Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tags and Mother Theresa

Here is my friend Teri's response to the "ideal mother" question (in case you missed it in the comments).
Hmmm, that is a hard one. Maybe a combo of June Cleaver, Betty Crocker, Martha Stewart (the crafty,creative side) Jane Goodall(because I live with Monkey's ;), and Mother Theresa!
May 29, 2007 6:12 pm

Do you see?

And then I finally talk with my long-lost friend/soul sister Melissia tonight on the phone (it must have been over a week!), and she tells me that she's thinking long and hard about this question. And that Mother Theresa is on the list.

Do you see?

So of course I'm now only waiting on Julie, who is, of course, Mother Theresa Herself sans crucifix and rosary beads.

So now you see. Now you see why I've selfishly collected these beautiful souls around me. Gathered them up, boxed them in (well, not literally) and have them always within arm's reach.

(shaking her head) I aspire to be Samantha with her Twitching Nose and Irritating Mother, and they aim for Mother Theresa.
I am a lucky, lucky girl to be exposed to such gracefulness.

sidenote: I did not bother the Other Mama's with this question only because they are terribly busy, not because I don't equally admire and cherish them - or else because they are not Public Bloggers. :)

Still awaiting for Melissia's official and Julie's response, :)
A feeling playful Steph

Supplementary Unschooling

The last month or so I've been thinking of others who are homeschoolers - ie 'school at home' style educators, and how they must view unschooling.
If they read my blog from back to front, they would probably think something like "that's all fine and good, but not enough. Never enough!"
I was checking out a couple of blogs this morning, strangers blogs, places I've never before visited.
One of them mentioned that they were now done with school for the year, and that they would now practice unschooling ways for learning over the summer. The writer even said something about celebrating, and hoping that these fun days would sustain the relationship with her children during later trying times.
I'm trying not to get too specific here, it is not my intent to appear to be bashing another's ideas or ways. What I'm trying to do is to broaden and explore my own fascination with, and understanding of learning.

It seems to me that a lot of home educators really like the idea of child-led learning. It affords them freedom and they recognize that children get enthusiastic, and absorb information in this manner at an astounding rate. They (parents) get to taste and feel the beauty of it, and they don't feel pressure to steer the exploration into a particular direction. They like the peace of it, I think.
But I'm wondering what really stops them from believing that it's enough.
Again, I'm not meaning to examine this in a condemning way, or to say that these parents are wrong.

I do wonder what that element is, though. Is it mostly fear? Fear that the child won't be a success? Fear that they'll not know how to get along in society? Fear that they'll have to support them for the next 60 years?
Or maybe it's pride. Having a child that is well above grade-level. One that stands out from his peers. Obviously special. I think we all want that, we see the beauty and greatness in our children, and want the entire world to recognize their shininess.
Maybe it's just personal philosophy.
Some people think (I am learning) that children, and people, should be controlled. That without rigorous practices, they'll just become horrid monsters who cannot be controlled. Or else just spin off the earth.
But I'm being pretty extreme in this supposition. I'll reframe it. I think some (most!) people believe that there are certain things that you just have to do in this life, and school is preparation for such a life.
Which is a strange notion to me. I mean, it seems like it's akin to preparing someone for the death of a loved one. I don't mean one who is dying, but one who is alive and well. A "bad things happen" mentality. As if we don't experience pain, disappointment, and a gamut of other unjoyous things every day of our lives.

I don't know what it is.
And it's not as if I am not familiar with any of the above emotions. (except the controlling part, I give children and people much more credit than that.)

It makes me feel sad, though, that people would find a peace and happiness in this way of learning with their children, and then discount it, believing for whatever reason that this happiness, or any other, is not what life is about.
If not joy, then what?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I said yesterday that I was trying to capture something, and couldn't quite get it.
I spent half the day today trying, as well, but my lcd screen isn't working, and my viewfinder is of course in a different position. So my angle was off.
Here is the best I could capture it. Maybe you'll get the idea, maybe not.

This particular thing (besides from obsessing me half the day yesterday and today) is a great distraction to me. Not just this doorway alone but all of the related interesting things in my life that represent charming temptations.
And there are many!
There are the children, and bubbles. And funny happenings throughout the day for which I must fetch the camera. Interesting bugs. Fascinating conversations. Birds and butterflies to admire. Tours of my gardens, with touches, and close-ups, and deep inhalations. Swings to push and pull.

Usually, prior to last month, I'd just sit at the computer for about four days - from about seven in the morning until eleven or later at night. Get-it-done, get-it-done, get-it-done. Deadlines!

I've changed my ways. I start a few days earlier. Or at least, try to. And I leave it for a while when Trev's ready for a turn on the pc. I'm kinder. And more relaxed. And friendlier.
And I finish a day or so later than I'd like. But now it's done.

And now I suppose The Doorway will become a Regular Sort Of Thing again, and lose most of it's enchantment.
But that's a good thing.
Taking the seldom and extraordinary, and drawing it so deeply into your life that it just becomes a part of who you are. Transforming "special" Life Magic into "ordinary" Life Magic.
That's what this unschooling life is about, for me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Truth Hurts - A Confession

Okay - it's really, really late, well, for me, but I just had to get this off my chest!

This is in part for those of you who are possibly rolling your eyes at the self-aggrandizement of my latest posts. (I'm referring to others caring or noticing what is written here.)

It's quite possible that I have been puffing up my feathers - all three of them- and here's why.
Have you seen that book quiz going around?
You answer a few questions, and people are told that they're like a grand and glorious book, and here's why?
Like the dictionary, or funny novels, or grandly adventurous ones, whatever.
I won't pretend that I am well read and that I have read any of those books - besides my beloved dictionary - but they gave a helpful paragraph to go along with it (others results).
Do you know what book I got?
Well, I can't remember the title, so I'll take you through the quiz..

Are you long-winded or concise?
a) Well, I do tend to go on and on...
b) Concise
Okay - this was hard for me. I just feel a need to express and explain, but I try not to add unnecessarily. Put it to dh. He said long-winded. Hmmph.
Fine!, long-winded.

Do you feel old?
Easy. No.

Which of these is your mantra?
Just the facts, Ma'am.
Truth is stranger than fiction.
Well now, it depends. Uh... um... I guess truth is stranger.

Which climate do you prefer?
What? Neither! 80's, if you please. Fine. Hot.

Do you like Oprah?
Yes. Though I don't watch her show. I like her personally.

Which region is more interesting?
Latin America

You're The Poisonwood Bible!
by Barbara Kingsolver
Deeply rooted in a religious background, you have since become both isolated and schizophrenic. You were naively sure that your actions would help people, but of course they were resistant to your message and ultimately disaster ensued. Since you can see so many sides of the same issue, you are both wise beyond your years and tied to worthless perspectives. If you were a type of waffle, it would be Belgian.

(choking and sputtering... which eventually dissolved into sniffles)
You can see where I might be slightly (psh) offended, don't you?
Sort of like getting smacked in the face, with an added "No one cares a whit about your worthless, nonsense, all fluff and no merit perspectives."
Now I had not imagined that I am terribly interesting, wise, or in possession of an abundant amount of wit, but I had supposed I've a modicum of such things. Enough to live and breathe, anyway.
Been stewing over this one for a couple of days.

So now you know!

Take the book quiz from blue pyramid

Blogging Friends

One other thing I've been thinking about (I'm supposed to be working on bc calendars, but I choose distractions every few minutes when I've been at it for a long time)...
Since I installed the counters at the beginning of this month, I've found that a few people come here to read about us. I'm always looking for other interesting blogs, if you come here to visit once in a while, I'd love for you do drop a comment so that I can see what life is offering up to you.
Always interested in others stories,


Dear friends-
I feel really funny (supercilious) about even mentioning such a thing...
but since I'm vastly curious about it I will...

