Tag Archives: family values

#realmothersdiversevoices: Jennifer Pepito

I am thrilled to be sharing a new interview series with you each and every week. In this series my intention is to reveal the endless ways our family values can inform our Daily Rhythm. The mothers I have interviewed lead diverse lives but they each have a huge sense of clarity about what their Family Values are (even if they change over time) and consciously and creatively strive to create a Daily Rhythm in alignment with those values.

It is my hope that through these stories more Mothers feel inspired to explore what their own family values are, to question them and bring them to life in their everyday experience. I know that seeing the world through another Mother’s lens will develop more empathy, understanding and compassion between us.

Today I am honoured to welcome Jennifer Pepito to Whole Family Rhythms community.

Jennifer Pepito is the creator of The Peaceful Preschool curriculum, and The Bountiful Homeschooling on a Budget course. She is also a regular contributor to the Wild and Free homeschool community. She can be found at The Peaceful Preschool or on Instagram @jenniferpepito. 

Who are you? Can you introduce yourself, your work and your family?

I am Jennifer Pepito, the mother of seven children ages 23 to 8, and wife of 26 years to my hardworking husband Scott. We currently live on a 5 acre mini farm in Northern California where we raise chickens, goats and sheep. I have been homeschooling my children for 18 years, and last year I took some of my favorite ideas for nurturing young children and created The Peaceful Preschool curriculum.

What is one of the greatest joys you experience as a Mother?

Although caring for young babies was a deeply delightful season for me, I am currently loving the companionship of each of my children. They are all so unique, but spending time with them, and navigating life together is a daily joy.

What is one of the biggest challenges you face daily as a Mother?

One of the biggest challenges that I face as a mother is pulling up my big girl panties each day and mothering well. It is easy to get tired, and tempted to just let my children veg on the computer, but for their joy and mine, I keep stirring up the energy to love and nurture and guide them.

What does having “Rhythm in your Home” mean to you?

Having a rhythm in my home means that each day I keep reinforcing reasonable healthy habits. As much as I love being spontaneous, basic civility in our home requires that we have rhythms for caring for our home, our bodies, and our spirits.

Can you give an example of some of your most cherished ‘Family Values’?

One of our most cherished family values is the nurture of our spiritual life. We feel that anything good that we do, flows out of the joy we are filled with as we worship our God. We make daily spiritual nurture a priority above most other things.

How do you hope to pass these values on to your children? Or in other words, how do you manifest these family values in your daily rhythm?

Aside from basic home and body care, we start each day with devotional time that usually includes some singing, some devotional reading, and some quiet reflective time. This reinforces to the children still at home daily that our spiritual life and relationship with Father God is worth nurturing. We also pause during any crisis to ask God to intervene.

Can you outline a typical ‘Weekday Rhythm’ for you and your children. Specifically when/where/how do you and your little ones eat, sleep/rest, play inside/outside, work/learn and make time for selfcare?

My days aren’t always exactly the same, but what we usually aim for is;

6:45 Wake up, grab coffee and head back to bed for a few minutes of phone time, Bible reading, and journaling.

7:30 Yoga, usually to Christian worship music.

8:00 Quick run with an older son or outside time to check on livestock and gardens.

8:30 Check children’s morning home and bodycare.

9:00 Morning time with children which includes devotional reading, singing, prayer, memory work, Spanish, and read aloud time.

10:30 Seat work, including math, reading and writing.

12:00 Lunch

1:30  My work time- children usually read quietly or play outside. A few days a week we head out in the afternoon for classes or other lessons.

4:00 My husband comes home early and we switch gears to do family work projects

5:00 Family dinners are a regular occurrence, often followed by reading aloud.

A few nights a week we will follow dinner with some family singing time, once or twice a week we might watch a show or movie in the evening. We have several young adults and older teens at home, so there is always someone to talk to or to work through an issue with. We also have a couple nights a week where we are at a meeting or class.

How important are higher belief systems, stories, literature, art, family history and creative expression to your family? How do you weave these into your family life?

Our spiritual life is the core of our family life, and from that flow many varieties of creative expression. We regularly paint, listen to music, dance, play instruments, read aloud, or even just sit and listen for God’s voice as part of our faith. Erwin McManus says, “A soul that is free and alive is a the soul that creates”, and we see that the more our spirit connects with the Holy Spirit, the more creative we become.

When does your family rhythm get thrown off kilter?

Our rhythm is most thrown off kilter when we are discouraged. When our emotions start to lead instead of our spirit, we can see things through a less hopeful lens which can lead to looking for comfort instead of sticking with healthy patterns. That is just a part of life, and it isn’t always a bad thing to ditch a routine for needed comfort, but we try to work through those emotions, instead of spiralling into a life that is chaotic.

Do you consciously re-evaluate and change your family rhythm with the seasons and ages and stages of your kids?

