Friday, November 30, 2007

Soul Collage

Friends, Soul Collage, FOOD, can't beat that. Last night I had a few friends over to work on our soul collage cards. We laughed, ate, had some nice tea and just enjoyed the evening and each other's company. I completed 4 more soul collage cards, and am enjoying this whole process. Currently, I am working on my animal Chakra cards. Here are a few of my favorites from last night:















































Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Picture This

OK I hesitated actually doing this, Mary inspired me to at least think about it. I plugged in a couple and some really cool pictures showed up so thought I would go ahead and participate, it's fun and cute.

Here is the idea: Type the answer to each question into a Google image search, and then pick an image from the first page of results. Here we go!

1. Age at next birthday...42...yes 42, and loving it!


2. Place I'd like to travel...Canada, BC

3. Favorite Place...Home

the Ocean

4. Favorite Objects...Sea Shells

5. Favorite Food...Ice Cream

6. Favorite Animal...Sea Gulls

7. Favorite Color...Blue

8. My Nickname....Pam

And also

9. Town I was born in...Rockland
Now you see where my connection to the ocean began.

10. Bad habit I have...biting my nails...although I am not sure what this picture has to do with biting my nails, she isn't, it is still a cool picture.

TAG your it.....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More Stillness

It is funny, you know when you are thinking about one particular thing and it seems to be everywhere. I have been thinking more about being in the moment, being still, and feeling that calm throughout. And I was following a link about parenting and came across The Mindful Parent site. And in reading through some of the pages, I ran across a little page about stillness, and meditations on stillness. The page read in part:

"Mindful parenting meditations guide us into the stillness that is present in every moment. It is from within this stillness that love and joy explode not just into our hearts, but throughout our entire being. This stillness though, is an elusive space and one we think our way out of all too quickly.

We search for the stillness and silence that we sense is at our core and the place where we will find true happiness. Of course, every moment presents us with the opportunity to enter into that space. But, the distractions and assumed realities of our existence make finding such comfort, let alone keeping it, all but impossible.

One of the keys to the doorway of stillness and deep joy is found in our connection to our children. Time and again our hearts melt when we observe and are with our children. At these moments, we are in a state of pure awareness -- the joy creeps in without us knowing about it..."

Of course there is more and there are a few guided meditations that I will try in time. For now I am just going to spend a few moments with my boys, being still and connecting.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Stillness

Last night I had this feeling of being overwhelmed. I couldn't shut my brain off and was thinking of all the things I need to do, my "to do" list was long. I get this sort of feeling every once in a while. What I have learned to do about it is to just sit and be in the moment, in the stillness. And usually what I do is go out to my chickens and just watch them, sitting quietly, watching their very interconnected lives. I find that so amazing and it has a powerful way of bringing me back to earth, recognizing that life isn't that complicated. Things will get done, in their own time.

It helps me to be able to prioritize my "to do" list. When I can just sit and be and let it all wash over me, I can then look at it more objectively, see what needs to be done, see what things I want to continue doing, and what things are not bringing me joy anymore.

People sometimes think I just can't say no, but in reality I have no problem saying no to things that do not bring me joy. The truth is that I surround myself with things that I love so there is very little to say "no" to. I have been doing some more reading today on the Soulful Living web site and finding many articles on stillness.

This article caught my eye: Be Still: In the Eye of the Storm by Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert. In it she says, in part,:

"In the center of a storm there is calm. But how do we get to a place of stillness?

Ten small steps to stillness:

Take time to breathe
Take a crisis break
Walk
Watch a funny movie
Create art
Keep a journal
Keep the counsel of a trusted friend or advisor
Choose the high road
Practice gratefulness
Remember who and what is important "

The article is powerful and intuitive. If you have never been in the stillness it is a great article to get you started.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas

Well it's official, we have started our Christmas Season, and we love Christmas here. We do not celebrate Thanksgiving so we do not have all the rush getting ready for Thanksgiving and swinging into Christmas. That is nice. Jackson usually has Thanksgiving off so we use that extra time to dedicate toward finding a great tree from our own property. We go out and spend 0$ on a Christmas tree, we search all the trees on our property looking for this years Christmas tree, and decorate that tree the weekend just after Thanksgiving. No bells and whistles, a tree topper angel that belonged to my mom, sentimental value for sure, tiny colored lights and ornaments we have collected over the years. Some ornaments are hand made, some are memories of places we have traveled or special events in our lives. We love taking the time each year to talk about where we got them, what memories they invoke etc. Just a nice special time. The tree skirt is actually two, one that is white and hand made by my mom years ago, the one underneath that is one we bought in Germany that is just so beautiful, green and red or course.

