Sunday, September 30, 2007

If you're feeling a bit Rebelish Without A Cause...

Tomorrow has two interesting things happening -

World Habitat Day - sponsored by the UN:
The United Nations has designated the first Monday in October every year as World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of human settlements and the basic right to adequate shelter for all. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat.


World Vegetarian Day.
(I'm not a vegetarian, I believe all things have energy, not just animals, but I do believe completely in caring treatment of all living things and that humans have the responsibility/capacity to respect all life.)

Something (the holidays) to think about.

frosty morning

good morning.
it's september 30.

tomorrow begins my "month of sundays".

today shall be a busy day - finishing up work and getting various things in order.

i'd like to wish a month of sundays also to julie, leeann, and evie, who all share october with me.

and anyone else who would like to join in.

a happy frosty morning to you!
What on earth is that? you may ask.
That would be snow, friends.
You heard me, SNOW.
From yesterday.
None on my tomoatos, thank goodness, though it was surely falling from the sky. I'm not sure if I've lost the plants, or not yet.
Julie picked all of hers.
I've only had a crop for a month! Usually we cling to them til the bitter end (quite literally) and say goodbye sometime in November, if we're lucky.
Snow. On the 29th of September.

My heat just came on. (and we keep the thermostat on 64.)

Friday, September 28, 2007


I'm holding it together, but just barely. That's not true. I'm actually doing very well.
I'm doing calendars, which means I think and mutter and copy and paste and have to pay attention to what I'm doing, and in general neglect my children, though I haven't been, which is why I'm not nearly done with my work.
'Sides that, I haven't been able to make myself do them the much, lately, I've really needed physical labor (housecleaning) or else I've needed to gather my thoughts.
Not sit down to calendars.

Anyway, I know this is petty, but I really have to get this off my chest.
Dear Children - please forgive me.

Trev came in just a minute ago - I share this not because it's the exception, but the rule, and so indicative of the sorts of things that exhaust me- and said "Mom, being in your happy place isn't the true meaning of checkers, right?"
Honestly, Son. Why me?
There are well over a dozen of these sorts of questions almost every day.

Maddie has taken on this constant tone for the last week that will make electricity shoot out of your fingernails. Not to mention she is impossible to please. We are trying - believe me, we're trying!
We're so exhausted from the crazy demands that we have become almost resentful of the legitimate ones.

"Mom! Uhn watch Babe."
"Kay, go talk to Trevy about it, he's watching tv, and let me know what he says."
"Okay!" toddle, toddle, toddle.
""Trev says Yah, Mom!"
"Okay, Babe."
Put Babe in.
"It's rewinding?"
"Yeah, it's rewinding."
I come back to the kitchen, sit down.
"Uhn Me-a-Pooh, Mom."
Rolls eyes.
"Maddie, you said Babe, and Trev gave up his program, and agreed to Babe."
"Uhn Me-a-Pooh! Uhn Cars, Mom."

"Uhn donut, Mom."
"No more donuts today, Babe, I think you've had two. Healthy foods. Frozen peas?"
"Uhm... peanut butter sandwich?"
"No donut. Carrot?"
Oh for heaven's sake. "No donut, Maddie. Healthy foods."

Trev has noticed a difference today (though admittedly it's getting thin) and keeps coming in and saying "Love you, Mom." Not that he doesn't say it normally, he does, but I think today he knows that something is different - that there is real effort to remain peaceful and kind, but just can't put his finger on it.
Think what he really means is "I appreciate it, Mom."

Back On Course

So now what?

The obvious answer is it's time to get really clear about what it is that I want. Now that a lot of the debris is out of the way.
Which has been the reason behind all these scattered thoughts, explorations of feelings, and examinations of patterns.
To come to a place of clarity.

In Pursuit of Gentleness.
Gentleness is absolutely something I want to claim for myself.
Patience, I absolutely believe, and tolerance, are an imperative part of that.

When I first began the quest, somehow just by having it in my mind that I wanted to make kindness and gentleness a priority I was able to do it.
It just came.
The keys were letting go of the dreaded agenda, and trusting the children to work out their problems for themselves.
Guess both of those would come down to letting go of control, wouldn't they?
Not in a "don't play with that that way, it's wrong" sort of way - which I never do, but in a "let's keep the peace of the household (and my head)" sort of way.
My peace of mind is conditional.
That's what I need to change. I need to actively do things (as Melissia suggested) that will help me to maintain a healthy environment for tolerance to flourish.
Evie's right too, intention is very important to me. The trouble is that I get side-tracked, and pretty soon I'm focused on something else - backing up a couple of steps, instead of remaining true to the course. (ie fixing a mistake, or wondering at my frustration instead of dismissing it and working on the present. Moving backwards.)

The keys will be to make sure that I have time in the morning to do what I need to do (think in quiet).
Be unattached to whatever I am doing - be okay with the notion that I can come back to it later.
Be tolerant of my emotions if I feel tense or stressed.
Remember that my children are individuals, and so is our family dynamic. (I'll go more into this one later.) Be accepting of it!
Be aware of ways to support/encourage a healthy and happy environment throughout the day.

Remember to be in pursuit of Gentleness.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's just eMOtion - that's taking me o-vuh

Tied up in sorrow, lost in the sno-o-ow.
Oh... upon further investigation {grin}, turns out I've been wrong All These Years, and it's my soul, not the snow. Well then. Even better!
Only no one is leaving me.
I don't think.
Probably some (er, lots) of you don't know The Bee Gees.

Sometimes I'd like to add music to my blog.
But I mostly hook up on dial-up, and so I get one or two notes or syllables at a time, and it is extremely annoying, and I am certain it ruins whatever mood the writer/blogger is intending,
so I don't. (put in music - in case I lost you.)

Emotions - taking me over.
Yup. That's what happens.
I've written on this a few times.

There is the Blame phase.
I suck. I'm not cut out for motherhood. Or marriagehood. Or society. hood.
I'm unstable. I have no self control. What the hell is wrong with me?.

There is the Why phase. (Too painful to delve deeply into that one, though ddddh assures me that I am emphatically not insane. Too forthcoming, he says, but not insane. Bless him.)

There's the This Is Just Who I Am phase. Don't know why. Just is. Can curb it. Can choose to not 'splode. Can't change who you are.

Then there's the Thankful phase.
With the bad comes the good, and I'd rather be an emotional creature than an unemotional creature. I'd rather be volatile than staid. Happy than bored. Exuberant than unaffected. Interested in life and happiness and joy and magic and love and growth and emotion than....


There you have it.
Now you're (and I am) up to speed.

For right this minute, It Is What It Is, and I am doing alright, and have a couchful of loves awaiting me in the next room.

See you tomorrow.
(Pained laugh) Feel free to discuss this (craziness) amongst yourselves.


Good Morning Moon
Good Morning to you, too, Mr. Sun.
And Good Morning to me.

This morning I had an hour before the first babe woke up.
(Did I mention yesterday in my rather dismal post that my children have been getting up about five minutes after I do? And that we go to bed at the same time? For about four or five days, now.)

I put it to use.
While sitting at the kitchen table I noticed the full moon shining on me.
So I went out to say good morning. (And to maybe beg a little of her power.)
While I was doing that, I was thinking of how best to spend my time, however much I was given.
Renewal. Rejuvenation.
Which meant first, shower.
A dousing of purification oil couldn't hurt.
Which I was out of, so I got to enjoy a few minutes of machinations.
Mmmmm. Always love that. Something so fine to me about mixing oils together.
I dashed into the shower (aaaaaaaah).
Downstairs for that dousing that I mentioned.
The sun must be starting to rise by now.... outside to greet him.
Okay, almost finished.... all that is needed is a talisman... something to carry with me today to remind me of my intentions....