I found a post I wrote on this website (called Unbridled Learning) and at first I wasn't sure what the heck was going on. As far as I can tell, the administrator read this post, and liked it? And so put my post/blog into a read-worthy unschoolers/philosophy grouping? Huh?
Of course, it's just the One Post, not all of my writings.
But still, I am most flattered and priveledged, I think... at least until I find where they said "this person is a moron."

I've been frantically trying to figure out what it means, for better or worse.....

May 29

This is a really interesting "capture" for me.
There is another view, too, that really calls to me, but as I tried to capture it this late afternoon, the sun went down, and I couldn't get the magic that reveals itself to me each day. I'll try again tomorrow morning.

Anyway. The only thing that would improve this photograph would be if the garage was still in the state of disrepair of about a week ago. Alas, it has since been painted (not my choice). Old wooden garage with charmingly nostalgic paned window.
An old-fashioned strung-between trees clothes line.
Lovely pink and ivory fragrant roses.
A practical, if unattractive redwood and cylinder block fence for the shade garden.

Interesting how well these things seem to speak for my life.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I've had a thought looming for a few weeks... since Julie sent me some "info about you" emails, and I've been reading others tags.
My idea involves an interesting question, then tagging others, thereby soliciting their response. They, in turn, ask a question of whomever they choose to tag.
And so on.
I'm thinking silly or sublime, your call.

Shall we make it official?
What if no one wants to play?

The rules:
After receiving your question, answer in any way you see fit.
Next think of a question (anything!) to pose to anyone you choose.
They may pass the question (after they've answered it) on to whomever they choose.
So once you've answered the question, think of another to tag friends with!

My question - Who is your idea of an Ideal Mother?
My answer: A mixture of (a laughing) Mary Poppins, Samantha Stevens, and Ms. Frizzle (from Magic School Bus).

And I tag: Julie, Melissia, and Teri!
(If you are a reader of this blog, and you are a blogger yourself, consider yourself tagged - and feel free to send your questions back here!)

Hoping someone wants to play,

May 28

I was reading Our Report Card the other day, and Katherine mentioned this article in the New York Times. It's called This is Your Life (And How You Tell It).
Here's a quote from early in the article:
When we first started studying life stories, people thought it was just idle curiosity — stories, isn’t that cool?” said Dan P. McAdams, a professor of psychology at Northwestern and author of the 2006 book, “The Redemptive Self.” “Well, we find that these narratives guide behavior in every moment, and frame not only how we see the past but how we see ourselves in the future.”

This, friends, is why I love journaling online so.
Because it causes me to notice the magic, and to savor the taste and feel of it.

And I believe it's true that doing this not only guides my focus right this minute, but will also aid me in noticing the sparklies in my tomorrows.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Yesterday there seemed to be an abundant amount of life whizzing and whirring in our backyard, considerably more than usual.

When we brought our beloved Macky-dog home, and were getting the ground and our minds ready for burial, there were several - six to ten, Eric said- crows flying around and then sitting and talking to eachother.
Isn't that interesting?
Crows are a symbol for death in many cultures and religions.

It felt to me like Nature's send-off.
Like all the local God-Animal energies were in a flurry to gather together in unity and song to send a part of themselves back to the Mother.
As if they were saying "Godspeed, Friend!"

Friday, May 25, 2007


Goodbye to you my trusted friend,
We've known each other since we're nine or ten,
Together we've climbed hills and trees,
Learned of love and abc's,
Skinned our hearts and skinned our knees.

Goodbye my friend it's hard to die,
When all the birds are singing in the sky,
Now the spring is in the air,
Pretty girls are everywhere,
Think of me and I'll be there.

We had joy we had fun we had seasons in the sun,
But the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.

Goodbye papa please pray for me,
I was the black sheep of the family,
You tried to teach me right from wrong,
Too much wine and too much song,
Wonder how I got along.

Goodbye papa it's hard to die,
When all the birds are singing in the sky,
Now the spring is in the air,
Little children everywhere,
When you see them I'll be there.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun
But the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.

Goodbye Michelle my little one,
You gave me love and helped me find the sun.
And every time that I was down,
You would always come around,
And get my feet back on the ground.

Goodbye Michelle, it's hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now the spring is in the air
With the flowers everywhere
I wish that we could both be there.

We had joy we had fun we had seasons in the sun,
But the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.

Goodbye papa please pray for me
I was the black sheep of the family
You tried to teach me right from wrong
Too much wine and too much song
Wonder how I got along.

Goodbye papa it's hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now the spring is in the air
Little children everywhere
When you see them I'll be there.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun
But the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.

song written originally by Jacques Brel
rewritten by Rod McKuen

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Aah damn. (of a different sort)

'Member how I said that I suspect Macky is on his way out?

Tonight he's sort of stuck, and not able to walk, and incontinent, and not able to do anything about it.
I think, dear friends, that it may be time.
Eric gave him some ibuprofen (we figure it can't hurt him at this point), but it's not really helping, either. I've called to see what the particulars are.

Cried while looking up "euthanize utah" online.
Talked to Trevy.
Told him "we may have to take Max to be put to sleep tomorrow."
"I'm just not comfortable with that," was his exact response."Well, I'm not comfortable, either. But here is why I think it may be the right thing to do....."

My mom said (it seemed to me accusingly) a week or two ago "You need to put him to sleep, Stephanie. Look at him. Poor thing."
I replied with something like "He's just old. Do you want me to have You put to sleep just because you can't get around so good anymore?"
All along I've said and thought that when he 'Let's Us Know'...... when he can't get around, and can't get to his food and water, and can't get outside to do his business, or he demonstrates that he is in pain, then and only then will I put him to sleep. Or help him on his way. Or kick him out, as I sometimes see it.
Aah. So now we've come to this.

I must say, Trev asked some very beautiful questions. And I spoke some very beautiful and articulate words, friends. Can't name them at the moment, as I am listening to my Macky-doo breathe heavy, and seeing him struggle a bit, even with his funny Macky-dog puppy, vibrant face.
I suspect that over the next week or month or two you'll hear quite a few words regarding this matter. Off again and on again.

Aah, Max.
Mama loves you.


I'd like to say that I don't suppose that this path is the Final Frontier.

This is my blog, and these are my thoughts, but for Heaven's Sake, I do not suppose that I am at the very end of the road, and these words/opinions/thoughts are what all humans should strive for.
Do I give that impression?
Do I give the impression that "I know I am Right, and nothing any thinking person has to say will penetrate into my narrow mind and make any difference?"
God, I certainly hope not.

These thoughts are my progression. And sometimes regression. They are thoughts, and supposes, and daydreams, and guesses. And some are strong beliefs, and even convictions. But they are not absolutes - I know well (and accept) that I may feel differently tomorrow.

I love to be engaged in philosophical conversations! I do my best thinking and changing, when someone says, "but if you believe absolutely in xxx, then it squeezes out the joy and enlightenment that yyy brings."

Learning and changing and growing is what I strive to do!
And you receive those life-affirming benefits by being shown a different way.
Never in rigidity.
Always with an open heart.
And mind.... and hand.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

School Imitates Life?

I've been thinking for a year or so now about the whole smart baby thing, and my ideas are evolving to include my growing and aging children.
Online parent centers, Einstein Baby, Gymboree, etc.
Things that by design are for for the most part playing upon parents' fears.
There are exceptions, of course, some adults and children have special circumstances and needs, and the whole "Art Imitates Life" thing is a great blessing for them.
But I find it curious, for the most part, that people would buy (literally) so deeply into the whole idea.
Buy this video, place your nine month old in front of it (or on your lap, if you're especially dedicated) and sit and look at pictures of cows, and dogs, and babies' faces, and ducks, and zebras.
And we'll name them as we go along.

Later on we'll sell you a first-grader cd-rom to play on your computer, and you can play a game with an octopus - he'll tell you what kind of pizza to make, and you put on the toppings, and he'll slide it into the oven. Ready? Half mushroom, One quarter pepperoni, One quarter sausage! Go!
This particular game is on JumpStart, which I love.