Our family rhythm and even our family values have changed greatly through the years. Earlier, we were much more concerned about doing things right, and through failing to get things right, we changed focus. We have become much more concerned with loving God and receiving His love. It is only when we know we are loved, that we can continue to muster up the energy to love well.

When you’re feeling stuck, tired, frustrated with your role as Mother, what do you need most to shift your energy and perception?

What I usually do to shift my energy when I am tired and frustrated, is put on my favorite Justin Byrne album and get a blank page in front of me. I journal my feelings, as well as what I feel God is saying about the situation. This has helped bring clarity to many difficult days. If I am too off kilter and confused for that step, I might just have a glass of wine and go to bed with a good book. Sometimes a bad day just needs to be left behind before we can get clarity on it.

If you could recommend one book to ALL Mothers out there what would it be?

I think the three that have most impacted me in the last several years are Heaven on Earth, Simplicity Parenting, and Raising Burning Hearts.

Thank you so much for your presence here, Jennifer and for so openly sharing your family values, rhythm and vision. 

#realmothersdiversevoices : Meagan Wilson

I am thrilled to be sharing a new interview series with you each and every week. In this series my intention is to reveal the endless ways our family values can inform our Daily Rhythm. The mothers I have interviewed lead diverse lives but they each have a huge sense of clarity about what their Family Values are (even if they change over time) and consciously and creatively strive to create a Daily Rhythm in alignment with those values.

It is my hope that through these stories more Mothers feel inspired to explore what their own family values are, to question them and bring them to life in their everyday experience. I know that seeing the world through another Mother’s lens will develop more empathy, understanding and compassion between us.

To kick off the series I thought it was only fair to share my own answers. Next week we will hear from Jennifer Pepito of the Peaceful Preschool.

Who are you? Can you introduce yourself, your work and your family?

I am Meagan Wilson, founder of Whole Family Rhythms, Mother, Wife, visionary writer & creator. Whole Family Rhythms is an online community and business that aims to connect and inspire mothers, carers and communities with each other so that they feel empowered to raise children who are wholly connected with themselves (head, heart and hands) and to the planet. I have four gorgeous children, three of which are still immersed in ‘Early Childhood’.

What is one of the greatest joys you experience as a Mother?

Watching my children shed a layer of fear or doubt while discovering more confidence and a sense of self-understanding than they had before.

What is one of the biggest challenges you face daily as a Mother?

Emotionally I struggle with the normal (and sometimes not as normal) pain and suffering my children experience as a result of being human (social upsets, stomachaches, allergies, fears). As a Mother, if I could shield my children from as much suffering as I could, I would! And everyday I am confronted with the truth that in all life there is both joy and suffering and we cannot protect our children from any of it.

What does having “Rhythm in your Home” mean to you?

Rhythm for our family is creating a predicable flow of daily events which act as a compass- leading the way and keeping us on course. Our Monthly, Weekly and Daily Rhythms are consciously animated to reflect our family’s values and beliefs.

Can you give an example of some of your most cherished ‘Family Values’?

  • Love, Respect and Connection amongst all family members
  • Experiencing creative expression & freedom each day
  • Consciously consuming food and materials so that we align our family values with our consumption patterns
  • Growing, Raising and Making our own food
  • Protecting the Wonder in Childhood
  • Modelling gratitude and generosity everyday

How do you hope to pass these values on to your children? Or in other words, how do you manifest these family values in your daily rhythm?

With young children we as parents try to model these values as much as we can. This means embodying these values ourselves through our thoughts, words and actions. This takes a lot of inner work, thought and conscious action on our part. So for example, instead of lecturing young children about being generous, we will try regularly model acts of generosity like baking muffins for a neighbour or helping a friend in need.

Can you outline a typical ‘Weekday Rhythm’ for you and your children. Specifically when/where/how do you and your little ones eat, sleep/rest, play inside/outside, work/learn and make time for selfcare?

5am Adults wake up, Mama meditates,
5:30 Dad does barn chores and milks, Mama prepares breakfast and packs lunches
6am everyone wakes up, eats breakfast, makes beds and gets dressed
7:15 Mama or Dad take two older children to school, parent who takes children to school then heads to the office
8:30 Parent who stayed home with younger children is with them for the day, clean up house, free play
9:30 Outside Time
11 Morning Tea, Guided Theme of the Day, Inside Free Play
12 Lunch
12:30 Nap/Rest time/Stories
1:30 Dinner Prep
2pm Wake up, afternoon snack, Outside Play
3:30pm Parent at work picks school children up
4:30pm Whole Family is home together, free play, music practice
5:15/30 Dinner
6 Bath, Teeth, Hair
6:30 Two little ones books, blessings and bed by 7
7pm Six-year-old chapter book and some readers aloud, eight-year-old independent reading
7:30 Guided meditation with eight-year-old,
8pm Brad and I have a cup of tea, talk, discuss week’s plans, read
9:30 Bed for grown-ups

How important are higher belief systems, stories, literature, art, family history and creative expression to your family? How do you weave these into your family life?