Just as I finished that up I hear little feet walking overhead.....

"Good Morning, Baby."

"I'n hun-gree."

"You are, hmm? Scrambled eggs?"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

afternoon desperation

Here I am again.

Today I've found it really difficult to maintain my equilibrium.
It has been one of those days where I am frantic for two minutes of peace (so that I can 'get it together'), and the more I run the more demanding of my attention my children have been.
Of course.
I hate these sorts of days. I hate the feeling of desperation and panic.
I don't like being in a position where I just don't have it to give. It feels mean and hateful (hate-filled) and I question my ability to be a good mother. I feel I am mean and hateful.

We're all downstairs. I'm in my room - how lovely to be able to write down here - have notebook will travel- and the babes are in the playroom next door. They come in every few minutes because they like it in here, too.

Funny thing - just by sitting down, with my oils burning, the light low, and Coyote Oldman's "In Beauty I Walk" playing, all the darkness of a few minutes ago seems just a dream.
It has lost its power.

My mind is quiet, my hands are steady, my heart feels strong, and my spirit is at ease.
So... how did I now come to be here?

to be continued....

sidenote: turns out it's not even afternoon! looked at the clock and it says 11:42. Oh, my.

Morning's Reflection

I had every intention of writing a post last night regarding the conclusion to which I had come.
But I didn't come to any.

The obvious answer is to not have expectations.
But I don't feel that that's it, really.
It's not as if I am constantly in search of the perfect day, every day.
I have lots of perfect days - which to me means lots of snuggles, and play, and imagining, and creating, and interesting conversation; and for me personally -observing, and time for quiet contemplation and writing.

My answer lies somewhere in my inability to let things go and not have a sense of doom or feelings of failure in the face of upset.

I'm not interested in tricks - those little handy things that get you from one place to another - because I tend to be excited about them for a second, then my desire to continue just fades away, and often it just feels false, anyway.

I'm interested in changing my mind.
My thought processes.
I'm interested in becoming fluid, facile, losing my automatic response of irritation, and feeling a soul-deep sense of... acceptance, instead. Adaptable.
I want to be adaptable.

How to achieve that?
How does one go about losing one's rigid behavior or thoughts (automatic responses), and become the opposite?

Patience, gentleness, and tolerance is certainly a part of this.
I see now that I could very well experience a whole new world just by embracing those things that I've already decided upon.
In more ways than I had anticipated.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

showing off tricks

hello goodnight

thanks Evie luv.
[grin] Had to do it case I never get to use it.

Afternoon Gentleness

Be Creative

Be Kind

Be Love

Be Beauty

Be Ever Expansive

Be Abundant

Be Receptive

Morning Promises

Why is it
that the first thing in the morning

-every morning!
I feel so hopeful
... as if the morning's promises are to be believed, and that I can confidently anticipate -and even expect- great things of the day.

I shall live in harmony, without attachments.

I shall remain calm, and of a pleasant disposition.

I shall be able to get my house clean and shiny.

There will be time for neighborhood walks.

A journey into the gardens





imaginary play

and a cup of reviving tea whenever it's needed.

These are things that morning promises to me.

I've got to find a way.
Surely I wouldn't still believe morning, if it weren't possible?
Surely I wouldn't come back day after day, in hopes that I can believe her?
Somewhere along the day I feel let down, and sigh and think "not today."
I lose hope.
There is something here for me to learn - and I shall be thinking on this today.

I think it has something to do with hope, and losing sight of joy....

Monday, September 24, 2007


My pictures of my room yesterday were all dark, and perhaps even ominous appearing to some, so I wanted to show the room more fully today.

I mentioned the room in the first place because it brings me so much joy, first of all, and secondly, it is so amazing the peace I feel upon entering it, as I said. It's not just the lovely and inspiring quotes I have on parchment pinned up on the wall, or the gorgeous pictures by my favorite painter, John Williams Waterhouse.

It's all of it.

It's my purple meditation candle (a new candle, but it's always purple) surrounded by various stones that remind me to be the things I want to be - Be Creative, Be Kind, Be Love, Be Beauty, Be Ever-Expansive, Be Abundant, Be Receptive.
It's the tranquil smell of incense and oils.
It's my books.
It's the tiny jars of herbs.
It's my altars (there are two).
Meditation music.
It's my working table with my stones and all of my favorite tools within reach.
It's looking around, and seeing all of the things that I love.
They're only things, of course. They're not as important to me as my children, and Eric.

But, too, there are no traces of anyone else in the room - only me. Only my thoughts, my dreams, my personal journey, my desires regarding who I want to be, and my Truths.
Maybe it's selfish... but it doesn't feel selfish.
It feels... wonderful.
Something to appreciate and cherish.
It feels supporting, and peaceful, and beautiful, and right.

If I lived in a tropical clime, no doubt I'd have a green garden with palms, and a japanese rock garden, and Tibetan statues, and lots and lots of lovely bamboo. And a pond. And orange trees. A zen sort of place.
But I don't.
If I lived in England, and had access to a magical forest, I'd find a great oak that was hundreds of years old that hid at its base a secret doorway to an underworld of faery kings.
Or I'd have an enchanted cottage with a thatched roof and a huge fireplace that would hold a great cauldron. (What I'd do with it, I don't know -grin- but I like the idea!)
Folks would come from all around asking for love potions and cures for their babe's fussiness.
Where was I?
Oh, yes.
My little room.
I'm not advocating being selfish.
But mostly our children have their own space.
And while we Mama's are certainly Queens of the Castle, and get our way with most of its trappings, those of us doing our best to live our lives in partnerships with our families don't usually claim a space for ourselves.
I have done so, and I find it a wonderful thing, indeed.

NEA Response

Welp, I thought I could do it without getting riled, but turns out, I couldn't.
Here's what I'm sending with my signature.

Being a home educator, I am compelled to speak my mind regarding the NEA's Resolution - specifically the views expressed on home schooling.
While I understand that the NEA feels that it is the final word regarding the welfare of public children, most of those that choose to home educate do so because we do not see our children as "public".
We see them as individuals, and choose to nurture that individuality, and coax from them the gifts that set them apart from 'the public'.
Most of us are not interested in mass-manufacturing.
We are interested in this child, and his needs, and her personal interests and welfare.
While some accept without question the NEA's competency and right to choose how best to educate any and all children, and know what's best, some of us (home educator's) do not accept this "one size fits all" practice, and to judge us incompetent in choosing a way that is tailored specifically to the child's needs is just insulting.
We are not The Public.
We are individuals, and you will be able to identify many of us by the way we do not lie down and accept what others say is "good for us", but have the courage to find our own way, and shine on so brightly that we might even leave a well-lit trail for others (individuals) to follow.
One can hope.

So far I've seen the signatures of Laura, Evie, and Julie. And Melissia!
woohoo! I'm betting they'll get well over a thousand!

Petition Against NEA's Resolution

Hey everyone.

Here's something for you -
The National Education Association put out their Resolutions for the 2007-2008 year.
While some of it reads "according to state requirements" which I haven't a bone to pick with necessarily, living in a rather hs friendly state, I do have a problem with the opening statement, and "curricula approved by the state" (shudder) therefore I shall be signing the petition as soon as I can get my (thoughtful but short) response written.

Here is verbatim what the NEA has written, which can be found on their pdf file, here.

B-75. Home Schooling (their pp 36, pp 45 of the pdf file)
The National Education Association believes that homeschooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state curricular requirements, including the taking and passing of assessments to assure adequate academic progress. Home schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used.
The Association also believes that home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools.
The Association further believes that local public school systems should have the authority to determine grade placement and/or credits earned toward graduation for students entering or re-entering the public school setting from a home school setting. (1988, 2006)

You can sign the petition, written by the FL Homeschoolers, here.