If you look through early curriculum books, you get such questions such as "Which of these does not belong?" and "Which is less, and which is more?" and "Which is larger?" or smaller. And there's sorting, and classifying, etc.

You can do all of these things to prepare your young child for real life, and its challenges.

Or, you can take strolls around the neighborhood, and see ducks, and kitty-cats, and dogs of all shapes and sizes, and interesting trucks, and lots of faces, and hear many, many interesting and diverse noises. And you can visit the farm. And the park. And the zoo. And the natural history museum. And Great Aunt Hilde with her seventeen cats. Who, incidentally, always has something wondrously delicious just now coming out of the oven - just for you.

You could also make your own pizzas. With pepperoni on half, mushrooms on the whole thing, and green peppers on half.
And chocolate chip cookies. And bread. And brownies (which is on our to-do list today!)

And you can help to clean up, and put the forks with the forks, and spoons with the spoons in the silverware drawer. And put the biggest pan at the bottom of the stack in the cupboard, and the smallest pot on top.
And you can clean your room, and put your cars in the red basket, your dinosaurs in the biggest box, your Star Wars toys in the blue one, and your Animal Rescue stuff in the other big blue box.

The purpose of education is to prepare people for the rest of their lives. To teach them to be able to support themselves, get along within a society, and how to manage their affairs competently.
The purpose of public school originally was to get people ready to be in the work force. Learn how to take orders. Learn how to work. And to learn the value of conformity.

It seems to me that between the two, the best value is education (the process of developing the knowledge, skill, mind, character, etc).

I realize, of course, that most (hopefully) parents will not assume that their children are living rich and full lives simply because they are enrolled in public or private school.
They'll probably still take a romp into the woods on the weekend. And visit the zoo. And drive to the beach once a month if it's less than two hours away. And catch and identify frogs from a nearby pond.
They'll be willing to take a picture of the lizard that they chased for an hour, so that they'll be sure to get its description exactly right when they get home to look it up.

It seems that the whole school thing is just a way to ensure that one is exposed to various cultures, and creeds, and opinions, and observations, and theories.

Some might say that it's easy to be so positive and comfortable about my children learning when they're so young.
But I don't expect my children's inquiries to become arrested at age seven. Why would they be? My son's learning didn't stop once he learned to say "Mama! Cookie." Or once Maddie learned to walk.
Why would we assume that their curiosity about the world, and their desire to make sense of it wouldn't mature as they themselves do?
Mine certainly didn't.

It seems to me that all of these 'tools' are just contrivances to help parents feel secure that they're doing right by their child. Giving them a leg up - a head start on life.
It is not my intent to criticize those that have their children in school. This blog is about my take on parenting and living an unschooled life.
While thinking and being an uschooler, I am finding more and more that these attempts to educate our children are just a textbook way of imitating real life.
Why not just dance? Why not visit an old railroad monument? Why not take a four hour drive to a deserted ghost town? Why not spin wool?

Why not live the Experience?
And bask in it, and feel it, and taste it?....

Emotional Health

I am trying to get really clear about my intentions regarding my own and my children's emotional health.

I think I can categorize what I'd like to achieve into just a few thoughts -
Judgments - shed my own tendencies to censor and censure.
Help them to understand the purpose of their emotions - that they let us know what we're thinking about, and creating.
There is an answer somewhere for the question of what responsibility does one have for another's emotions.
I think the answer for me has to do with the Golden Rule, or can be observed and experienced through the natural law of cause and effect, among others.
Lastly is dissension - I'd like to find a way for all of us to develop skills and habits of how we handle ourselves when we are in contentious situations.

We'll see if the day brings any ideas or insight to these matters, or something else entirely!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Emotion Overhaul - Part II

This morning I was listening to my son scream and wail while playing games on the computer.
After my serene observations of my last post, of course. It was taxing, let me tell you. Especially when the other one took up wailing, too!
Frustration was rampant in this house this morning. (not much of my own, thank goodness.)

I did my best not to get worked up over it. But I was still at a loss. What I did was come into the room, and say "Did you call me, Trev?" Totally lame, I know, but I didn't want to offer help where none was asked for - I'd like for him to be able to get through such things on his own, without help from anyone else. I just felt so baffled and without tools!
I'm sure you can guess his reaction, something like "I can't win this game!", or "It won't let me ___", and so forth.
Again, uh..."Did you call me?"
"Will you help me find a different game?"
"Of course."

This went on for a couple of hours.
I had thought to find less competitive games, but really, we have lots. We have probably thirty children's cd roms, if not more. Hardly any are competitive.
Anyway, looked for a driving game for a while (non-competitive) but eventually got frustrated and denied, so excused myself for a bit. During that while, Trev got out one of his JumpStart cd's (love all of them) and played (without shouting!) for over two hours. Maddie napped during this time, and I had a chance to regroup.

I've got a lot of crap zipping and zapping in my head about issues relating to this.
How to teach (no - be an example for) empathy, and not be "sorry"?
"I'm sorry you're frustrated."
"This game is tough."
Being empathetic and sorry - which to me means "I wish this had not happened to you" is just what I do. I wish I could fix it. Launch someone past it. Take it, forge it into something acceptable, and hand it back again.
I read all the time that saying "sorry" to folks who are going through something undesirable is hardly helpful, and indeed, that it frustrates people.
I hear it, but I don't feel like I have anything else to offer. It's all I've got.
I don't believe it's strictly (though I'm sure I was) from being made to feel responsible for other's anger or frustrations as a child. I think even if that had not been my experience, I'd still feel partly responsible for others' woes.

I just had a thought.
I often think, while pondering my parenting style and skills, of how I could improve said skills (believing in the philosophy of Conversations With God) by supposing that "If I were having this problem, or conversation with God, what would His answer be? How would She best help me?"

When I ask myself this question, I believe my conversation would go something like this:
Me: "Aaaaaaaaargh!"
God: "Need someone to talk to?"
Me: "This sucks. I can't do anything right."
God: "You imagine Yourself to be in a pickle?"
Me: (sigh.) "I've got these blocks, and can't seem to get past this certain thing."
God: "Do you want to get past it?"
Me: "I think so...., don't I?" (knowing that every experience is a part of my path and finding Truth.)
God: "That's for You to decide. Is it important to you?"
Me: "Oh, yes! I want to be a good mother."
God: "What would you like to happen?"
Me: "I'd like to discuss this with someone who understands me, and knows me, and who won't judge me, and who has wisdom and experience with this sort of thing."
God: "I'm a good listener."
Me: "I spose so. Well, then.... why I can't just Be whom I long to be, and why do I have to make these same stupid mistakes?"
God: "I'll remind you that there is no such thing as a mistake. 'Mistake' is a judgment."
Me: "Well, my imperfections, then."
God: "You are not imperfect. That too is your judgment."
Me: "hmmph."
God: "I am happy to help with anything that I can. Anytime that I am able."
Me: "But will I understand your wisdom? I'm pretty dense sometimes."
God: "I'll send it to you in a thousand ways. Through a thousand hands. You just have to watch, and be still, and listen."

As it turns out, this particular episode ends in "Here come some of them, now...."

So while being an observer and a participant in this conversation, I can see where "I'm sorry" just doesn't cut it. It's of no help.
Helping me is aiding me in the understanding of myself, and the world around me.
Can be a wise word given when requested, or a sympathetic ear to listen without judging.
Sometimes it can be done by showing me a different and more efficient way of doing things.

And it's not in the removal of my own personal challenges, but helping me to discover that I carry the tools I need to be victorious over them.

Huh. Imagine that.

