Monday, January 28, 2008

Daily Soul Retreat

Today's daily soul retreat was an inspiring one, so I wanted to pass it on. It is something that our family has thought about over the past several years, especially around Christmas time. Many years ago I might have felt obligated to send gift to everyone in the family at Christmas. But over the years, and maybe this is laziness or selfishness...but, I have (and we as a family) decided to send gifts to those that I WANT to send gifts to. People I want to celebrate, people I want to know they are loved and appreciated. I often make gifts, and really think about what that person would enjoy, what would fit their personality, and while working on a particular gift often remember things we have done together, all the many qualities I admire about the person, ways they have enriched my life. It has become, for me, a process of embracing the people in my life, people I enjoy having in my life. So the obligation to include everyone I know, has disappeared. And I feel absolutely no guilt about that.


I think that is one quality I want to pass along to my sons. To do things for people because you love them, enjoy their company, have a real connection with the person, not out of some sense of obligation because they are family, or because it is your mother's friend's child etc. But honor the relationships you treasure.


We have also started our own family traditions, like our new moon and full moon circles. And the prayer sticks we make on the winter solstice. Things we love and enjoy doing together, no sense of passing on old family traditions unless we truly LOVE them. As my boys get older I find they need me less and less, so we create these times to reconnect. It is important for all of us.


Anyway, back to today's Daily Soul Retreat.




Here is a portion of the article:

"Many people would say, in fact, that we have far too much ritual in our lives. Isn't life busy enough without having more plans to make; more occasions to celebrate? The idea of ritual might seem outmoded, even unnecessary, but many psychotherapists insist that, in order to lead balanced, healthy lives, we need much more ritual, not less....


I’m not talking about dispatching a bunch of flowers for Mother's Day, a card for Father's Day, or snatching a last-minute box of chocolates for Valentine's Day. For rituals to be healing and life-enhancing they have to be more than duty - they have to have meaning. We don't need more commercial trappings; we don't need bigger and better Christmases: we simply need more personalised ones. Do you find yourself following exactly the same pattern every year at, say, Christmas? Do you look forward to it or does its approach fill you with a sense of burden? Are your rituals too rigid? Have they stayed the same over the years despite obvious changes in the family's ages or beliefs? If a ritual doesn't work for you, you need to change it. Rituals should grow and evolve all the time...


THINK ABOUT RITUAL Take some time to sit down and think about the rituals you follow and whether they are living, vibrant and worthwhile – or redundant and boring.


What rituals does your family have and what beliefs do they express? Do they represent what you truly believe or do you simply go through the motions to please other people?


Are important yearly events like birthdays and wedding anniversaries marked or do they simply slide by with little notice? How about key events like retirement or graduation?


When you think back to childhood, what rituals do you remember and how do you remember them? With fondness or a shudder? Are there rituals which you still follow simply because they’ve become habit? Are there others you would like to reinstate?


What feelings come up when you think about ritual? Would you find the idea of them embarrassing? Or irritating? If so, think why that might be.


Do you have any daily or weekly family rituals? If not, what might they be? Perhaps a shared meal or a family outing, or a time set aside to discuss how you all feel on a regular basis?..."


Of course there is more so take the time to go read the whole thing.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

OK Thanks Joanne,
Now I have to pass this award onto blogs that I read and enjoy, which will be the hard part, there are so many. I will have to think on that one.



Thing-a-Day

OK so this year I have committed to the Thing-a-Day project. Create something new each day for the month of February. You still have the rest of January to register, so join me in creating a new thing each day for the month of February, anything...something, knit, sew, bake, weld, paint, draw, write, bead, felt, mold, melt, hammer, whatever it is you want to do. Just share it with the rest of the blogging world.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Yesterday

Yesterday was such a wonderful day. Yes the furnace broke down but I found a couple of small space heaters and made a fire in the fireplace so we were warm. Jackson fixed the furnace when he got home. But A few days ago Jackson made the boys potato soup. I can't eat it as there is too much dairy in it for me but the boys generally love potato soup. Well this left a little to be desired. He forgot a few ingredients and they were just not impressed, LOL. So yesterday I got out the leftover soup and added a few things to make it more what they were looking for. You would have thought I gave them the world. It was the highlight of their day, they were all smiles, and thank yous, and each had like 4 bowls. It was so amazing to see such a small thing bring such joy to their hearts.