Time to start watching Christmas type movies with a crackling fire, silk nog and hot chocolate, chips and dip. I love digging out my mom's special recipes and making cookies and breads with the boys. Making hand made Christmas gifts for those that are special in our lives, remembering family that are not hear to celebrate with us. Just a time to give special thanks for all the blessings in my life, thank my boys for choosing me as their mom, etc. Can you tell we LOVE Christmas.

We do celebrate Solstice as well, I will blog about those traditions later in another post. This weekend was dedicated to our Christmas tree so I have a few pictures.
This next picture is one Phillip took, from underneath the tree looking up.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Conscious Creation

I was reading on Soulfulliving this morning and ran across this article by Jackie Lapin, Keys to Consciously Creating Your Future. The law of attraction so amazes me sometimes and I truly believe are thoughts are powerful. Here is an excerpt from the article:

"Are negative thoughts and energy habits keeping you from a happy and abundant future? Unwittingly, you may be an UnConscious Creator rather than a Conscious Creator. UnConscious Creators can’t comprehend why their life is falling apart, why their employment is unsatisfying, and why they can’t find the right partner. They feel angry, victimized and depressed. UnConscious Creators are accidentally manifesting their own misery!

On the other hand, Conscious Creators have a clear vision for what they want, and have faith that everything will turn out all right. They continuously emit kind, loving, positive energy -- regardless of what happens. Not everything goes perfectly for Conscious Creators, but their trajectory remains in a positive direction. When confronted with a challenge, Conscious Creators recognize they have a choice in how they handle it -- both in their emotional and real worlds. With this enlightened outlook and vision, they contribute to manifesting a better world for everyone! Conscious Creators allow their positive energy to open amazing pathways for them!"

It is nothing really new to me, but I love to be reminded of this powerful gift. And reading it in different ways helps to cement those ideas in my being. There is a lot more to the article so do go and read it for yourself. I have just ordered her book so I can read more of her thoughts and ideas. (No I have nothing to do with the book, or Jackson...LOL)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Stones

I stumbled on this while browsing the care2 web site today. Thought it was so cool. My son and I love to collect stones, especially my son, he finds stones everywhere.

**The beauty and variety of the crystal world has fascinated humanity since the beginning of time. Find the crystal that holds a secret for us today. Which one knows our answer?

SIMPLE SOLUTION:
English author Sue Phillips, author of Healing Stones, believes that healing stones can be found just there, where you are. Expensive crystals aren’t necessary for healing, she believes, nor does she recommend them because most are mined from the earth and it takes millions upon millions of years to renew them. Instead, Phillips urges us to look for stones nearby that have already been released from the earth, and don’t even need to be dug up or the earth disturbed in any way.

What stones are outside of your front door? Where are you drawn? Take a walk and open your heart to whatever stone draws your attention as you walk by. Some very powerful stones can be found this way – easily dismissed by most as “just a rock,” almost as if they are weeds in a garden. One place to check is under an uprooted tree, where the roots used to be. Another is on any path that is well worn by you – you may find the perfect stone that you have passed by dozens of times. **

Now to go dig out all those stones.

Bonding with Dad

Jackson spent some time yesterday installing a ceiling ladder in our hallway to get ready to have someone come install a new heating/cooling system. Anyway that is beside the point of this post LOL. While he was working I suggested that it looked like something Phillip, our youngest (10 years old), would be interested in. So Jackson took the hint and asked Phil is he would like to help. And Phil jumped at the chance, he loved it. Loved working with tools, loved being with his dad. And every time Phillip took a little break he would find me and come tell me everything they were doing, had done, and had left to complete.