Thanks to Moxy for posting about this.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sacred Spaces

Today I spent much of my time downstairs in My Room. Yes, My Room.
A place that I hardly visit at all during the spring and summer, as My Room becomes the backyard, the various miniature gardens, the patio.
But when it gets cool outside, and I am in need of sanctuary, I have this one.
Sacred Space, for me.
Most people have them.
A place to surround themselves with things that remind them to be True.
For many, it's their front room, the place they greet their guests. It shines with whatever they fancy - holy relics, temples, people they admire, etc.
Mine has those too, but it's downstairs, out of the way, and a place that's only for me.
And the children and Eric, as they often come down there when they're in need of peace or sanctuary.

Today I began cleaning it, as the season demands, and once again I was so thankful that I have this space - a room that I can enter, and feel an overwhelming (but welcome) immediate peace and sense of myself... and right-ness.
I am so grateful.

Autumn Rain

When you live in the desert you tend to find beauty even in rain gutters sorely in need of repairs.

Sunday Morning in September

I've never been one for New Year's resolutions.
I tell people - when they ask what my resolutions are or if I made any - that I don't believe in them. (It's hard to when people say "never again" to something - like smoking, and then three hours later take it up again.) I think if you are resolved to do something, than you should start when you have a desire to make a change. Waiting for another day seems silly to me.
I suspect that it also has something to do with my being really, really fond of new beginnings - according to my own rhythms and nature.
I don't feel an attachment to January first, it feels arbitrary to me. It only seems like a holiday because I can hear the fireworks and shouts and the banging of pans.

New beginnings come at different times for me.
They come with a thought.
An idea.
A desire.
A new moon.
A birthday.
A cup of peppermint tea.
They come in with the rolling thunder, and cleansing rains.
They come on a Sunday morning, like on the first day of fall.
Happy Mabon to you.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Last night, as I was reflecting on my rather volatile emotions throughout the day, I was considering what the triggers were.
One was the volatility of the children's emotions.
Easily explained.
Another was their impatience.
Next was their interaction with each other.
I'm not blaming my emotions on them, of course, because had I a tranquil state-of-mind, these things wouldn't affect me at all. I would be loving and accepting of the moments, and not riled by them.

I've found myself in a place of dissatisfaction with my usual response- sigh, "what's going on here, guys?"
Once in a while it seems alright, but when it's several times in an hour, it's a bit wearing - on all of us. And I don't see my interference contributing to peace, at all.

We do things differently than most I think. We don't use punishment in our home - even time out. We don't have much cause for tattling and blaming.
"Trevy bit me. Trevy bit mine head," as she grabbed her foot.
"Trevy bit you? Oh, no, did it hurt? It sounds like it hurt. Go talk to Trevy, and tell him "Ouch, Trevy, that hurt!"
So she toddled off.

Last night after much tumult (and a different situation), Trev said something about handling it differently, and that hurting someone was only teaching another how to treat you/others.

So... as I was saying - as I was thinking about all of this last night, I was considering solutions.

Sometimes when Eric and I are talking about something - whatever - Trev will come in and say "Don't listen to her/him, Dad/Mom!" or "Stop arguing!" or something like that. When we have been conversing, mind you, and not arguing in the least.
I'm thinking that it could be the very same for him when I interfere. When he and Maddie are playing, and it looks rough to me. And I say something. Make judgments.
"Gentle," I'll call.
Or "Kindness wins the day."
Or even "Hey!"

It does nothing to raise an awareness or desire in one's self to do the right thing. Observing and living is the best teacher. Having someone judge your actions is not the most productive - or at all productive - way to help you to develop your principles. I don't want my children do the right thing out of a sense of shame, I would like them to reap the benefits of a life well and kindly lived, and the joy that brings to their spirit.

I'm thinking hands off for a while.
Not when they're in trouble, when they need me I will certainly be there. When they have conflicts they need help with, or need help getting what they need in a situation I shall certainly be available to offer advice and support. When asked. When the problem has been brought to me. Or when it's serious - and not just a threat to my peace and quiet.

I am seeing my role in these situations much differently - as I am In Pursuit of Gentleness - I believe that pursuit needs to expand - it needs to involve not only patience, but also needs to include a vast amount of tolerance.
Which means not judging.
Being accepting.
Being comfortable with my children's relationship, and confident in their love for each other.
Trusting in their ability to communicate -without me.
Giving them room to explore what works and doesn't work for them.

I am not planning on bailing.
But I need to choose my words and actions much more thoughtfully. I need to demonstrate gentle behavior.
If I hear Trev shout at Maddie - often - for turning off his tv program, instead of me saying "Maddie, that's not kind, Trevy is watching that." (ugh) I need to ask Trev if he would like some help (just to get him started, and thinking along the lines of 'solution') or advice. If he would, then I could say "It looks like Maddie wants your attention, and thinks this is a really fun game. (which I often say) Maybe you could ask her if she'd like to watch with you, and if she'd like to have a lizard to play with while you guys watch." or something like that.
Just to get him moving in the way of solutions - without my input.

The house - and its souls - are much in need of a few things.
First and foremost - most urgently - I need to quit thinking in terms of "I have to get this done." and "I don't have time, I'm in a hurry." This is where many (98%) of my troubles begin. The Agenda, of course.

Secondly I need to get rid of all expectations. Some people live by expectations, and it works for them, but it doesn't for me. I don't want my (or my children's) happiness to be contingent upon certain results. Expectations means being attached to certain results, and being attached to results means that I am closed-minded, and unable to see the good in something else. Since being happy and joyful is a choice, and one chooses one's reality, I find much more peace in being fluid and flexible. Much more room for growth.

I believe that these two things are absolutely necessary for Practicing Patience and Pursuing Gentleness.

I think that by renewing my dedication to gentleness, just deciding to live mindfully in these situations, it will take us a long way into our more gentle and authentic selves.

Thoughts on this?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

You Make Me Dizzy, Miss Lizzy...

Yes, I've neglected this blog! (relatively speaking)
Life's been busy. ie - The Babes have been busy, and I've just been trying to keep up. Forget about this one - I can barely maintain o.l.m.

I must confess... I don't mind.
I'm not feeling particularly proud or accomplished with our various escapades, but I must say it is so lovely to be in a place (regardless of how it appears to others) of astounding interest and growth.
Life appears fascinating and enchanting to Trev and Cakes, and that's all that I could possibly wish for.

There have been moments... believe me, there have been moments!

Right after I wrote my last "I am the Queen of Cool" post, Trev threw his electric toothbrush into a despicious puddle on the bathroom floor.
Last night while making cookies, Maddie got her forearm whipped up into the hand mixer's... thingies. (What the heck are they called?) Trauma-a-rama. It was awful, I don't mind telling you.
A minute later, after a full recovery (hers, not mine) she drug off the new cookie cutters, and it took me a half hour (of aggravation) to find them.
Next morning was a 32 ounce glass -?- full of lemonade that was dropped straight down (Maddie) and exploded straight up, and then straight sideways all over my kitchen floor.
Maddie has not felt Quite The Thing lately... we all know what that does to a tot's disposition....

I've had my moments, Friends.
I am sorry to say that I cannot - truth now, impart any wise words or serene comments.

I am, however, coming to a place of (possibly) realizing that the perfect days will absolutely include a bit of chaos.

The other day, the children were all up in arms, we were getting ready to go, general chaos/chaos, I was getting aggravated, and Eric The Sage said blithely "What?, it's just Ordinary Family Chaos...."

Ordinary Family Chaos.
Mayhaps I should change olm's title.

Hopefully more tomorrow - when I am fresh and new, and the day dawns bright and clear....
Oh, and it'll be quiet....