Emotion Overhaul

I need to change the way I react to others' stress.
Stressful goings on in my home, being around a grumpy Eric or my worked-up Mother, etc.
Even though I know that it's not the correct way to handle things, I still find myself trying to fix Trev's emotions when he's all worked up. Angry at the dog, getting killed (so to speak) in a computer or video game, general frustrations. It's partly in the name of aiding my son, but it's also "please no angry screeching, I can't handle it."
I hear him say that something someone else did made him angry, and though it might be natural (I'm not sure) to blame someone else for the anger, I know he hears me do it, too. And that is not something I want to teach my children.
I'm not sure how to stop it.
Naomi's advice is SALVE. Which stands for Separate yourself from it, Attention on the other person, Listen, Validate, and Empower them by letting them come to their own conclusions. The conclusion being that venting is just that, it's letting go of emotions, and that we can all handle our emotions, they're no big deal.

This is going to be my Big Project for a while. Now is the time for me to work on this.
I think I came to feel responsible for others emotions as a kid, probably most of us did. Add to that the need (feeling a responsibility) to change my own emotions, that things like anger and frustration are wrong, and not 'good' ones - not peaceful, loving or in general quiet, and so must be zapped or repressed.
I also have a spiritual take on it, which adds to my shame at the bad ones. I pretty much see anger or irritation as pollution, something that doesn't go away, but is adrift out there in the cosmos, eventually binding itself to all the other muck, which joins bigger lumps and becomes even bigger horrible things like destruction, hatred, prejudice, etc.
So this is why I'm a bit uncomfortable with using Naomi's advice of "before opening your mouth to your child, just shout in your head all of the bad things that you want to say."
I don't feel free to do that.
I think the answer for me is to follow the above steps, but I need to work from a preventative angle. What that would mean for me would be meditation, plenty of exercise and water, a clean house, yoga, and a perspective of "we can get through this, it's no big deal" instead of "this is destroying my peace, and I can't handle it."

I'm probably not making any sense. I'm writing as fast as I am thinking. Trying to work this out.

Melissia and I have discussed lots of times that while in a good space everything else is easy to handle.
I don't mean in a false way - this doesn't really do any good as far as I am concerned, as I think for me it just adds to the lump of anger that is slowly forming in my chest before it bursts forth later in the day.
Pseudo -bliss would be "let me take a deep breath before I explode, and blast this child into outerspace for eternity", and a truly Good Space would be "Oooooh, milk and flour on the floor! Oh my! And eggs too...are you making cookies on the kitchen floor?" with a laugh and joy in your heart.
The thing is, it's not really all that difficult to do! It seems impossible at times, but really, it's not. All it really takes is just not being attached to the next ten minutes of your life (ten minutes if you want to clean it up then, fifteen if you want to join in on the fun, first).
If you can give up on the idea of right then grabbing the clothes out of the washer and putting them into the dryer, or vacuuming the dog's hair off the couch, or getting back to the Columbo episode that you've seen a thousand times, then it's no big deal. Ten minutes. There are ninety ten minutes a day - if you're like me and get nine hours of sleep a night. Imagine that. Seems like sparing one or two in the name of good emotional, spiritual, and even physical health is certainly worth it. For the children as well as the parent.

I'm gonna back up a bit - after reading this, I'm going over in my head again the advice that Naomi gives, about shouting in your head before opening your mouth. Because, let's face it, I'm not always going to be in a blissful "cookies on the floor?" sort of mood. (too far into my own agenda to give up those precious ten minutes, don't you know.)
So maybe the answer is - and I have to accredit dear Melissia with part of this- is that if you do say nasty things in your head and get it all out of your system before you open your mouth to your child (only actually takes a few seconds to say all the horrid things you'd like to say) then a few things will happen.
You'll be calmer when you open your mouth, as you've already vented.
Your child doesn't hear your anger.
You'll surely find the child meant no malice, making him lovable and delicious that much quicker.
After addressing the issue, you can take a few minutes to yourself to think about all of the things that you said in your head, and analyze them. Are they true? This part is what I credit Melissia with, I remember her talking about going over this with herself. Do I mean those things? The answer will be "no", of course, and maybe with more and more practice, these initial blasts of silent condemnation will not be necessary.

So the purpose of these practices is to raise emotionally healthy children, of course. To have them be comfortable with their emotions. To provide a safe place for them to explore them, and express them freely.
This is where I need to begin, I think.

I think there will be lots more on this subject.
Maybe the next step will be to figure out emotional responsibility.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Clean Up

Yesterday was a lovely day!
The only thing that would have improved the afternoon (other than the missing Mama's) would have been if later the children and dads would have joined us for barbecue and more fun! (After The Mama's had their time, of course.)
It was lovely!

Didn't I say that I would have all my ducks in a row, and be prepared for this small gathering? Well, I wasn't! I had little messes still everywhere (a few forgotten things on the clothes line, a few stray bricks on the patio, messy stairs, etc), and much dusting and cleaning to do. Not huge messes, except for the kitchen, but that's to be expected if you're preparing food all day.

Anyway - I'm over it, I would have preferred a sparkling clean house, but living and loving in a house is a messy business, and we generally mess it up far faster than I can clean it up.

So! This morning is overcast and cool, as is promising to drop a few sprinkles from the sky.

I have a few intentions for the day - but nothing terribly pressing. I'd like to get my house in perfect order, since I am reasonably close.
We're nearing the end of the month, also, so it's time to start on bc calendars.
Eric is home today and tomorrow, so I'd like to take the time to enjoy and capture the magic and fun that is my family today.

No pressures.

Just a polishing sort of day. Try to see how things can shine.

Quick "Hoorah"!

Hey - my mucho thanks to Blogger for automatically saving my posts every sixty seconds now! I think Trev and I came to a place where we'd always ask eachother before exiting or shutting others' projects down, but one does forget in their enthusiasm from time to time!
Thanks SO MUCH! to the folks at blogger.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Magic, Magic Everywhere!

You know, the greatest thing about unschooling - is the magic!

It's so awesome to visit other unschoolers' blogs, and here about all the sparklies in their lives.
Hour-long car rides in the middle of the night to check out a special sort of frog in it's once-a-year migration over highway 241. Tripping over a snake while bird-watching, then going home to look it up to read about what it was doing there, what it eats, how many are in that area, why it has stripes. Long days at the park in the middle of the week. Hearing about children doing extraordinary things - without being told that they are dangerous, or expensive, or "you don't have time for another activity", or "maybe when you're older."

I'm sure there are parents who would go home after a long day of playing in the world with the children who'd be willing to spend an hour online researching a striped snake, but unschoolers Live for that sort of thing. There is always energy and an excitement for such things.
We look for red-eyed grubs. And interesting art materials. And things to be added to an on-going magnet sculpture. Spices that smell funny to be added into concoctions, or secret recipes. Interesting math games. Animals great and small. People great and small. Things that can be put into a glass slide to be viewed under the microscope.
Doesn't usually matter what the label warns. Not because we don't heed any possible danger, but because we know that if a youngster wants to look at a microscope, he shouldn't have to wait until he's seven. And if one is interested in Shakespeare or Egyptians of the Fall of Rome at eight, then he or she should be allowed - encouraged- to do so. Not wait until he's fourteen, when his passions or interests call him to do something else.

I just love reading about all of it!
A good unschooling story not only lets you know what this sort of life looks like and sounds like - but also what it feels like, smells like, and tastes like.

Unschooling is exuberance and enthusiasm for life.
For learning.

Friday, May 18, 2007


For some reason I feel compelled to make a few confessions. I think it's because I'm Supposed to be doing other things, and that always pretty much guarantees that I'll try to find a way to do something else. Called Melissia, she's unavailable. Smart girl, I really just was looking to waste her time, anyway.

My neighbor has a decal on her truck that warns "Easily Distracted". I can't claim that one for sure, but I think "often distracted" most definitely applies to me.
Sush as a moment ago when I was staring out this clean window (I did get that much done), waiting for my dial-up connection, captivated by the little chickadee flitting from my neighbor's yard, and into mine, and back to the apple trees next door again.