He thought it was the most fabulous thing in the whole world. I knew he would like it, he likes to see how things work, take things apart, put them back together etc.

I talked with Jackson afterward about just how much Phil did enjoy the day with his dad and Jackson was happy as well. I think he will consider asking the boys to help out in the future and I won't have to make that suggestion. I just think it is something Phil will hold dear in his heart for a long time to come.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Fire

OH my youngest, Phillip, is having such a wonderful time with our fire place. He loves fire, well my oldest does as well, but Phillip loves everything about a fire. He loves making it, and is very good at that, he loves keeping it going and putting it out. Yesterday I started a fire in the morning before they were awake. When Phil woke up I asked him if he wanted to add some more wood on the fire. His eyes lit up in that special way, when you know you hit on the most fabulous idea in the world in that moment. He stirred up the coals, and got them just right then added some more wood on top and was so engrossed in the activity. Just amazing to watch. He tended the fire all day long. At night when we were in bed he looked at me and said "mom will you wake me up when you go to start the fire so I can do it". Well we have plans to go to a Science Center today so I told him we wouldn't be starting the fire until we came home, he was so excited and now can't wait to get home and start that fire.



Saturday, November 17, 2007

Knitting

I have been doing a lot of knitting and quilting lately, Christmas presents mostly. But have noticed how soothing it is for me. Almost meditative, I can sit and relax in front of the fire and count stitches and knit and get lost in the vast nothingness. Not thinking about all the things I have yet to do, not thinking about the lists that sit by my computer, just knitting. No stray thoughts, no pondering any "deep" issues, just knitting. I was not able to complete the Commit to Sit challenge. It was just too much pressure. Too much time trying to think of NOTHING, only made it easier for stray thoughts to enter my mind. I know...I have read it before...if you just keep doing it and bringing yourself back to your breath...it will come. Well you know, it didn't come.

BUT I do find knitting and quilting to really take the place of walking (meditation) or any mantra. I find I can focus on just the ONE thing, and block all other thoughts from my mind. Creating my own cocoon of peace and stillness. So I think I have found my meditation, not walking meditation, not breathing meditation, but knitting meditation, and quilting meditation. Both leave me feeling so centered and energized, yet also relaxed and focused. Ready to give my all to whatever projects are before me.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Baggage

I have been thinking some lately about the word baggage. Not as in luggage but as in the emotional stuff people say they carry around with them, their baggage. It is said with negative implications, baggage being a bad thing to have, to carry around. Maybe some childhood trauma or something that has happened to an individual that has been unfair, punitive, negative in some way.

In general, it seems like people talk about these things as if they were an article of clothing or a possession that you can choose to put down or pick up. Almost the idea that you could leave this baggage behind you if you really worked hard and wanted to dispose of it. But why does it have to be such a negative thing? Also why is it treated as separate from the individual?

For me, my whole life, who I am now in the present is made up of all that has come before me, not just my childhood but all of my history and the history around me. It is who I am. Without all of the past I would be a different person and thus, not myself. I look at all my past, good experiences and not so positive encounters as a part of me. Not something I can pick up or put down, choose to acknowledge, or pretend does not exist. It is me. I am so grateful for that, so grateful that all of what has gone before has brought me to a point of who I am today, where I have a loving husband and partner, and two beautiful children.

My life is not defined by one event in my past. I make the choice to review things, evaluate them, learn from them, learn about them, and move on into the future with that knowledge intact. Facing future decisions with the knowledge that my past experience does not control me, it is me, a part of me. It isn’t baggage. And maybe if we could get rid of the need to judge all experiences as fitting into one category or another (positive or negative) we could just accept them for what they are, part of us.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge

More clothes. I have been finding it hard to complete the challenge this month, LOL. I have found that my wardrobe consists mostly of PJs, and how many times can you take a picture of the same thing. Today, however, a friend's daughter is having a birthday party, and the theme is "beach party" so decided to dress up a bit.

