Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ned Vare

I just received this from Deborah Stevenson who knew Ned well, she is with National Home Education Legal Defense.

"In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that we inform our supporters that a great friend and homeschool freedom champion, Ned Vare, has died. Ned was a fearless fighter for educational freedom. I first met him in 1990 when he was in the forefront of the effort to defeat government regulation of homeschooling in Connecticut. He was wise to all the background, history, and rationale behind public schooling and homeschooling. Over the years, he not only educated me on the ways of the educational world, but educated untold others. He and his soulmate, Luz Shosie, met in 1973 at Ned’s ranch in Silt, Colorado. Together they raised their son, Cassidy, without schooling, with what is not called UNschooling. In essence, they wisely guided Cassidy in educating himself, an experiment, they say, that surpassed all of their expectations. Ned and Luz were inspired by the writings of John Holt, and together, they started a support group for unschoolers and operated the Unschoolers Unlimited Newsletter for many years. More recently Ned penned a blog entitled, “School Is Hell”. Ned could always be seen supporting the right to educate in freedom at every gathering across the state, from his hometown in Guilford to Hartford and beyond. Ned was never afraid to confront any government official whom he believed was acting in any way to deny parents their rights. Ned was tireless in his ability to engage legislators in quiet, polite, but persistent conversation educating them as to the rights of parents and why they should support educational freedom. Ned was extremely successful at this endeavor and was instrumental in persuading many key legislators to support the rights of parents in Connecticut. We are also fortunate that Ned, with Luz, wrote his thoughts about educational freedom in a book that I proudly keep in a most prominent place in my home. It’s called “Smarting Us Up, the Un Dumbing of America”. Ned was a true inspiration, who had a keen wit, a most engaging personality, and always the nicest smile. I was proud to call Ned my friend, and he will be sorely missed. A memorial service is planned for him at a date to be announced in the fall.
- Deborah Stevenson – Exec. Dir., National Home Education Legal Defense"

I wanted to add that I know Deborah Stevenson and I am sure one word was a typo and she meant to say "with what is now called UNschooling". So let's all take a minute today to remember Ned.

Mindful Eating

I was reading at the Tricycle community today and came across a discussion about mindful eating. It sounded interesting and I am going to take up the challenge for one week, one day at a time. There are guidelines. And if you really want to know more you can go to the discussion to read it in it's completeness.

The author is: Jan Chozen Bays is a Zen teacher in the White Plum lineage (successors of Taizan Maezumi Roshi). She is a pediatrician specializing in child abuse, and author of numerous medical articles and two books. She and her husband, Hogen Bays, serve as co-abbots of Great Vow Zen Monastery in Oregon.

Here is an overview of the process: "Mindful eating is not reading about mindful eating. It is not reading while eating. It is doing the practice of mindful eating. Mindful eating is paying full attention to the events of the internal and external environment, without criticism or judgement, while eating and drinking. Because we are so used to multitasking and to going unconscious while we eat, it is difficult at first to pay full attention to what is happening, say, in the mouth, in a completely continuous manner.

Just like any other form of meditation, mindful eating involves bringing the mind’s attention to the sensations of eating, then discovering that the mind has wandered off. We find that we are eating while opening our e-mail or while fantasizing about the weekend. We notice this and once again bring the mind back to real time, to the actual sensations of eating. We practice this over and over, until it becomes a wholesome habit...."

This assessment is the foundation of mindful eating and will serve you the rest of the week. At least three times today, as you begin eating, practice assessing the seven hungers.

You begin with Stomach Hunger. How hungry is the stomach? Is it completely empty or partially full? How much food does the stomach want you to eat? Now turn to Body or Cellular Hunger. This is more subtle. If your cells could talk, what would they ask you to eat? Citrus? Starch? Soup? Protein? See if you can get any information about what the body is asking you to eat.

Then turn to Eye Hunger. Look at the food, taking it in with the eyes. Look at colors, shapes and textures, the play of light and dark. Next you assess Nose Hunger, by inhaling the aromas of the food a few times, as if assessing a fine wine. Then comes Mouth Hunger. Put a bite in the mouth and really savor it, fully aware of changing flavors and textures. Chew slowly, returning the mind’s attention, again and again, to the mouth...."

If you would like to read the rest of day one please visit the discussion.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Jimmy Carter Takes a Stand

I was just reading this article released on July 15. I was a little shocked to see Jimmy Carter separate from his church, but so encouraged by the stand he chooses to take. Here is just a little piece of the entire essay, Losing my religion for equality. I encourage everyone to go read MORE!

"Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.

I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service...

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities...

It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices - as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.
I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive areas to challenge. But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy - and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it...."