So as I was hanging laundry on the line, it occurred to me that I might come forth with a true confession, as my mind was wandering, and I am ever eager to be distracted from "have-to's", as I mentioned.
The other day when I posted that picture of my sheets flowing from the clothes line, I was thinking about how my laundry never looks so enchanting as it does on television. You know what I mean, don't you? Those crisp white linens flowing and blowing, or those denim blue jeans that are in assorted colors and sizes.....
or even white towels, complemented every once in a while by one that is butter-soft yellow.
My thought was.... "My laundry never looks like that....." Course, I don't live in a field surrounded by acres and acres of nothing but rolling hills, with no trees, and a magical line that holds up itself into mid-air.
So I was inspired to illustrate my confession with this terribly unromantic bit.
Sigh. So now you know. I might as well be a hillbilly. Complete with a big snoozing dog that takes after the children, and has figured out that I really do believe in others' right to Be Free.
Ha! I can (and often do) even throw in a bottle of moonshine! (Alright, it's not really moonshine, but I liked the idea, and the "jug" certainly looks moonshiney! This particular one is "Honey Wheat" from dh's restaurant. Mmmmmm. Ales and beers, don't you know.)

Did I mention that I am supposed to be getting ready for company? Not just any company, but The Mama's. And not just a playdate, but - a Formal Tea!
White linens, wine, gourmet teas, mimosa's, fancy hats if-you-please, that sort of thing. (Though I don't really expect anyone will be sporting a fancy hat, I don't suppose it's anyone's style besides my own.)
Some of them have never been to my home. So you can imagine that it's quite a big deal. For someone who feels that when Company Is Expected the carpets should be cleaned, drawers should be perfectly straight, walls washed, refrigerator should be spotless and shiny.
I always expect that I'll do things perfectly when expecting Company.
Alas! I hardly ever get it all done.
I think mostly I'll be prepared... if it's as it usually goes I'll be in the shower (after madly scurrying and cleaning) until 5 minutes before it's time, hoping they'll be just a few minutes late.

But as I said... mostly I'll be ready.
'Cept for my carpets. I'm half tempted to tell The Mama's "Don't you dare look down at my chocolate sauce, grape juice, peanut butter, muddy, squished tomatos, play-doh and forgotten popsicles stained carpets!" Course, I realize that bringing attention to such a shameful thing will only add to their transfixment on said want-them-to-be-invisible carpets.
I am in possession of a carpet cleaner, dear reader, -as I am also in possession of reasonable intelligence, but it's not functioning, except for the handtool, and the shop said "Not in time" for the repair. I don't fancy that I'll be finding time between now and then to be a-scrubbing with the upholstery attachment.
But! The backyard - where we're having our Tea- is as good as I can get it.
They are of a like mind, so I'm not expecting censure or condemnation for a few (a lot!) despicous spots on the floor.
Still... it would be nice to have things Just So......

Aaah, I really think my Distracted time has come to its end.
Maddie will surely awaken from her nap any minute, and I have yet lots to do.

I'll let you know how it goes.....

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Heart be still....

These three simple things have bestowed upon me a great sense of contentment; it's as if a pleasurable sigh has swept over and through me, leaving me in utter peace, and joy.

They are not especially outstanding happenings, but the beauty in them, for what they promise, or hint at for things to come makes me feel blissful.

The first I spoke of on olm.
It's Trev, drawing. Drawing. And so matter of factly. As if he had done this particular thing a thousand times, and in a thousand different ways.While in the midst of it (he was in deep contemplation, I can tell you) he stops, and thinks about what he is doing, and said with a complaint in his voice "Oh!, I'm just having a hard time -because I can't remember exactly what Daddy looks like."
I found that simple statement statement so beautiful. It was if he couldn't get the magic of Daddy exactly right in his mind - and this was of monumental consequence. After I got out a picture of Daddy, he was quite enthusiastic in his endeavor. He finished by saying that his portrait of himself with his father was "Perfect."
Isn't that beautiful?
How divine that my Son has such confidence and imagination running through his spirit and mind that six circles (after starting over) on one plain piece of paper can be deemed as "Perfect."
Not "this isn't right", or "I can't do it exactly as I wanted", or "I'm not good at this." Instead, it was perfect.
I couldn't agree more.

This next little something is buds from my (newer) lilac bush."Lilacs are done," you say, "It's getting to be the end of May!"
Ah, yes. Ordinarily that would be true. But this is a little something special for me, a pink lilac, that blooms in late spring or early summer. Isn't that a treat? It certainly is for a girl whose favorite flower and scent are lilacs, and who is always left feeling a bit sad that they are in such a hurry to leave.

This last one, aaaah.
Been waiting a while for this one.
Three years, folks.
Do you know what this beauty is?
It is a real, honest-to-Goddess grape leaf!
And it doesn't stand alone. Though this beauty is about two feet off the ground, and it is anteceded by a few more a foot or so later.
About five feet of this glorious vine.
Bought it as a stick about three years ago.
Stayed a stick.
Not a blossom, nor a bloom.
Thought it was dead.
Planted another one a couple of feet away.
Finally! This year I have this glorious leaf that must be six or seven inches across.
No big deal to some of you, I know, who have lucious green grapes growing along your back fence, ready to sample and enjoy at any moment that you choose. But for me, this is at the top of the list.
Like fresh spinach.
Tomatoes with basil and mozzerella.
Strawberries so sweet that your knees buckle when you bite into it.
Warm raspberries right off the cane.
Roses that smell like honeyed wine.

Bliss, I tell you.
Life is good.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mother's Day

Oh my Stars, I'm an even bigger ass than I thought!
In my Remembering Mama's post the other day, I totally forgot my second most important and influential Mama - and that would be Pat.
It's probably just as well, she deserves her own post, anyway.
Pat would be my mother-in-law, aren't you glad you aren't Me right now?! Can you even imagine making such a enormous and humiliating error?
(This might be where I slip quietly away, never to be heard from in blogland again.)

But first!
Pat is one of these people that gives folks the freedom to be themselves.
She's forward thinking, open-minded, loving, nonjudgmental, and accepting.
I cannot think of great qualitites to emulate than these.
I am so glad that she is in my life, and that she is grandmother to my children.
And I'm so thankful for all those nightmare stories about her son (my dh) giving her hell when he was young.
Taking long trips by himself. On his bigwheel. To the toy store. Which was over a mile away. Across a busy road. When he was three.
Those sorts of stories.

Pat has long been a very good friend to me, aside from being just my husband's mother.
I adore and cherish her.
I'm so thankful that she is a very important part of my life.

Love you Pat.

Looooooong Groan

Oh, my goodness, I forgot my husband's birthday.
Thought I would post publicly what an ass I am.
It's today.

I've aplogized a hundred times in the last half hour, and offered to throw him a party (at ten oclock at night when he works at 7am) but he said no thanks.

We'll make it up to you, Honey. We'll send you a picture tomorrow of the cake that will be waiting for you when you get home.

Love you.

For The Record (On Religion)

I don't imagine that most people would be even remotely interested in this post, this is mainly for friends and family who might be wondering "What the hell?" or "Uh, what does she mean by that?" Others can just skip right over it!

So here it is, in Plain Language.

I am not religious. I don't like being told what to believe. I've never accepted another's truth as my own. Not in its entirety, anyway.
I tend to take things bit by bit, and ponder them for a while, and consider what it might mean to me and my Personal Truth.
I don't consider myself a pagan, though I observe pagan holidays. I might even be extremely cheeky here, and say that almost all of us do!
I consider myself part witch.
I practice magick.
sidenote: to educate any who are not familiar with this idea - magic with a "c" is considered "sleight of hand", magick with a "k" is considered of The Craft.

I absolutely believe in The Craft.
First, I'd like to say this in no way has anything to do with the devil (I have a hard time even stating such a ridiculous, obvious thing.)
Only Christians and Jews believe in the devil. Almost all other religions of the world do not.