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Serenity Now!

This morning (I laugh, it was before all the already reported chaos) I was thinking that I needed to post about the patience that I've experienced for the last day or so.
I really have - other than the potential disaster that I already mentioned. Even with that, though, I kept my cool, whereas on another day I would have shouted "Quiet!" or "Heeeeey!" In a pleading, panicked and "I'm so done" sort of way.
But today... I just hung on, and knew that I had to fix it fast and get out of it for a minute.
Yesyesyes, you can all see how unstable I am.
So what.
I have told you that I am a thousand times, now you have witnessed it from a front row seat, and have see how, exactly, it happens!
(Just so you know, Maddie is snoozing away, still, and Trev is letting me enjoy this luxurious moment. Bless him.)

Somehow, just by making up my mind that patience and gentleness was a priority, I have managed to keep it together.
Whenever I've been doing something - well into my own project - I've (mostly) been able to just stop and help them with whatever they've needed, and have been able to put whatever it is that I'm doing on hold for a bit.
Instead of "if you'll just give me a second, I'll be done, and then you'll have my full attention", and fighting my way to the end of my agenda, I've been able to say "what is it?", and have known that what I am/was doing is not necessarily Gone Forever.
Just that tiny shift has made a huge difference.
I am pretty positive that this is something every mother on the planet practices but me, but I am slow, you see.
I don't necessarily see it as a bad thing, though it certainly might seem selfish.
I don't see it that way, and the reason I don't is because it goes back to the old motto "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." I used to feel really bad about that, and take the blame entirely for the emotions of my loved ones, but I've recently shifted that thought as well, into a more friendly one. Part of it is that I know (I've always known) that it imperative to care for one's self - or all of a sudden find yourself with pockets to let - nothing left to give. I've also stopped taking blame for my family's emotions is because we are all responsible for our own, and my loves have the ability just as easily to affect me, my thoughts, and emotions. It is not something that solely relates to me.

I've read a couple of places lately about this very thing.
It helped me to make the shift from "taking the blame" as I said, and which I am very, very good at, to "I can set the tone and mood of this household." I'm not sure where I was reading, though.

The point to all this is that I am making a shift.
While this has always been something I've wanted to attain, and have even achieved at times, sometimes even for long spells, I've always before gotten angry or disappointed with myself for messing it up. "What is wrong with you?!?" sort of thinking.

I've not raised my voice, or gotten upset, (though admittedly I was starting to get a little over-whelmed today) and I'm coming away still with no expectations/attachments to my 'behavior', no rigidity, no feelings of being afraid to mess up... nothing.

I'm just at ease, and the patience and gentleness are just there.

Follow-up to Bees

I stole a few more minutes, because I noticed mistakes on bees post.
Proof-reading and correcting.
(silent groan.)
"Yes? What is it, Bub?"
"What day is it?"
Think, think, think..."Tuesday."
"Happy Tuesday, Mom."
"Happy Tuesday to you, too, Bub."

full of bees

Do you ever feel like you're not very smart, or that you don't have what it takes to really be a good mother?
This is not a sad post - and I'm not crying over it, I just get exasperated -it seems so easily!
First I was trying to find information on the batrachotomus for Trev, and was also (at the same time) looking up evolution, and science experiments. Ran into this page which pretty much let me know that I am not nearly as smart/competent as I imagine myself to be. Granted, I did not try to decipher it - took a quick look at it, and said "Uh, no." and went to the next one.
Fast forward about half an hour..
We had just gotten done with our terrarium, and filling it with various bugs - I'll write later on it on olm (be warned, Secret Agent, five spiders!), and then came in the house and the children wanted to play with the tangrams, so we did that, Maddie starts um... asking for Pooh in a way that sort of set my teeth on edge, can't find it, Trev finishes his robot and wants its picture taken, and wants me to finish my tangram design that looks like a robot (not what I was going for, but that's fine), Maddie wants food NOW! all of a sudden, "When are we going to the store to get the plaster of paris and the skittles and the baking soda and vinegar for volcanoes?" "Uh, food first, Maddie is hungry." "Come on little batrachotomus, Mom, look, the batrachotomus is climbing up the wall again. Can we get skittles for the batrachotomus?" "No, there were not skittles in the times of the dinosaurs of course, it would make him sick." "But, I told you that I saw them when I went back in time. Hey, where are Shaggy and Scooby, anyway, I haven't seen them in a long time." "Well, a time traveler must have left them there. Maybe they're sleeping, after a big lunch." What's super-quick?.. "Bagel, Maddie?" "No."
Eyes darting everywhere, starting to feel closed in.... "Peanut butter sandwich?" "Yeah." Phew. "Chicken noodle soup, Trev?" "So can we get some skittles for batrachotomus, too?" I'n hungry!" "I'm fixing it, Maddie. Trev, really, Bub, I can't play pretend right now. After lunch, okay? I'm starting to freak a little. Let me feed all of us.... I really need to regroup for a few minutes..." He asked me something, I dunno, bzz, bzz, bzz-zap, bzz.... "Here you go, Maddie, can't have grilled cheese with it bub, we need to get some butter at the store..." Okay, I'm going outside for a sec while the soup heats up....
I start (practically running) for the backdoor
"Mom, can we play again in a little while?" following me.
"Yeah Bub, but no more questions right now, okay? I'm feeling sort of stressed out, and my brain is zzzipping and zzzzapping, and I'm sort of freakin' on the inside."
"You mean like bees?" (Which is an interesting question - I took a quiz that Melissia posted about "What does your name mean?" and my answer was "full of bees". Ha! (though evidently it changes every time did it it today to get it exactly right, and was two completely different answers.)
"Actually, more like I'm electrocuting...."

Now we've had lunch and the tot is sleeping out here on the patio sofa, Trev is playing in the sandbox, and I am type-type-typing away.
(deep sigh.)

This sort of thing happens often around here.
Eric asked the other night when we were throat deep in the same "What do people with a lot of kids do? How many does your sister have? Six? Four?"
"Do all of them go at once? What do they do? Do people just get used to it?"
A few minutes later (like now) the chaos had subsided, and all was quiet and still.
"I think that when it's just two, eventually you get quiet, like now, and get a chance to regroup. But I don't think you get that if you have loads of them."
(shudder.) The poor souls.

Trev now asks, as I write this, "Mom, did you eat all your chicken noodle soup?"
"So are you out of time out?"
"Just a sec...."

Monday, September 17, 2007

As said by...

Meant to mention this early this morning - saw on the early a.m. news that Sally Fields accepted her award last night for playing a mother to a son who is at war.
Sally said "If mothers ruled the world, there would be no God damned wars."

Sing it, sister.

And I think we should all damn them. Not just God.

In Pursuit of Gentleness

It seems an auspicious time to make a few changes. My birthday is coming. Autumn is due to make its appearance in a few days. The witches new year is Halloween.
I don't feel the need for drastic change in my life - I am finding beauty in many things these days, but I would like to come away with more gentleness and patience - for myself, and for those I love.
So in pursuit of gentleness - and in light of the fact that the best way to bring something into your life is to give it - I intend to be doing just that.
Offering patience, and gentleness. Practicing it. Celebrating it. Recognizing it.
Acknowledging the many wonderful ways that I receive and can demonstrate these beautiful qualities.


Autumn officially arrives in my town at 3:51am on Sunday, September 23.
How delicious!

This morning I drifted outside while my three babes were still sleeping. I had left my notebook outside last night on the covered patio - I suspected I'd want to be outside this morning, you see.
A lovely fifty-something degrees this morning. Mmmmmm. Perfect for a chenille throw over my shoulders, thick knitted socks, and a cup of vanilla mocha coffee - with hot cocoa added to it, of course.