We use Pagan/Christian Festivals to weave virtues and moral lessons into the year. We do not dogmatically follow any one religion but draw from different spiritual pools. Artistic self-expression is a strong value of ours. Our son plays the piano or with his guitar constantly which we put very few limits on. My older daughter has watercolour paints, brushes, glues, scissors, crayons and a variety of paper in her room which she can access at any time- which is most days. My younger children have access to crayons, paper, modelling dough and other artistic materials whenever they choose. We also try to make time for poetry, music and some movement as much as we can.

When does your family rhythm get thrown off kilter?

When we’re sick we go into a different sort of family rhythm. Once everyone is well again it takes about a week to get back into our regular family rhythm.

Do you consciously re-evaluate and change your family rhythm with the seasons and ages and stages of your kids?

Yes we follow the rhythm of the seasons so that the artistic crafts, songs, stories and lessons we learn are in tune with what is happening in the physical world around us. So for example right now bedtimes are a bit later than in the deep Winter because there is more light. We are decorating eggs because it’s close to Easter, we’re planting seeds for the garden and we’re eating more raw greens as they become locally available.

When you’re feeling stuck, tired, frustrated with your role as Mother, what do you need most to shift your energy and perception?

Time alone! When I am disciplined enough (or everyone is well enough- because sick children wreak havoc on our Rhythm) to give myself a whole hour or longer in the mornings before anyone else is awake, my days are magical. I am very slow to wake up and I feel I have a lot creatively to digest, process and express right after sleep so this time is critical to my presence and contentedness.

If you could recommend one book to ALL Mothers out there what would it be?

Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Our Family Traditions : Easter

Easter like Christmas can be a challenging holiday to celebrate for those who want to create meaningful family traditions, but who are also not strictly or philosophically connected to the Christian religion in any way.

Although my oldest child is ready for Biblical stories and their powerful moral and metaphorical interpretations, my other three children (under 7) are far too young to be told the story of Jesus’ death and rebirth.

All of this said,  I still aim to model and draw attention to some of the values and lessons associated with Easter such as self-sacrifice for the sake of the whole, new beginnings and the natural cycle of death and rebirth (especially in the natural world- plants, animals).

To help me with this, I rely heavily on Ostara, (the pagan feast/Spring Equinox festival) from which many easter traditions and customs were born from.

What is most important for our children is not so much whether we follow a specific religion or not but that if we choose to celebrate a holiday, that we authentically honour the festival by drawing on its values consciously.
Every year I ask myself once again (because sometimes our values change):
  • Why do we as a family celebrate at this time?
  • What is this tradition all about and what does it mean to us?

It’s so easy to get carried away with the material associations we have with the holidays that we sometimes forget to meditate on the underlying magic or spiritualism associated with them.

Here are a few of our personal Easter Traditions that I believe bring to life the values associated with this holiday:

  • Planting bulbs a month or so before Easter and watching them slowly bloom
  • Creating an easter tree- blowing eggs, painting or dying them with watercolours and hanging them on a bare branch placed in a tall vase
  • Adorning the Nature Table with Easter and Spring decorations such as bunnies, homemade candles, spring flowers and decorated eggs
  • Choosing a toy with the children that is clean, undamaged and special to give to charity (self-sacrifice)
  • Telling an Easter story once a week for the few weeks leading up to Easter (you can find it in the Spring Guide).
  • Having an egg hunt on Easter morning in the garden. The children discover many hard boiled eggs (they are less breakable) that are dyed in secret. These are from the Easter Bunny or Easter Hare. At the end of their hunt they usually find a small handmade felt toy or decoration and a small fair-trade chocolate egg in their tiny easter baskets
  • Sharing a big family meal together, often hosting or visiting extended family and friends

What are some of your Easter traditions? If you are not religious in the strict sense, do you find it difficult to connect with this holiday? How do you overcome this?

Mindful Parenting : Gentle Discipline Part Two

Today, I wanted to look more closely into the concept of “Gentle Disciple“, “Simple Discipline“, “Loving Authority” or “Respectful Discipline“. I think this subject is often a sticky web of mixed concepts and expectations, including strands from our own childhood, inconsistent societal expectations, cultural overlays and personal expectations. Through this three-part series I will attempt… read more




Book Club : Simplicity Parenting Chapter One

Today I will be summarizing and discussing the first chapter of Kim John Payne’s book, Simplicity Parenting. In a world where childhood seems to be flooded with too much, too fast and too soon Payne helps parents clear the way to a simpler, more connected and whole-hearted family life. After reading this book parents will feel empowered… read more