Now for the description. I am taking the photo in my mirror which, as you can tell, needs to be dusted (any volunteers?) My top is from Walmart, probably like $7. Sarong is from Hawaii, gift from a friend, so the value is priceless, what great friends I have. And I am not sure you can see but I am wearing pants under the sarong as it is chilly here, they are greenish cargo type pants from Avenue, probably about $35.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our Unschooling Journey

On one of the larger unschooling yahoo lists someone asked about what brought people to unschooling, what their unschooling story is, so I thought I would post about it here, so this is our story:

Jackson and I had talked a lot about parenting before we had children, although not a word about school...I had never even heard of homeschooling, LOL. But we talked about our own childhood and parents, how we wanted to parent, didn't want to parent etc. And we soon discovered that we were both interested in parenting in a way more responsive to our children's needs. Not following current social trends, not letting a baby "cry it out" etc. And I also knew I did not want to control my child's eating in any way. Other than to be a partner. I know my mom rewarded and punished with food and told us what we could eat and when and how much and I feel that is a big reason I have food issues now. So all of that was out on the table.

We had two boys and as our boys grew, questions from other people started coming about preschool. I hadn't even thought of that yet.I was not ready in any way to send my son out there to navigate a big school without me, and he was not in any way ready to separate from me. So I started looking into alternatives. One thing I have learned over the years is that there is always an alternative, LOL. We were just getting connected online in Germany, using CompuServe (remember CompuServe? LOL) and so I just started doing my research. I have also learned not to make any decisions based on fear but to use my gut instincts to find all the information I can.

So I learned about homeschooling and signed up with a program in California that sent you a "curriculum" to use. Well for preschool it consisted of good books (although we already had a ton of those, you can never have too many books right? At least that is my philosophy), and some instructions to basically follow your child's interest. Trying to do crafty things (they had a book of cool craft projects) and outdoor time (had no trouble with that...we loved the outdoors) etc. So basically it meant to just keep on doing what we were already doing. The boys loved it, so did I.

Kindergarten was more of the same...."cool this homeschooling thing is easy and makes more sense than school." Well in first grade they added in a math book (I think) but I talked with my mentor and said that we were already way beyond that book just doing our every day "stuff". So she suggested that I just eliminate that book and keep doing what we were doing. Second grade they added another book, can't remember what it was, but that was when I decided that they were just going to keep adding "text books" into the mix until we were surrounded by them. And if I am not using them why should I pay for them. So we stopped using that program and just kept on doing what we were doing, living life.

Of course in 2002 (I think that was the year) I read Mary Griffith's Unschooling Handbook. I remember we were on our way to Asheville to meet up with some of Jackson's family for supper. I was reading it out loud to Jackson and the boys were in the back playing. It just made so much sense. And put what we were doing into words and GAVE IT A NAME. It was nice to have a name for what we were doing. I thought we were just crazy, I didn't know any other homeschoolers let alone unschoolers (we had just moved to NC). Jackson was totally on board with everything she was saying in the book, it just made so much sense for our family.

I went home that night and did an online search for "unschooling". Was too nervous to join any e mail lists but did some more reading and found The Unschooling Conference in Columbia, SC. Didn't know Kelly Lovejoy, didn't know any of the speakers, didn't know it was the first one. But it was only a 3 hour drive away. Jackson and I talked about it, and decided that we would all go and if we didn't like it we could easily just drive home. LOL. I loved it, we all loved it, the boys loved playing with kids "just like them", LOL. See adults treat children with respect. See children speaking their minds. I cried. It was just like my home...I knew then that I was NOT alone.

Although I still didn't join any e lists for another year. It was after my second unschooling conference in Columbia, hearing people talking about different lists, then coming home and hearing someone on a local list, talk about how they were so mean on one of those lists, LOL, I knew I had to join. Something was pulling me, I had to find out what they were talking about. So I joined my first list, Unschoolingdotcom and the rest is history... LOL.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Building

My son Phillip, never tires of building things, especially tents and other accommodations, out of pillows and blankets, in the living room. All the toys in the world could not replace this fabulous activity. He is just so creative. He had been playing with all the cushions in the house for hours, changing his design, testing it out, it had to be sturdy, have a place to enter, with a door to close, and be able to see the TV. He let me take a picture during the process, it changed so many times I can't remember which one this building was, but it sure was fantastic, with a window as well. Very cool.