I've been thinking more about my upcoming birthday. My friend Evie lays claim to a week for her celebration, most times.

Birthdays around here (for Eric and I) just go by quietly, without fanfare or much notice. While that's always perfectly alright, lately I've been called to... do something.

I think it started with Michelle's post about May being her birthday month. Yes, I think I've been considering it since way back then. What a delicous idea - to nurture one's self for an entire month! While I do take care to do things for myself and claim for myself moments or even days as I need them, it seems appropriate to consciously plan to do so for the entire month.

October is my favorite month of the year - there is all that romantic gathering and harvesting, soup making, decorating throughout the house with gorgeous leaves, pumpkins, and gourds; burning yummy pumpkin scented candles, kicking up leaves while taking afternoon walks - in general, wrapping ones self in all the decadence the season offers.

I said yesterday that I wanted to do something, but that I wasn't sure what. I know what I would like to experience - daily deliciousness.

That for me includes things like a morning meditation while it's quiet and still.

Coffee on the patio.


Nature journaling - inspired by these two glorious books, Keeping a Nature Journal by Claire Walker Leslie, and The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady (1906) by Edith Holden.

I don't want to make a plan for each day - as expectations lead to frustration for me most times, but I think I would like to get up early enough that I have a few minutes to consider what it is that I'd like to experience or accomplish each day.
If you feel the need to nurture yourself for a time (and therefore be better equipped to nurture your loves and your world) please join me - and I'd love to hear any ideas or stories that you would like to share.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Month of Sundays

My birthday is next month. October 23. I'll be thirty-nine.
There is a certain something that I want to do... though I'm not sure what, yet.
Something about a Month of Sundays.
Something about lots of sitting in quiet.
Lots of time for meditation and contemplation.
Lots of heeding messages from the twitterings and cheepings of my bird friends, and tumbling rivers and whispering winds.
Lots of time for writing, and lots of wisdom.

I'm not sure.
But for some reason this year I am called to celebrate.

September 16

This morning while I was insisting I be allowed more sleep on the couch and when I finally gave up (at after ten o'clock - ?!) I woke up to all sorts of goings on.
There were cuisenaire rods all over the coffee table. Mixed with cars.
Grapes were out.
Madeleine was eating a plum (not candy).
Books everywhere.
The library prehistoric video had already been viewed, and now a documentary that we taped late last night from discovery channel on prehistoric animals was being watched.

I was reminded of a conversation I had with my mother last night.
She said that family had voiced concerns that Trev wasn't reading and doing math.
Number one - Trev is reading. Not that it matters. Granted, it's words like "the" and "fish" and "frog", but I am not worried about his "not reading" when the child regularly asks me how to spell words like "social". Psh.
Number two... he is six! He's not fourty!!! Sheesh!
My mother (bless her) defended us, and said "Let me tell you something, that boy knows more about insects and dinosaurs than I will ever know. I'm not worried about it."
Our conversation (the babes were home with dh) went on to a bit of politics, but mostly just about the presidential election, and she said something about "I'm a lot more liberal than my sisters are. My parents always tried to put a square peg into a round hole, or visa versa, which ever." She followed her liberal comment later with "But I can tell you this... I'm also a lot happier than them (some folks she knows).
"That's a really interesting observation, Mom." We were not speaking of political affiliation, of course, but philosphy.
"Well, yeah," she said, "if you don't judge, and just let people be, you're a lot happier."

Back to the disapproval from the family...
Do people really suppose that unschoolers aren't learning anything? Do they suppose that we visit places like antelope island and don't speak to eachother the whole day? Do they suppose that we see a hole in the ground, and don't say "What do you think might be living in there?" and "what other animals live in this area?" and "what do they eat?" and "do they hybernate?" and "does their fur change colors in the wintertime?" and "how far do these birds migrate?"
My biggest gripe about the disapproval - and I'm not angry, just frustrated with that thinking - is "Why. do. people. not. ask. themselves. WHY?"
"Why should children learn about evolution only when they're in high school?"
"Why should they learn math before biology?"
"Why is school so important?" Don't spout answers at me - do some soul-searching, and serious studying. Come to me from a place where you've let go of all you've learned, and studied with an open mind, and have witnessed the magic of true discovery. For that's what most unschoolers have done.
"Because it's the way we (as a society) do things" is never, never an acceptable answer to me.

It's sorta funny, but sort of insulting, too, that people would (apparently) assume that we (parents) don't know what we're doing. That we don't do so much reading, studying, researching, questioning, noticing, and facilitating.
That we don't keep cool tools around the house. That we don't explore wondrous places - places like under the rocks in the front yard as well as the Natural History Museum. Places like the neighborhood bakery and the aquarium. Places like ponds and even bushes in the front yard.
How many families discuss weekly regeneration and echolocation?
We're not idiots (ru parents) and we know what we're doing.

"Mom, come see this!"
I go in there.
"Watch, this Euparkeria is going to evolve. Watch."
"What do you mean it's going to evolve?" I'm thinking he's mistaken, it's gonna grow? Or get eaten?
It did, indeed, evolve. It was showing that up until now euparkeria had a small part in the early triassic, 240 million years ago, but that it was one of the antecedents of all dinosaurs and pterosaurs.
Yes, I can surely see that I need to be worried about the welfare of this child's mind.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Life is so mysterious and magical, isn't it?
I was thinking (don't know why) that tonight's gratitude post would be my final one, though I want to continue to post gratitude remarks at the end of regular posts - just to keep the good mojo aflowin'.
I wasn't sure what I was going to write about. I was thinking along the lines of the wondrous tomato and fresh basil and mozzarella salad that I had for supper. Or the wonderful and uplifting conversation I had with my mother.
Then Laura sent me a sweet note about gratitude.
"Aaah, there it is", I thought. I'm grateful for gratitude.
What a lovely (and serendipitous!) ending to a month of gratitude.

I am a believer in karma - not in a "forever pay your dues for a mistake you made in a past life" sort of way, rather in a "natural law means you choose your experiences" sort of way.
I mean I believe that we choose our literal reality (well, supposed reality) as well as our emotional reality.
ie - today's decisions equal to today's/maybe tomorrow's reality; and also that we have the freedom to in any moment to judge an experience as "good" or "bad". It's entirely up to us.

But you know already know my thoughts on this, right?

On to gratitude.

I began the set because I believe that whatever we most need to receive is what we should be spreading around.
And since the Universe is a Grand Ol' Chap, it tends to give us what we give in (at least) three-fold.
So, I was sorely in need of Good Things a while back.
It wasn't that I was lacking, of course, just that I was having a problem identifying the Good Things. Was too busy hurting over and keeping track of The Bad.
Knew I had to turn that around.
Thus, Gratitude.

It was not my intent to manipulate, and I was never tempted to fake gratitude. If I felt off, then it was something not quite earth-shattering, such as tomato-basil-mozzarella salad. But always sincere.
I'm not sure exactly how, but somewhere along the way, things changed. I lost the panicked edge. I lost the worries.
Maybe it was strictly because of the passing of time, but I don't think so, as I can obsess on things and worry and fret about things for a reeeeeeeally long time.
But it changed.
And here I am.
Grateful - truly grateful - for so many wonderful things.
It doesn't matter that they may not be earth-shattering to others. Or even silly, for that matter. They are my markers of a life well-lived, my sparkly stones that I've left on my trail, my memories, and smiles, and sometimes heart-felt shudders.

I am in a very different place than I was a month ago.
And I am grateful.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I'm grateful for just a moment.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Today I found great beauty in this.
I'm grateful.