I think sometimes we forget that it doesn't take buying your children some big expensive toy they have been wanting, to bring joy into a life. To my boys, me fixing up that soup was something I did specifically for them, no one else. And that brought smiles to their faces. That made them feel so loved and appreciated and cared for. That was all it took.

And I took that feeling and went to a friends house where we were working on our Soul Collage Cards last night. Another great experience. It is so nice to get together with your girlfriends and just spend a few hours talking about spiritual things, deep conversations, laughter, support, sharing. I really get to know my friends better, brings us closer together as women/mothers. I always leave feeling really good, and joyful.

So all in all a wonderful day, no pictures but a wonderful day!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Self Portrait Challenge

And in celebration of the snow, here is my self portrait of the week for the Self Portrait Challenge....

Snow

Well we have it, snow in North Carolina. I think it has been a couple of years since we have seen snow at our house. Perfect timing as well. It was so beautiful while we were camping and having fun with friends. The boys asked me last night to wake them up this morning so they could go play in the snow. I am glad they thought of that because when I stepped outside the door this morning it was raining. So I don't believe the snow will last. But they got all bundled up and went out to make a snow man and throw a few snow balls, until they were soaked. Then they trampled in and stripped down and I had hot chocolate waiting for the two chilly boys. Great fun. Not a whole lot of snow but enough to bring joy to the day. hmmmm maybe soup for lunch, sounds yummy. And I picked up a couple of new games at Barnes and Noble last night so we are all set for a fun, warm day out of the rain/slush.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lego

I have one son who loves legos. Both of my boys enjoy legos and like to build things but my youngest, Phillip, is passionate about legos. He is building a city of legos. As a gift for Christmas we got him the corner cafe/hotel building and he has slowly been working on it with Jackson. They have two stories of the building complete. I bought this as a way for him and his father to connect. Jackson works long days, and don't always reconnect. Dallen and Jackson spend time on the game systems but Phillip doesn't have that time with his dad. Phil enjoys gaming but not the same types of games, he will watch Jackson play on the games but they are not usually playing together. So this is something they both enjoy, and Jackson likes having that time with Phillip.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Dogs are Back

We are back, picked the dogs up from the kennel. Such an unconditional love, right there all wrapped up in a fuzzy (and sometimes not so fuzzy) package. The kennel we use really takes good care of our dogs, and the dogs are always so excited to go, but it can't beat the feeling of watching them come home. Jackson picks them up in his car and we wait impatiently at home. And they come running in when he opens the door. Straight for the house, tails wagging (well Cinnamon tries to wag her tail) and they just want to hug and play and roll all over and are so happy to be home. Then comes the crash. After about 30 minutes they are ready for a nap, in their old favorite spots, just all snuggled up or sprawled out, and they sleep, and sleep. LOL. I think they are as exhausted from their weekend away as we are.

Back from Camp

OK we are home again after a wonderful weekend away. No Internet, no cell phone service, no TV, no Computer. Just fun and relaxation, LOL. It is nice once in a while to get away from everything, knowing that even if something came up, I wouldn't know about it and could do nothing about it anyway. Kind of like "don't worry...be happy". The boys loved the weekend too. As much as they enjoy spending time on their computers and video games, they ALWAYS look forward to these get aways. We spent three days with 8 other unschooling families, at a camp. This camp does run summer programs but we get it for a great rate in the off season. We sit around and chat, have craft types of activities for everyone or no one, whoever wants to participate. The kids go off hiking, playing, with or without adults. Just a great mix of people who trust their children and trust each other. We cook and eat together, which is so much fun...getting to know other unschoolers better over a great meal.