Again here is the link, the essay is entitled:
Losing my religion for equality
Jimmy Carter
July 15, 2009

Love to Learn Conference

In just a few short weeks I have the Love to Learn Conference. It is truly a labor of love started by myself and another friend, Teri. We were just so frustrated with the religious slant added to the sessions offered at other homeschool conferences. Yes, I know I live in the south, but that doesn't mean that everyone wants religion injected into every aspect of their lives like they can't figure out their own spirituality, and how to integrate that into their families.

It feels so good to be working on our THIRD annual conference, yes this is year NUMBER THREE!!! Whooo hooo!!!!

I love watching the speakers come together, this is part of what I offer the conference, I find, and schedule speakers. And this year we have such a mix of speakers and topics. More than this year will handle, so a few are going on next year's schedule already. We purposefully do not have vendor speakers for free. If a vendor wants a session to promote their product they pay for it, and it is clearly marked in bold letter "Vendor Session" so everyone knows before they enter the room, that someone has something to sell. This makes our conference different!!

This years speakers have been such a joy to work with. And it is funny but we are moving more and more away from strict lecture type formats with "experts" telling people what to do and why. We are moving toward speakers that have a passion for something and want to share this, share what they have been doing in their family, things that have worked or not worked for them. The speakers this year want to interact with their audience, allowing people to ask questions, discuss answers, ask why, where, when and how. I love those types of sessions, and the audience seems to enjoy it as well.

Also we purposefully do not seek out churches for a venue, we want everyone to feel comfortable attending. All sessions are on HOMESCHOOLING!! Not religion.

This makes it difficult to find a venue at a reasonable price but we work hard to make it happen.

I just wanted to share my excitement, and invite everyone to support the only INCLUSIVE (yes I used that word) conference in North Carolina!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Knitting Socks #3

10. Working the heel flap. I know it sounds funny because you think of a heel as a cup, but this is where you start...with a flap.
-So start with the stitches on your working needle. For your first row you will slip (as if to purl*) the first stitch onto your empty needle without knitting or purling it, just slip it from one needle to the other. Then purl the remaining stitches.
-For the second row you are going to slip that first stitch (as if to knit), then knit the second stitch. The third stitch you will slip as if to purl. *Which means look at this third stitch as if you are going to purl it but instead of purling it just slip it from one needle to the other. Repeat, odd stitiches will be slipped stitches (as if to purl) even stitches will be knit, to the end of the row.

This is different from slipping as if to knit because your needle will be in a different position, but it is still a slip stitch. Does that make any sense? I know the first time I read those instructions it took me 10 minutes to figure out what that meant. But I had to switch my yarn around and slip in a different way. As you move along with the heel flap you will see that by slipping as if to knit and then purling your yarn goes almost around that slip stitch and you are reinforcing the heel a bit so it can take more wear.

-For your third row repeat row one

-For your fourth row repeat row two

You are going to alternate these two rows, over and over until you have 2 inches of heel flap worked. End with a knit/slip row as your last row worked.

I will take a few more pictures of this step with my next pair of socks so that it is really clear.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Knitting Socks #2

OK I had to quickly finish up those pretty socks for a friends birthday, but I did take plenty of pictures along the way. And now I am back to documenting my process.

7. I make the body of my sock (including the ribbing) 7 inches. That is a good length for a woman's sock, plus my needles are 7 inches long so I can use my needle to measure, much easier. Of course you can make the body of your sock as long, or as short, as you want. I have made footies in the past and made the body of the sock only like 2 or 3 inches.

8. Next we will be working on the heel flap, so we will need to divide our stitches. You will end up with 1/2 your stitches on a stitch holder and the other 1/2 we will be working with to make the heel flap. So for this 56 stitch sock you are going to knit 14 stitches from needle one to your empty needle 4. Then you are going to slip 14 stitches from needle three to the other end of needle 4. This gives you a total of 28 stitches (1/2) on your needle 4, with the tail, beginning yarn, (the back of the sock) right in the middle. These are the stitches we will use to make our heel flap.

9. The remaining 28 stitches that are on needles 1,2, and 3, transfer to a stitch holder. You can, if you don't have a stitch holder, slide them all onto one needle and leave them, just be careful as you are working the heel that you don't loose any stitches. I have found out it is really easy to forget about those stitches and not notice them sliding off the needle. :-) It only takes a minute to slide them on the stitch holder and you don't have to think about them.

You can see in the last two photos that I have 1/2 the stitches (28) on a stitch holder (back) and 1/2 (28) on one needle (front) that I will be using to knit the heel. My knitting yarn is to the left in the picture.