Legal was not a big deal for me this year.
The whole school thing, and concerns and fears had me by the ankles last year, but as I've said... this year we sailed right along.
I was a bit nervous about going in to the school district, because I didn't know what to expect. The law says they cannot insist on the child's birthday, but I didn't know if I would be given grief because I hadn't given that information, or if they would refuse to sign my exemption form, or what to expect.
The lady - I believe it was Lana - asked if I would mind giving the child's birthday, I gave her a confused look and said I didn't think it was required, and she said that it wasn't, but that I would have to get another note notarized saying he was born after a particular date.
I felt a bit bullied (but only slightly) as I think she knew I didn't want to do more running around and then come back there again, so I told her his birthday. Then she asked for his sex, which I am sure makes not a hill of beans, but I told her anyway.
Ironically, as I was standing there, in this strange sort of warehouse place with a few offices, one of the offices right there had a sign (bumpersticker) on the door that said "Silence is Golden" but Golden was struck through with red and "Unnecessary" was written over it. Huh.
After a closer look, I think it was advocating for the deaf, but still ironic, I thought.

I was really relieved to have this done - in case I ran into trouble with anyone, and had visitors come knocking on my door (Her children are not in school!!!) I didn't want to have to correct it later, and maybe be in a position of defending my right to do so, or have them say "it's too late, you are neglectful, and we will see that the courts rule this option out for you."

I told Trev what the affidavit was about, and he was relieved to have it all done, too.
"Now I can't tell some ol' teacher what to do." He said. No, wait, that isn't right. "Now I can tell some dumb ol' teacher what to do." No, that's not right, either. "Now some teacher can't tell me what to do!"
"You can be my teacher! And you don't tell me what to do!"

I'm not real excited about them knowing his birthday - just because they don't have the legal right to ask, but it's not the end of the world, either.
Next year I will be sure to include a phrase of "my child who is of legal school age" in my affidavit.
Now we're done, and they can't take it away from me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gratitude: Exempt!

I'll tell the story tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I'm grateful that babe was found.
I'm glad he's home safe.
And I'm glad mine are, too.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I'm so very grateful for the three giggling souls in the next room.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I'm thankful that it's quiet and that there are no flashing lights and no bells and whistles going off.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Let's Just MAKE Them Be Free

This is how I feel most of the time.
It's ridiculous, I know.
Such is my my head.
And heart.
And spirit.
Full of contradictions.

It occurred to me yesterday - this whole complex idea of making people be free - is one of the really big things I need to learn in this life. Up there with We Are All One. And Patience. There are subtle colors and nuances - but also intricate turns and dead-ends!, to this idea, and I am just beginning to find my way through them.

The problem with just letting others be free to be miserable is that I believe that if we could erase what went wrong - in children, all folks oppressed, all folks who were mistreated as a child and who now are dis-eased with harmful tendencies or behaviors, all folks who are down-trodden and under tyranny, and replaced it with enough love, kindness, understanding, and freedom, the hurts would be gone.
I truly believe that people hurt others because they are hurting themselves. What other reason is there?

There is a really subtle - maybe even abstract - thought that sponsors another thought that says that yes, people are free to live under tyranny or bondage (in whatever form they choose), but others are also free to point out another way - others that desire A Change In The World. In collective consciousness. That maybe it's alright to be a guiding voice for others who may be looking to free themselves. Yes, Truth can be found anywhere. You can find it listening to the wind, on the radio being belted out by Tina Turner, while watching a boxing match, and an infinite amount of places. Some of us (yours truly) find whole bunches of inspiration on the 'net (sidebar).
Truth is funny that way. Eventually we can't miss it.

I just really don't see a problem with wanting and helping to change the world. By linking with others who share your feelings. It's not an apocalypse or cataclysm I'm speaking of, but rather a shift in society's consciousness - an evolution of society.
I am thinking that perhaps it's possible.
Societies evolve, don't they? Surely they do. Any anthropologists out there? Surely they shift, and change, and dip, and meld with another, and influence and are influenced by, and evolve. Probably it relates to the Powers That Be at the moment. In regard to who is in political power, and who is speaking up - the Abe Lincolns, and Rosa Parks, and Adolph Hitlers, and the comings and goings of the world.
Yes now that I think of it, of course society changes. It has changed thousands of times!

It is not my intent to proselytize. But who among us wouldn't want to experience more joy, more compassion, more peace, more patience, more love, and more hope?
I feel like I sound like (big grin) that I'm trying to start a new religion. Heaven Forbid! Rest assured, that's not my intent.
It's just that I am entering into a place in my life where I am beginning to believe that a different state of the world is possible. Not according to my own rules of "making them be free". As appealing as that simple idea is.
But something more regular. Softer. Like a newspaper article. Like going on the Dr. Phil show and then putting short clips on YouTube. Like demonstrating skills while you're in the park dealing with tired and hungry children. Like listening to a sister-in-law complain with kindness and understanding. Like mending some of your own hurts by being the interpreter between your child and your mother.
And maybe even like speaking your Truth by writing in a silly ol' blog.
You know what they say.
Change begins with me.

Definitely a Homily

Evidently I'm not done, yet.
Julie inspired this one. In a comment she left, she said "RU works for kids, it may not work for the adults, but it works for kids, and that's all I'm interested in."
I loved this comment.

There are many thoughts that I've wanted to express that can be related to this idea.
One of them is the whole "RUers are not good parents" thought.
Because we let them make their own decisions about television, bedtime, food, and their abilities.
Most of those that parent this way - call it whatever you like, I choose to call it R.U. (ru) because it's quick and to me encompasses the ideas of consensual living, respectful parenting, child-led learning, and living in a household and family unit where all voices are heard and feel free to express their desires and opinions. That's what R.U. means to me. -Back to what I was saying..
Most of those/us that parent this way see it not as not parenting, but sort of hyper-parenting. Parenting on overdrive. Only it's not the children in which we feel the need control, but own wayward tongues and emotions, and shedding the skins that do not fit from our own childhoods and experiences.
As I mentioned yesterday, I get quite angry when I hear of folks that insist their children buy their own school clothes and supplies (and similar things). My thoughts on it are - if you are a Mama home with her babies, and your dh is the breadwinner, does he make you go out and sell newspapers if you want a new skirt? To the argument of "well, that's different, I work at home - clean, cook, etc" I would say, yes, but you choose to do those things. You choose to live in a tidy kitchen. You choose to stay at home with your children. We all know it's not a job from which we receive a salary. Along those same lines, you wouldn't think to pay your child for bringing you a glass of water, or pay your spouse for getting you a fresh napkin at dinner. It's done out of love, and out of what speaks to your heart, and it's how you choose to live your life. Same as dh has the option of saying "I ain't workin' no more" and quitting his job, leaving his family, and packing up his hanky and hanging it on the back of a long stick.
Love is the reason he goes to work each day. Love is the reason we try to make a happy home. Love is the reason you should also provide for your children. (I did warn you by the title that this would be a sermon.)

Another thought I've had but have yet to express is another control issue.
People think (I honestly don't know why they think this way - all I can figure is that it has something to do with the Adam and Eve story, and that children are born in sin) that if you give your child freedom that it's certainly the road to ruin, and they'll never be responsible, or kind, or loving, or have self discipline. That they're born wicked, and out to manipulate their saintly parents, and just want their way. Well, we would ALL like our way. I damned sure would, as is quite obvious by this post.
Why not give it to them as best you can? Why not say "I can see this is very important to you, and it's something you love, so let's talk about how we can make this happen for you...."
Why on earth would one want to teach children that life is not about joy, and that he was put on this earth to suffer through his life? -"Well, guess what, the world doesn't work that way!" or my very favorite "Life is not fair!" or "You can't get your way all the time!" Why not? Why not make life as grand as possible for children? Do people honestly believe that the best way to ensure your child has a happy adulthood is to show them that life is not so grand when they're a child? (ie prepare them for disappointment) How dismal.
I remember reading on a mommy list last year a mother wrote in to vent because she was all burnt about her children sneaking off to the park across the street to get one of the free lunches. She shouted at them that "Lunch is a privilege around here, and you do as I say!" I was just sick.
I dropped out shortly thereafter. No thanks. Makes me sick thinking about it still.