I know as a child I loved building tents in the living room as well, although my mother wouldn't let me or my brother touch the cushions on the couch, so we used blankets only and would stretch them out between the couch and chair etc, using heave books to keep them weighted down, LOL. Such fun.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Halloween

I keep hoping to get my boys to try their costumes back on so I can get a picture, but so far the planets have not aligned, LOL. They want to ...but somehow time is escaping us. We were at a friends for a Halloween party this year and had a wonderful time. Kids were in and out of costumes and then back in costume again. Seems like every time I had my camera out the boys costumes were on the floor. LOL.

I wanted to blog about Candy. I know this is an old topic but I had a great example on Halloween. I have never limited my children where food is concerned and when they became able and interested they were always welcome to come grocery shopping with me and pick out foods. When not interested I have always asked them if they want or need anything from the store while I am there. We have chosen not to label foods good or bad, although they get plenty of that in the general public. So my boys have candy when they want it and people are amazed that we are able to function that way, and many assume that all my boys eat is candy, I mean because if you give them the choice wouldn't they choose to just eat candy all day every day!?!

In fact one day when we were helping an acquaintance with something my boys came with Jackson and I to play with their children. The boys wanted to bring some candy from the store, so they carefully picked out candy they thought the other children would like and brought it along. The other mom said that her kids couldn't have candy because it was too late in the day, so I suggested maybe we could leave some for the morning. That mom and another that was in the room, started asking me how we did it. I was a little confused at first. Then one mom explained "how do your boys do it...eat candy and not be affected by it? Is it because they have a low level of sugar in their system all the time?"

Yes that has to be it I mean they eat candy non stop all day every day, right, so that has to be why they aren't bouncing off the walls. DUH. I was so shocked that I had no idea what to say or how to respond. I probably said something equally stupid like "no, they don't eat candy all the time". Or something like that. Man I wish I was good with the witty come backs in times like this.

Because we have candy available to us all the time doesn't mean we eat it all the time. They eat very well, and my boys do not have that healthy food/junk food crap going on in their heads, so to them it is all food, and they are just as likely to want an apple or a piece of cheese. They are very in tune with their bodies and what their bodies need at any given time.

OK back to Halloween, I just thought it was funny that this year before we went to the Halloween party for more Halloween candy they had to dump out their Halloween plastic pumpkins of last years candy that had been sitting there all year. Kind of funny watching them pick through last years candy and throw a bunch out to make room for this years candy.

I know as a child my candy was gone within a week, I was so controlled/limited. One reason why Jackson and I had chosen, long before Dallen was born, NOT to do the same to our children.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Martian Child

We went to see Martian Child last night. We like going to the movies on a Monday night because there are usually only a few people there. And true to form there were a total of 9 people in this huge theater. We sat somewhere in the middle, 4 of us. There was one young couple and a single man that sat toward the back. Then these two older ladies came in and sat right next to us. No, I don't mean in the same aisle, they came up to the aisle and scooted down the aisle to sit right next to us. LOL. If the theater is empty I like NOT sitting next to people because I like to talk during a movie and when people are that close I try hard not to talk, so I don't bother their movie experience. Another reason we love going on a Monday night.

I could have moved but didn't, decided to try it out first. It actually went well. I talked a couple of times but nothing major, and nothing that made them move, LOL. Maybe we just looked like a cool family and they wanted some of that coolness to rub off onto them. LOL.


