there is to help my child's teacher directly and to be involved with my children. I love to observe how my child interacts with his classmates and friends.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU TO BE SO INVOLVED IN YOUR KIDS' ACTIVITIES?  It is important for me to know who my child is friends with at school and what type of environment they are spending a large portion of their time in. It's also important for me to get to know the teacher, his/her expectations and how he/she interacts with the class. I believe teachers are more patient with the student whose parent is involved in the classroom. It has also helped me be more aware of the areas my child is struggling with. Also, my kids love me to be there. They often ask if I'll be at the school on a particular day or for a special event. When I walk in the classroom, they and some of their friends greet me with a hug, when they are little, or a wave, when they are a little older.

Never in 14 yrs of volunteering have I felt like a teacher didn't really want my help. The teachers are so grateful to have even a little bit of help because they are able to do more in the little time they have. They are more than willing to train a new volunteer. I was mostly trained by fellow volunteers and now find myself training the new volunteers. Most tasks take very little skill. Just jump in. When my children were young, I found a like-minded mother in either my neighborhood or in my child's class to trade babysitting with so that we could both volunteer at the school. I've found that if you really want to do something, you can find the time. There is no greater investment for your time than with your children.

To this she responded: You are a rock star! 

Which is silly. I'm only doing what a lot of mothers do. And there are so many out there doing even more. Like PTA! Now those are the real rock stars. :) 

It went well. We learned a lot from the experience and the sales were great!
You can read our story of how Table Talk came to be at Macaroni Kid! While there subscribe to their newsletter. We love knowing all the family friendly events happening in our area!
John and Tina will be available to answer questions at their Meet the Author and Table Talk Book Signing at Barnes & Noble Saturday, March 16th from 11:00am to 1:00pm. See you there!