I find it terribly amusing that people think controlling a child is the way to have them learn self control.
Honestly. (she rolls her eyes) How does that even make sense?
The only people I can see this possibly working on are people that are afraid to live their lives, and who therefore cannot, that I can see, be capable of finding their own happiness. Most of us, surely, only rebel when we're given the space - usually at eighteen- to do so. We spend our money wildly. We party our way through college. Ever wonder why college kids are so crazy? Hmmm. Not just college - we all are at that point of our lives. Beginning at around sixteen, you know everything. You start to really come into yourself - regardless of what your parents think, and either they're your biggest supporter of who you are - really are - or else you run (in one way or another.)
How to encourage those young people who are just coming into I Know Everything to make good choices? Experience, like the rest of us. Beginning at birth. Making decisions for one's life throughout one's life is the best way to gain experience, confidence, and to be adept. (when to eat, what to eat, how to eat, when to play, what to play, how to play, when to work, how to work, what to work)

We can all surely see how the benefits of prison have made those poor souls into wonderful citizens of our society. That being in a controlled environment has allowed them to blossom and shine, that it surely has taught them right from wrong, and that upon release they are quite capable of expressing themselves beautifully, and they have surely learned very productive ways to pursue their happiness.
Which is why we all want them to live next door to us.
Yes, things were bad for them when they went in. But being externally controlled didn't teach much in the way of self-control, did it?

It is not my opinion that parents need to give their child absolutely everything. I don't see that it would be bad for them, necessarily, but I'm not advocating that. Neither is it my opinion that the child's wants/wishes come before the rest of the family's. What I'm saying is that I believe the benefits of living in a home where you are treated as an equal - and not someone to be controlled - but taken seriously, respected, and cherished can only be good for you.
When you are open with children - "Daddy chooses to go to work so that we can live in this nice house, and have yummy foods in our pantry, and so that we have a few dollars to go really fun places" and "here's what our budget looks like this week, son", and "What are your ideas on how you'd like to spend our vacation?" and "These are my concerns about riding your bike where I can't see you.... what can we do to help us to both get what we need?" they will certainly be exposed to the nuances of life, learn how things work, and they'll learn how to make good choices.
All without being controlled.
All without being told what to think, or how to behave.
People that feel controlled by others want to control others (Lah, do I ever know this one.)
People that are miserable want others to share in their misery.
People that think life is not fair want to make sure that others understand and believe that Life Is Not Fair.
Conversely, people that are respected treat others with respect.
People that are shown kindness act with kindness.
People that are happy want others to be happy, too.

It is damned hard for some of us (me, for instance) to practice these ideals.
It's terribly inconvenient to have to think instead of saying "because I said so".
To constantly be looking for solutions to making sure everyone feels important and heard.

But I'd rather do the work on myself, as this road and task is most certainly a Truth of mine, than leave it for yet another generation to fix.
I can only imagine what wondrous heights to which my children shall fly if they live their lives knowing and truly believing that they themselves are not limited.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Anonymous need not reply...

Well, here I sit.
Going on and on about how I think and what I believe in.
I've had a lot of thoughts lately about "maybe I shouldn't be quite so.... er, Me!, in my posts. Maybe I could be more gentle, and kind. Maybe I should attain for a Kind Blog lotus stamp."
Maybe I should go for public approval, and stand In The Middle Of The Road. (Not at all implying that kind folks are middle of the road, I just mean that you don't see Soule Mama flippin' 'em off and tellin' them to go jump in the lake.)

I've been reading here and there recently about Anonymous' comments. When I set up my blog, I saw the option of "Allow anonymous comments?" and I said "Uh, no." If I'm gonna Stand, then I think others should, too.
There is way too much info here, way too much Truth Telling to subject myself to a comment that Anonymous may or may not mean, and may just be spouting because he or she is having a bad day.
If you're gonna say it, Man, say it like you mean it.

So I've gone through the medley of thoughts regarding "what's right" and "what's right for all" and "what's right for me" and "what's right for children" and "how to fix the world".
Most of those thoughts you were subjected to in my last post, which is why it was scattered and long and broad.
I really do believe in freedom for all - even the freedom to voice an opinion that you don't wish to be personally attacked for.
But I also believe in Personal Truth.
And really, even if you spout off an "You're an idiot, and doing a diservice to your child/ren", you're probably going to revisit later and see what the response is to You and Your Words, so it's going to affect you regardless of your signature/not at the bottom line.
You're gonna still feel attacked, and bruised.

Maybe if you had spoken your Truth aloud, and with either conviction or an open mind, you might have been treated better, with understanding, and maybe you would come away wiser and have at least a better understanding of some of the folks with which you share the planet.

So I said "No".
No Anonymous comments.

If we're (I'm) gonna speak Truth, then it needs to be real Truth.
So I'll Stand.
And, for better or worse, I encourage others to Stand with me.

Here's to a few of them... remarkable and inspiring women who have lately gathered strength to Stand on their own.
Amanda, Aubrey, Evie, Julie, Kim, Laura, and Boho.

I Saw Something Nasty In the Woodshed (or) A Homily

Well, maybe I did.
We'll see.
I'm not yet sure what its name is. Maybe Back To School Worries and Livin' R.U.

Two years ago last month I knew homeschooling was it for us. It was an easy decision- charters were hard to get into, my sisters homeschooled, my child had never been to daycare. Three months later, in November, I joined Always Unschooled.
As soon as I heard of unschooling (I studied it in the fall months), I knew that it sounded right.
But of course I had some things to work through. I wrote a few months back on deschooling, and what that process meant for me.
It's interesting to me that I've drifted over a few blogs lately that are expressing doubt and fears - it's Back To School time. This is one of the problems that I have with schools, and school thinking. We've done it for so long that it has managed to replace our own good judgment, and it has instilled itself in our brains as simply The Way.
It's merits are not usually questioned, as it is just something that Must Be Done. There are problems with the system, of course, but nothing that a bit more money won't fix.

I have seriously conflicting thoughts about school and the ru life.
I believe in freedom. That means for all.
I believe that the earth's souls should be allowed to fulfil their truth in freedom. It occurs to me that that includes folks that wish to live in misery or under another's tyranny or under orders or following along with what their society dictates. Thus my dilemma. Freedom includes freedom to live in bondage. Complex, if you see what I mean.

In the matter of living ru - I get a bit more... huffy.
No, I'm not perfect at it. I am an extremely emotional person, and I holler sometimes. I am sinfully impatient. I am bossy by nature.
But I really, really believe that living respectfully with children - ru- is the right thing to do.
I mentioned to Evie yesterday (during a correspondence regarding a comment on her post) that for me it's almost like the beginning of a revolution.
A hundred years ago women were afforded no where near equal rights. While it certainly isn't equal today, either, in most parts of our society at least they (we) are not regarded as chattel to be owned, patted on the head and patronized. Maybe by a few idiots, but that's their truth for this time around, I spose.
I think that looking upon children should be viewed with the same eye. To think that we can take a child and make him into what we dream for him to be is erroneous. If that were true, and a child had no thoughts (outside his parents) of his own, then we (the parent) would never come across opposition. The child would just say "Yes, ma'am", and that would be the end of it.
One of the things that really infuriates me (as Evie now knows) is the belief that children should be controlled.
Parents that insist that their children save their allowance for school supplies and school clothes. Or dictate at all how that allowance should be spent and saved. Or make them save their money for a bike if they want one (provided the family can afford it). Pssh.
It infuriates me that parents have an "I owe you nothing" mentality, and that the child must work for her possessions.
Listen, folks. We all knew going in that "children are expensive". Eric and I lived together for eleven years before we had a baby. We were terrified that we couldn't afford it.
Eventually we jumped - and knew that we would find a way.
And we have. We're not wealthy people. We have a decent (but fifty years old) house in a good part of town. Eric makes a good living for us - but he is the only one bringing in a significant amount of money.