The Craft to me is about magick, eloquence, communing with Nature, resonating, adapting, flowing, and learning.
Practicing magick is for me a way to remind myself - attune myself- with the forces and energy around me, and focusing my thoughts and will in a particular direction, or toward a particular thing.
another sidenote: The wiccan (The Craft religion) rede is "And harm ye none, do as ye will." This means harm to no things. Not plants, not animals, not people, no thing. Wiccans also believe that whatever you do, good or bad, will come back on you three times. This belief, of course, is held by many religions of the world.

I've been studying The Craft informally since I was about 16, though I didn't know it. I've been seriously studying it as a religion for seven or eight years. I read cards, I study stones, I like herb lore, I believe that we are often responsible for making our bodies ill or strong, I meditate, I believe in reincarnation, karma, manifesting (as Jesus did) out of thin air, thinking on alpha, beta, and theta levels, consciousness, and harmonizing with nature.
Magick, then, for me, is just a way of focusing these practices in one direction (along with the fun sparkly stuff!).

However, even though I practice, I don't consider myself Pagan, as that bespeaks of religion, and worship, and that's not something I am comfortable with.
It just doesn't ring true for who I am.
I believe in God, but it's a sort of "The Force" sort of God. It's everything. It's in everything. It's the energy that binds us - indeed, the Universe- together.

I don't believe in a judging, condemning God.
I believe that God in His Wisdom, and absolute Love for Her children, would never condemn one of those beloved children to an eternity of damnation.
I also believe that upon dying we come into a state of Knowing. In this Knowing, there is absolute wisdom. Can you imaging being in this state, and not being regretful of the atrocities that you had committed against others while in this life? I can't imagine that anything that anyone else said to me could be of a greater pain to my soul. Even a judging thought is an unkind act, and an offense to mankind.
Pointing a finger at me and damning me is certainly going to be a pittance to the contempt and disappointment that I feel at my Self.
There is no need to be judged by another.

So! There you have it.
I believe in not harming things. Bugs, animals, people, Mother Earth.
I believe in reincarnation.
I believe in the power of thought.
I believe the soul's purpose is to live, so that God may know and realize itself.
I believe that all things are possible, as Jesus said, "Even the least among you can do all that I have done, and even greater things."
It is my aim in this life to do such wondrous things.
I believe we come to completion when we accept in full that We Are All One.
I believe in Jesus.
I believe in Buddha.
I believe in Mother Theresa.
I believe in Gandhi.
I believe in shamans.
I believe in Medicine Men.
I believe in Wise Women.
And the wisdom of the Man On the Street Corner.
I believe in Peace.
I believe in Love.
And I believe in Magick.

And One for The Gods

Been outside all day. Fertilized and mulched the herb garden.
Finished up the ColorBowl, which is what I call one of my areas. It's not much now, but soon it will be so lively and vibrant and colorful that it will make your eyes water.
After referring to Scott Cunningham's book (mine is split in half, it's so well-used) to see what plants I might have that are suitable for an eastern altar-and that find my climate and I agreeable- I started on my east garden today. I found some baby sage plants in my herb garden, transplanted some mint, and will add some things that are pleasing to our airborn (air is the element for east) friends - hollyhocks, foxglove, some snaps, and whatever else seems to want to be added.
I wanted a stepping stone for standing on, and I'll probably still make one, but today I found these wood discs that were made by Lee when he was trimming the stump to exactly where I said I'd like it. (I had requested a certain height so I could place a candle and my book, and read it easily while it was dark out.)
I placed a cement slab under the stone for added support, as the wood is really thin.
I must say, it's perfect! The Perfect Position for summoning and proclaiming and practicing magick.
I'm so pleased.
The garden is just beginning, so I'll keep you posted on the progress.
In the furthest back (by the tree stump) are some hollyhocks I grew from seed. They'll not be particularly impressive this year, but I'm hoping that next year this garden will be grand indeed.
I thought it would be prudent to be surrounded by sage (wisdom) while practicing, so I planted some at north, west, and south of my standing position.

Don't mean to bore you.
Just pleased with the day's achievements.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day

I'm sorry to say that I wasn't very pleasant on Mother's Day, I was just grumpy all day, not sure why. (It wasn't because Eric ditched me - he actually stayed home all day.)
But I'm much better, now!

Here are some things that I was able to appreciate...

This flower (my first rose of the season) was so Impossibly Pink, that it kept catching my eye from across my backyard. I also think of it as "Grandma's Lipstick".

This Mama Spider was carrying her eggs to safety on Sunday afternoon. I hope she found the perfect shelter.

This beautiful bouquet. In its natural environment.

I also worked on the Fairy Garden for a bit. I call it that, but really it's for the fey, hummingbirds, and butterflies. Many well-loved plants reside in this small area. This little building toward the right is The Toadstool Inn, and there is a sign near the door that says "Happy Hour Every Night".
Soon the foxgloves and lobelia and flax will be grown in, and it will be magnificent.Sometimes I think of hanging out there, laughing and playing with the fairies, snails, and frogs... stepping on the deliciously soft Irish Moss (that leads to the inn's entrance), playing hide and seek in the tall stones, climbing the yarrow, dipping in the (large shell) pool.... all in all just rollicking and frollicking. Isn't that silly?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mama's Day

Here's to all the Mama's in my life - each of them have contributed, in part, to the mother I am, and have greatly influenced who I hope to become.

Mine own Mother - my very first and Most Important Mama. I love you.
Sam - my first close-up (while in adulthood) of what a good Mama looks like in real life.
Kim - the first Mama in my family - you sailed above, and are a great example to the rest of us.
Robyn - who wanted a different way, and made sure she provided it.
Michele - My Belle - a superb Mama who is absolutely the coolest one for miles and miles.
Debbie- who was always called "Mama" by those that loved her.
Jen - who makes me feel like it will all turn out alright.
Shannon - who is gentle and sweet, and funny - all the makings of a wonderful Mama.
Julie - whose gentleness and caring for children shines from ten thousand miles away.
Travis - who takes parenting seriously, and shows us by example what we should be doing.
Teri - who I have long thought of as the Fairy Queen Mother.
LeeAnn - who is the mortal Queen Mother, her way is ever gentleness.
Rebecca - who knows what good mamahood is about, and gets right to it.
Sarah - who shines by example, and never takes things too seriously.
Alyssa - who is tireless and dedicated, and who is going to leave this world in a better place.
Aubrey - who is who sunshiney and fun-loving, and who gives me hope for the mama's of tomorrow.
Stephanie - who throws her arms wide, willing to accept and learn from everything around her - you inspire me.
And finally Melissia -hi honey!- who inspires and conspires, whines and shines, slays me and saves me. I'm so glad I have you, your wit, wisdom, and candor are invaluable to me.