Just a wonderful way to recharge the batteries as a family. It was kind of funny in a way because the director of the camp is a homeschooler (although not an unschooler we didn't talk about curriculum or any of that) he is so used to "regular" families, you know the types that function inside the box. I was cleaning the floors preparing to leave on Sunday and he was chatting with someone else, saying how we would love their family camp. He said "it is just like what you do here." So I said "why would we pay more and come to your family camp when we already have it here for so much less". He said "but you could drop the kids off in one of our programs and do what you want, the kids go to bed before you and you would only have to see them at meal time". I said "so why would we do that, we want to be with our children." And another mom said "yeah, we LIKE our kids and want to spend time with them." Yet another mom said "why would we drop them off with strangers when we have a great group right here." He was a little speechless but saw our point. LOL. It was kind of funny for us, eye opening for him. I don't think he is used to being around families like ours. Good thing we only saw him when we arrived and were cleaning up.

The coordinator of this get together warned him when we arrived. We work a little differently than he is probably used to, and if he peeks in during the weekend it will probably look like a tornado went through. We know this, it looks this way every time. Having this much fun is not nice and neat, it is messy, get dirty, kind of fun. She told him that he needs to reserve judgment until after we are done cleaning up. Because in the end it always looks better than when we arrived. That is our goal, leave it cleaner than we found it, so they will want us back. And she was right. It is always right. It is amazing to even me that in the end it is cleaner than we found it. With everyone helping out it gets done in a couple of hours. Next time I will have to take picture because it is truly amazing, LOL.

So we are back, recharged and ready to work on some projects I have on a few burners here at home. Ready to work on some household repair projects. Ready to order seeds and plan my garden.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

felting

OK my husband bought me the most beautiful wool yarn for Christmas. It is fabulous, and I thought long and hard about what I wanted to create with it. I wanted something I could use and think of him. I have been thinking about making a small felted bag for some time now. I have been a little nervous because I have never made a felted bag and didn't want to ruin any expensive yarn if I happened to mess it up.

So after a lot of thinking about this I decided to jump in and try my hand at felting and decided to use the great yarn dh picked up to make myself a felted bag. That in itself is hard, I make lots of things but not a whole lot for myself. This was going to be for ME.

Here it is the bag, knitted in large hoping that it felts down to the size I want. Now for the past week I have been stuck here, at this spot. It is still sitting on my counter waiting for me to get up the nerve to felt it. I have read about the process, talked to some friends that have done it. But haven't been able to make the leap. I am scared, again, of ruining this pricey, wonderful wool. That is my goal for next week. Can't do it this week as we are getting ready for the FLT gathering over the weekend. Which is always LOADS of fun, friendship and laughter with other unschooling families. So that right now is taking priority. But next week I will felt this bag and will have an updated photo of how it turns out. For now you can see the wonderful coloration in the wool yarn.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Back with Cats

OK we have a new router and I am back on line. I can write when I want, I have access to all my pictures and files. It is just so nice.

So I am starting out the new year with a post about Cats. The musical made an appearance in Charlotte and we went to see it with some great friends last night. Just fabulous, we all loved it and were talking all the way home about which cat character was our favorite and why. Things are just so much nicer when you can share them with friends, and that includes musicals. It is nice to see the boys so enjoying things of this nature. Phillip is really into music, Dallen not so much. But they both thought this was just fascinating, a story, song and dance all rolled up into one. After the musical was over we also were looking through our program and reading a bit about the actors/actresses and what their background is, where they call home etc. Just an added tid bit of trivia to our evening. Home late, straight to bed for the four exhausted Genants. But I would highly recommend this performance if it comes to a city near you.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Router Troubles

Our router is down, and I am so limited with my computer time right now that I haven't had the opportunity to post to my blogs. I have had so much to say over the holidays but oh well, life goes on. I am hopeful that our new router will be here this week and I will be back up and running by next week, we will see. So for now I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.