After I cleaned up the playroom and sorted everything, last night I was thinking "Wow, this is a really great house for a kid to grow up in. We've got just about everything." And I was proud of it, and happy for my children. Don't get me wrong - we don't have boats, and jet skis, and motor cycles, and battery powered hummers for the children to drive, but we have a variety of paints, and boxes for make believe, and legos, puzzles, a kitchen with wooden toys and pots, books, books, and more books - everything from Martin Luther King Jr. to constellations to the Human Body to the deep sea, and lots of fun play equipment (including bicycles!) outside.
Do I begrudge my children these things? No way. I figure I owe it to them. It comes with the territory.
There are certain things I owe to my children because I am their Mama. A happy childhood is one of them. Tools to aid them in imagining and growing. Nourishment, of all kinds. Safety. Joy. A healthy environment. Respect for Who They Are.

As you can see, while I believe in freedom, I also have very specific ideas on how a child should be treated. I believe they need room to grow - freely . Unconditional love. Unconditional liking, even. Respect. I believe they should be treasured and accepted.
Indeed, I believe it's the answer to most of the world's problems.

Back to the nasty in the woodshed....
I had a bout with panic for a minute a few months ago. Its name was Cartoon Network. It invaded our hearts, minds, and home for several weeks.
I got reeeeeal diligent in stocking our Learning Cabinet. (which we call the shelves in our entertainment center in the livingroom - where I keep some supplies handy.) Strewing. Cuisenaire rods, tangrams, library books, legos, dominoes, pick-up sticks, paints, etc. Swapped and traded once a week or so.
I got all terrified after hearing Naomi Aldort (whom I highly respect) say something about children's brain development and the repercussions tv had on it. I didn't freak, and turn it off, but a couple of times I had to sit down and have a talk with Little Son and say "Trev, I'm concerned about this..." and he'd play for a minute, and go back to the tv. Days eventually turned in to a couple of months, if I remember right.
I bit my nails.
"Wanna read something with me?"
"No thanks."
"Hey, wanna build with dominoes?"
Sometimes it was "sure!" and sometimes it was "nah".
Strew, strew, strew. I was nowhere near where I was last fall, when I was really quite compelling in my ideas and suggestions. But I was worrying, and I was offering.

I mentioned to Eric (dh) a few days ago the things that have been happening lately.
I have not traded out that cupboard in months. (you might have noticed it's chaos in some of our pictures in the livingroom on olm.)
There is no need.
There is so much learning diversity in this house these days. Every day different tools and toys are brought out by the children. And books. Especially books. For about six months there my children had no interest in books. It layed me out for a while. There were lots of other things going on, so I wasn't panicking, but I was more than a bit concerned when my son told me "Books are so boring! It's much better to see the moving pictures on tv!" whoof- Stagger, stagger, stagger goes the mother, clutching her chest to pull out the knife.
But I didn't press it.

Last year at this time, I was much in the same place as some other unschoolers seem to be finding themselves in this year.
And I didn't like it. I wanted desperately to trust, and to know that everything would turn out all right.

Now our lives seem so full - bursting and brimming with discoveries and explorations.
I can't say if it's me and my perceptions that have changed - though I am sure I have grown more confident and at ease with our ways- or if it's that my children are just a dozen times more sparkly.
I think it's probably that I have no attachments, or (hardly) any expectations, and that we are free to pursue our happiness, and that I've come to a place that I believe and trust in "learn in our own way and time, the things that we love." (Ren Allen)
How great is that?
After these almost two years, I'm finally coming to a place of trust.
I'm so thankful to be in a place of appreciation and celebration instead of attachment and fear.

Yes, there was something nasty lurking in the woodshed.
But I went out there and bravely flung the door open wide, and then just walked away.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Gratitude: Pretties

I'm grateful for pretty things.
Like early this morning when I hung out my whites, and the new sun was still shining through the east, and coming through the tree, all mottled and sparkly-like onto the greens left vibrant by the storms of the last couple of days.

The air is cool, the curtains are flowing, and early morning life is pretty.
I'm grateful.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sisters Speak

I read on Boho's a little over a week ago, this message-
"...Totally how church should be. At one point, towards the end, a woman got up to sing a beautiful, heart~soaked song that had this message:"When you feel you've done all you can... just STAND."

Yes. Yes.

And then tonight on Soule Mama I read-
"scene from the end of a day -
the favorite, softest summery cotton pajama pants - slipped on just as the sun sets :: a few more striped rocks added to the pile from the day's adventure :: the splashing, laughing, tired sound of 'three soules in a tub'..."

...and honest to goodness, it made me want to weep.
Not out of longing, or sentimentality, but for very practical reasons.
I try to recognize and acknowledge the beautiful (but buried in ordinary) treasures of the day. No doubt about it.

What I found so affecting were two things close to my own heart lately - today's cool weather - so fine that I lounged in my cropped salmon pink cotton knit pj pants all day, and even moreso - the mention of "three Soule's in a tub".
Unremarkable to you, but not so to me.
It reminded me that in real life, in very real childhood, it is quite possible that loving, carefree, and natural children can interact in a "home" environment, and "three in a tub" is not of itself cause for worry and heartache.
And now having said that, I am hereby done with these particular worries, and am done with, Once and For All, this particular subject.
I am well rid of this subject.
I'm not slamming the door violently, and going out kicking and screaming.
But the whole thing really shook me and my perceptions. Because of innuendos or others prejudices, I questioned innocence and it made us vulnerable to others judgments.
No more.
I am now free of it.
We are free.


Shout out "Wa-hoo!" in glee and utter abandon.

I said before that I was gonna wait for a bit more... MORE of one.

Last night as I was leaving to pick up Eric (dh) from work, the wind kicked up so hard! I found out this morning that it was about 60mph, which is pretty good for these parts.

"Waaaaaahoooooooooo!" I shouted. I love wind. I mean, I really, really, love it. Dh hates it (he is a fisherman and now also rides a bike to work) and I always take personal offense to his "Damned wind" comments, as much as I do his "damned hippies" comments.
I then shouted it again just for good measure.

I grew up (early childhood, anyway) in Oklahoma, tornado territory. I like dark, dark storms. I remember waking up in the middle of the night when I was a kid (someone would be stirring, for some reason) and it would be pitch black - no street lights, really, back then, and least in the neighborhoods - and I felt so snug, and secure, and safe, and full.

Hurricane winds. Black as pitch nights. Howls so deep that you wonder if your house will stand. Skies so dark at three o'clock that you can't tell if it's a.m. or p.m. Thunder rolling. Lightning crashing.
Strange, maybe, but for me? It's all music.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the earth's demonstrations are a match for my own sometimes volatile thoughts and feelings.
Usually we don't hear, see, and feel the earth all at once, but when you walk outside, and it is demonstrating these powers, you feel it. It takes you out of yourself, and carries you away into It. Majestic. All consuming.
All the way to your soul.

Probably many folks won't understand it. It doesn't matter. It's enough that I was able to feel that wind, be whipped and bent by it, wonder if I was going to be carried away, and I was able to shout with glee and utter abandon, "waaa-hoooo!"
And I meant it.

This post is related to Joyful Quest: 103 in 861, which began here.