Much love to all of you - I hope you felt appreciated and adored today.
Blessings, Steph

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mama's Day

I have a different attitude about Mother's Day than my mother does.
My mother insists on cards, and presents, and fanfare, and will even go so far as to tell me that I had better hurry up and deliver it to her. Or else.
I gotta tell ya, it sort of takes the love out of it. Well, actually, it pretty much zaps it.
Tomorrow, Sunday, Eric will be going fishing. Now ordinarily, he would not dream of abandoning me on this Holy day, but last week he skipped fishing, and Monday I'm at work in the office all day, so he cannot go then, instead he'll be home with the babes.
He goes with my sincere blessing.
So today while at work I snuck out to go shopping for some supplies to keep me busy outside in my glorious Mama World tomorrow. I bought some annuals. And perennials. And some small bark for lining the dog's trail around our yard. (Being a gardener with dogs, I've discovered that if you don't leave a trail at the border of your property, they'll just make one as they see fit.)
Anyway. Another stop tonight when I pick up my scrumptious babes from Grammies, and I'll be all set for tomorrow.
I'll no doubt be wearing an old tank top and a pair of shorts, and not one of the lovely dresses and sunhats that seem to be a requirement for true female gardeners.
My bare knees will be caked with mud, and probably stained for a couple of days.
I'll break a few more fingernails.
I'll be rising out of the dirt to swing Maddie every 72 seconds.
Trev will be asking me if I've found any more worms, and warning me of encroaching spiders and centipedes.
I'll probably gripe at the dog for drinking all the water out of the bird bath, again.
And every moment will be perfect.
I'll be drinking iced tea all throughout the day (probably go through a gallon, half of the glasses will get knocked over by someone, or I'll find bugs in it that I just can't forget about), then sometime in mid-afternoon I'll think "Oh, a glass of cold beer would be lovely." And I'll get it and put it on the treestump that sits in the middle of my fairy garden.
I'll work (play) outside all day, and forget about my messy house, because it's Mama's Day.
I'll be thinking about the barbecue we'll be doing when Eric gets home.
In every moment I'll try to be extra kind and patient with my children, because it's Mama's Day.
And I'll be thinking about the ways I get to celebrate my life each day, simply by enjoying and recognizing the magic that is given to me, just because I'm the Mama.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My Children are My Friends Part II

I'd like to add a few things to this.
In my balk against the idea that children shouldn't be buddies, I was thinking really in black and white - such as my examining what friendships means to me.
Of course each relationship with each person that I interact with (called friend) is different.
I discuss different things with different friends. Eric I can discuss everything with, until his eyes get glazed over, and he's just nodding automatically; I don't usually do that to others in real conversation!
I would not discuss something with a child that is inappropriate; something adult, or that may frighten or overwhelm him. If it needed to be discussed, then I would find a way to communicate appropriately.
Different friendships mean different things, as each relationship is individual and special.
I don't value one friendship over another, they are all treasured, as the people themselves are invaluable.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Children are My Friends

I've been thinking about this lately (don't I always start out like that? Do you suppose I'll ever run out of things that have "lately" been puttering around in there?) ...another thought that has been contentedly simmering on the back burner, waiting for attention, and for a larger flame of consciousness to be put under it.
The thought is... my children are my friends.

Traditional parenting (and fear-based parenting, -such as children are grand manipulators- as could also be viewed) says that children need a parent, not a friend. Or more friends. Your kids don't need more buddies.
This thinking doesn't feel right to me, so I'll be exploring the Why of it, trying to figure out exactly what feels so wrong with this widely accepted Truth.

Before beginning this post, I pulled ds onto my lap, as I wanted to discuss our being Best Friends. (I don't exclude dh here, my son has no concept of "Daddy is best, therefore Mommy can't be" or vice versa. We're all, all of us, best friends.)
He just hugged me, and said "Mommy, we'll always be best friends!" while trying to see the tellie over my shoulder. :)
I let him go, as I felt I was centered after this, and that's a good place to begin.

I don't have "buddies". I'm just not a buddy kind of girl. I have friends. I don't even really have very many acquaintances, as I either bring them into my world, giving them status of "friend", or I don't bother. Though that process can take years, admittedly.
I s'pose the best place to begin would be what, exactly, friend means to me.

Someone that I love. Who loves me. That love will grow, and develop, and change; and begin with esteem and respect, and grow into something fulfilling and loving.
Someone that I admire. The admiration can be began from a starry sort of "wow!" for how very different they are from me, or a quiet respect for their intellect, or merriment at their pluck, or irreverence, wit, audacity, politics, whatever. Something that I would like To Be.
Someone to be openly honest and vulnerable with. To whom I can speak my truth. Whether that be in a shout in a wildly exuberant moment, or in a quietly whispered confession. No matter. A friend embraces it either way.
Someone that I have history with. Who has seen The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. And will come around anyway.
Someone who accepts me without making me feel judged.
Someone I can respect. That doesn't mean we have to agree with each other's every thoughts, or actions, but an opposition of many core beliefs might be a bit challenging, and off-putting, as such issues are close to the heart.
Lastly, someone that I can trust, and that finds me trust-worthy. This feeling of comraderie always assumes there is truth and integrity in the relationship. And also allows for leaps and lapses in growth and evolvement.

While not considering my children in these definitions but rather my adult friends, I cannot help but think that these are things that I also welcome in my relationships with my shortest loves.
It's not a matter of wanting not to tell them "no" because I want their esteem, or for them to like me. It's a matter of wanting to say "Yes!" because they are important to me, and I take pleasure in helping them. Just as I would a cherished girl friend. Or my husband. Or my siblings. Or one of my parents.

This post at Raising Small Souls is what started me on this whole thing tonight. (Put the fire under the simmering pot.) I just find this article offensive/wrong on a number of levels.
It assumes (it seems to me) that all friends have the relevance of "poker buddies" or "drinking buddies". Which I certainly don't agree with. And it seems to scoff at a friendship with a child, and deems said relationships as having no merit or depth.
It appears (again, to me) to say that if you call your child "friend", then your child will automatically assume that you have no opinion, or wisdom, or value as a mentor, or respectable place in his life. That they'll (at age six) assume that since he's a "buddy", then he is invited to go drinking with you at the bowling alley on Thursday Nights.
This makes no sense to me.

It gives no credit to children! Children should be allowed to have friendships with lots of other folks, no matter their age.
I guess the whole thing just smacks of ageism, and values above all else bonding with others that are of the same mind and heart as you. I can't think of one friend that is exactly like me.
Nor would I want them to be.
How the hell could I learn from someone that is on the same path - at the same time- travelling at the same speed- in the same vehicle- that I am?
All I'd be left with is someone to grump and complain with.
And I certainly don't need anyone else for that.

I'm not uncomfortable being a parent to my children. That is to say, I'm happy to be of help to them. An aid. A facilitator. A lap. Or a ladder. A cushion. A reminder, a sounding board, a hero, villain, confessor, target, doctor, taxi-driver, coach, minister, follower or guide. Whatever they need of me.
But I'll not belittle my child, even for the sake of establishing my authority, and forsake the pleasure of having them call me truly their Friend.
I don't even have the right to do so.


Yesterday I wrote about finding the Joy.
A couple of days ago I wrote about dandelions and their magic.

Today I visit two blogs that I haven't visited in a few months.
The first was zen momma's garden, where I read a recent post about her affinity with dandelions.
Next I read a post of Ren Allen's, an inspiring post about finding joy in a quiet moment.

Yesterday I was reading on John Hagelin's website and saw "long-range “field effects” of consciousness", and couldn't help but think there has been a lot of that floating about lately.

I'm so glad to be where I am.

Early Morning

Aaah, good morning.
It's been quite a while since I've been up before the Sun.
What a treat to hear the birds singing before five am, to feel the morning air on my bare skin without being cold, and to rise and putter around the house in the very subtle light that begs me to cherish the wonder of it all.
And I surely do.

What a glorious thing morning in springtime is.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Schools are for Fish

Snagged this from Ren's blog (Learning in Freedom).
Usually I don't copy others, but this one is too good to pass up.

Courtesy of


Probably my favorite quote right now comes from Anne Ohman....
"Real, natural learning is in the living.
It's in the observing, the questioning, the examining, the pondering, the analyzing, the watching, the reading, the DO-ing, the living, the breathing, the loving, the JOY.
It's in the joy."

I was reading a few minutes ago about an unschooling family, a blog written by the papa bear, who is "
an academic economist who teaches at a law school and has never taken a course for credit in either field."
I always enjoy reading about highly educated (self educated, sometimes) people who truly believe in unschooling. Such as Mr. John Holt. After I read "How Children Fail", I was hooked.
Well, (grin), I still had to fumble around for a while, as you know, but I'm on my way.