Anyway the movie was great. I just loved the thought of letting this child be exactly who he is, brought out into the main stream once in a while, instead of trying to change him, although that was part of the awakening process as well. When the boy was having trouble with kids picking on him in school and John Cusack was watching from his car across the street, I wanted to yell "take him home, he doesn't HAVE TO be there." But instead I just whispered it, one of the times I talked during the movie. Worth a trip to the theater.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge

OK this month the challenge is interesting. Hmmmm. It is about what you are wearing, I know it sounds like a personal thing to me, LOL. But here it goes:

Now to explain what I am wearing. It is about 11:30 pm here so I am in my pjs (although you are just as likely to find me in my pjs at any time of day). The T shirt is a BIG T shirt with our local homeschool group logo on it. The only TRULY inclusive homeschool group in Catawba and surrounding counties of NC, one of the only ones in the state. The bottoms are the really soft, comfy organic cotton pj bottoms from Walmart. I try not to shop there but these pj bottoms are truly some of the softest I have ever found. I have on a small friendship bracelet that I made at the last FLT Gathering and the yellow Livestrong, Lance Armstrong, bracelet I received for participating in an ATC funshop at the 2007 Live and Learn Conference. I have on 2 wedding bands, one is my mother's wedding band and the other my grandmother's (my mother's mother) wedding band. I figure it has to be good energy from that many years of love and marriage.

Airline saga

OK it has been a couple of days so I think I can type this post without crying. It was just so hard for me, and so frustrating.

On the last leg of our flight. They couldn't give us boarding passes ahead of time because we had to change carriers in San Fransisco. So we had no seat assignment. We got to the San Fransisco airport and had to go through check in again and get boarding passes. They had only two seats together and two that were one in front of the other. The man at the counter searched and searched for two more seats together or I said we could also do 3 together and 1 separate. After a while I said just give me those and I am sure we can get someone to switch, I mean who wouldn't switch with a child so a child can sit next to their parent.

Well, Phil sat with me, and Jackson sat in front of Dallen. I asked the lady next to me if she would switch with my son so that my kids could sit with me. She said "I wish someone would switch with me so I could sit next to my husband" in this very sarcastic, snotty tone of voice. And she would not move. I was stunned, and being not so good with witty remarks I just sat down not knowing what to say, and said nothing. Dallen started crying (you know at this point we had been without sleep for about 24 hours, hadn't eaten a decent meal since we left Hawaii and just wanted to go home). I told Dallen not to worry we would find someone to switch. Then Phil started crying cause he was sad for Dallen, then I started crying seeing both of my kids crying. So Jackson asked the guy sitting on the aisle next to Dallen to switch with him so he could sit next to his son. The guy said only if there is another aisle seat open. I explained "they said the flight was full so I don't think there will be another aisle seat open" so he wouldn't move. Dallen is standing up holding Jackson's shoulders at this point and saying "dad I don't want to sit alone, and crying". I tried reassuring him that he "would NOT" have to sit alone. In my head I am thinking I will go up and down this stupid cabin until I find two people sitting next to each other that won't mind moving so my son can sit with one of his parents, surely there will be someone.


The woman on one side of Jackson has a small baby, so he didn't dare ask her to move from her aisle seat to a middle seat. The guy on the other side of Dallen was fast asleep. So Jackson asked the woman on the other side of him to switch with Dallen and she didn't want to but after Jackson begged her she finally agreed to switch and Dallen was able to move and sit next to Jackson. That woman was thanked, but she will never know just how thankful I am to her. I know she didn't want to move, but she finally agreed. THANK YOU!

I was so outraged and totally shocked. It never even occurred to me that no one would want to move for a crying child so they could sit next to a parent. I mean in my head I am thinking, I would move in a heart beat, not even have to think about it. I could not believe that NO ONE would move for a child, that was obviously upset, crying and saying "dad I don't want to sit alone". I mean come on what has happened to people. I thought for sure the first person I asked would say yes, I mean who says no to that request, who says no to a child like that. I just upset me so much and being so tired, I cried for like 20 minutes, just couldn't stop.


So we are all taking a little break from flying. This has never happened to us before. I think on one other flight some years ago we had to make a change and people were more than willing to help us out. I don't know what has happened, but it means that we won't be flying for a while. LOL. We are currently planning a trip to see friends in BC, Canada and WILL be driving. Yes driving.