After reading that post, I checked out some of the comments. One in particular that struck me said "School isn't enjoyable, true, but neither is most of what a majority of people do for a living. Public School is - well its true mission, at least - to discipline a populace in preparation for workforce precipitation, modern educators accomplish absurd repetitive assignments which bore people. It’s supposed to bore people, yet their expected to do it anyway. This is the goal of public education."
This was pretty much spouted over and over in various forms (most of them used this idea in defense of the school system!). From the comments I read, though admittedly I didn't read them all - I was left feeling so sad!
I kept thinking, "Geez, this is what people think Life is about? Misery, drudgery, following orders, and bowing down to an idea of hierarchy?"
Some may take offense to this opinion, as this blog is entitled "Happy and Free", and I do consider myself such. But I consider all of us free.
I heard Naomi Aldort say in her taped live conference (Trusting Our Children, Trusting Ourselves) something about herself not being free. That none of us are free. I assume she meant from obligations and work, etc.
But I disagree.
I have said before, and probably will again, that the only thing you have to do this world is leave it. People say "death and taxes", but really, you can choose imprisonment as an alternative to paying taxes.
If you choose to view employment as bondage, that's your choice. You are also free to view it as a privelege that supplies yourself and your family with resources for your needs and wants. If you choose to live in a house in suburbia instead of a lean-to in the forest and survive off the land, that's your choice. We all choose our obligations. We're free to walk away from them. People do it every day. Be free by living on the street. Work under the table. Live in a treehouse. Live as Ghandi. Siddhartha. Live as Jesus did.
To anyone that views my life as easy, or worry free (including my ddh) I would just say "I choose to see the beauty in it."
Eric made a comment the other day about my being odd because I found laundry photograph-worthy.
To me, it was.
It epitomized our day.
Lazy, breezy, easy, functioning, clean, flowing, unhurried, gentle.
I'm sometimes able to see the magic - and I go searching for it when I feel the need- in my life. In my family.
Visit any parenting website, and you'll read such things as "The Terrible Fours!... What To Do." and "Is your child Out Of Control?... Go here!" and so forth. Oprah touts Motherhood as the most important job. Dr. Phil says a sahm/d does the work of someone working two full time jobs. My state is reputed to be the anti-depressant capital of the country.
My point is, that it could be an uneventful and boring existance. Or a frustrating and vexing one.
(shrug) Exacerbating or sublime.

I choose to find the magic.
I'm not bragging, or boasting my aplomb.
I'm just saying that you can view the world and life in a variety of ways.

I realize that my personal philosophy is rather liberal and free-spirited.
But to me, a life well lived means choosing Joy.

"It's in the joy."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Field of Wishes

Eric told me of a commercial where there's a guy remembering his childhood, and his love for dandelions. Then it shows him all of a sudden rushing to a store to buy some chemicals to kill them off.
I haven't seen it. He says I won't like it, and I'll be terribly offended.
I am sure he's right.
I like to think of them as wishes, still.
There's a whole small field of them directly connected to my yard. I don't think there's any grass there. They don't bother me a bit.

I'm planting Mullein in my garden this year. It grows wild in my mountains, and the flowers and leaves I can harvest for herb crafting in the fall.
Told my father-in-law (the landscape designer) that I am planting some - from seed - and his blanch was pretty comical. After his "Oh, Honey!" he must have heard my small "but I like it!" and noticed my crest-fallen face, because very quickly, he said "Well, a weed is just a misplaced flower."

Can be said for so many things, hmm?

Here's to less folks thinking that children are "weeds", and starting to see instead the Magic.

Monday, May 07, 2007


I read a couple of days ago about a hs/unschooling mother who was talking about giving her son assignments, and how he was loving it. I tried not to judge it, (grin) especially since I was there not so long ago. She was thinking "he needs this", and "he does so much better when I give him something to do", and "he's lost without my guidance." Yup. Think I thought those same things (had those doubts) even less than a year ago.
What I have found, is that I had to go through the deschooling process.
Even though I was familiar with the process, and had an idea of what it entailed, I didn't really see it as something I needed to do. My children were pre school aged, they've never been even to daycare or preschool, and I was definitely on board with unschooling.
So I skipped it.
But, as nature will have it, turns out you can't. Doesn't matter if you choose it or not, your head and heart still have to go through the process.
What that process meant (and it might change and evolve, continuing) for me was getting over my son reading fluently at seven. Keeping up with peers. (ugh.) Encouraging him to learn so others would validate our efforts by saying "he's so smart!", and so forth. blech.
It wasn't about deschooling my child, it was about deschooling me.
It was getting over attachments.
When he was four, and pre kindergarten, it was easy to believe in unschooling. It's just a matter of continuing on with attachment parenting, in a lot of ways. My child learned to walk and talk, to make believe, to get his needs met, and so on. But something happened to me when official kindergarten started last fall.
There were back to school commercials. Hs groups were talking curricula and programs. I started to worry that we'd be behind, or that Eric's and mine families would be ashamed or embarrassed by us and our lack of school smarts.
But since then I think I've really started to let go. I actually think blogging about our day-to-day lives really helps, as I notice, keep track of, and remember bits and pieces of the learning and seeking that happens every day.
I don't think I went overboard with Trev last fall, I always gave him the option of saying no, and I truly don't feel that I was coercive, but it was the thought behind the suggestions that I had to shift.
The thoughts that came from fear.
The one that said "he might not learn anything if you don't steer him in the right direction." Learning was so much more evident when it was on paper.
At that time.
Now I watch the learning happen every day. It's in his vocabulary. His discoveries. His conclusions. His conversations. His relationships.

So deschoooling is learning to recognize these things.
And letting go of fear.
And learning how to embrace fully life's great moments of exploration and discovery.
And also finding peace with the fact that just because you sometimes can't see the learning happening, doesn't mean it's not there.
Not to worry, it'll show itself in a bit - in a most delightful and enchanting way.


I remember hearing Dr. Phil say a few years ago something about "There was a study done, and while playing in the schoolyard at recess children would run to the very edges, and climb on the fence, and run and play and holler, enjoying that entire playground. Then they took the fence down, and children stayed close to the building, they were feeling unsafe with not having the boundary."
I bought that for a while, I can see that happening.
What I didn't see, until a couple of years later, was the relevance of the boundary itself.
It's not the physical removal of the fence itself, but what it means to them. School kids are fenced in. Mentally, emotionally, and physically. They are taught from a young age that "this is the way life has to be", that you're limited, expected to stay within various parameters, that all people should learn the same things and be taught the same things, and behave the same way. Molded.
It makes me angry and sad that some people believe that from birth children will behave in the worst possible way if left to make their own decisions. It just isn't true.
I'm sure, if given liberty, at first a child would not know what to do with himself, and may feel lost and confused. But that's because they don't have the skills and experience of making their own decisions, of listening to their heart and spirit. They've been told what to eat, when to go to bed and rise, what to study, when to read, what they should be interested in and when - most of their lives have been dictated to them.

So the question begs asking, "So what if the fence was never there at all?"

My children don't live with imperialistic or intellectual barriers.
Do they get everything they want? Probably mostly, if it's important to them, and we can afford it. Same as I do, or Eric does. If we have to save for a while, or wait for a bonus, or a birthday, we will. Are they spoiled? This to me means screaming, whining, pointing, and hearing something like "Daddy, now!" and we certainly don't treat others that way in our home. But our children are honored in other ways too, and so this sort of behavior isn't necessary because they get loads and loads of love, attention and respect in our home.
I'm not afraid that my children will become sociopaths because they were given an abundant amount of freedom and love. Indeed, I already see evidence of the opposite.

There are boundaries, of course. My son doesn't have the physical capability to jump 12 feet high. My daughter doesn't have the wisdom to know that mommy's scissors can hurt her, or someone else. They don't realize the possible consequences of running up to a stray dog. My son doesn't have the height or the long legs to reach the break and clutch on our truck which would enable him to drive.
But they live with a lot of freedom, and they are kind, happy, shiny little people.

Instead of imposing even more limits on my children, I want to help them to jump, leap, and eventually fly over the ones that are in their way.
Limitless. Boundless.
That's what I want for them.