Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Full Moon

There are several blog post ideas rumbling around in my head, some meatier than others. But I wanted to share this picture. The only picture I took while on vacation, so unlike me. We were just busy having fun. On this night I was playing around with my new camera, OK so I have had it for a while...not so new....but haven't really had time to play around with settings. That night I decided to play around with shutter speed to see if I could capture a nice shot of the moon, shining so bright and beautiful over the ocean. Only editing was cropping.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thoughts About Dad

I have blogged about my mom, but not much about my dad. I think I had a closer relationship with my mom. My dad was a quiet man, worked hard to provide for his family. And I loved him dearly.
He committed suicide back in 1996, Halloween to be exact. I can remember the phone call from my brother clearly. It was actually evening in Germany, earlier in the day back in the states. We were handing out candy to all the German and American Military trick or treaters. My oldest brother called and said "They found Buddy", and I knew what he meant, my dad had been very depressed since the death of my mother in 1995. All I could say was "I can't do this...I'm not done grieving mom yet". Of course that lasted all of a minute, and there wasn't anything I could do about it, and I couldn't "stop" the grieving for either one. It is life, things happen and I have learned from both my parents that you work through it and come out the other end.

Anyway this is not a blog post about how my dad died or much about the grieving process. I didn't have any guilt about his death, it was his choice. He knew I loved him, and he knew he was welcome to come stay with us, he knew where there was help, and I had even tried to get help for him. He was a fisherman and I think there is resistance there, fishermen don't need a "therapist", you just deal with your stuff. I was so sad, I did feel that my kids were robbed of a grandparent, both now, as my mom had did previously. But I worked through those feeling, and we do talk about both of my parents often in our household, so my boys do know how I was raised, what their grandparents were like, things like that.

But you know there is that social stigma attached to suicide. No one knows what to say to the family, although for me it was the same as when my mother crossed over, I was still grieving the same, for me suicide or an automobile accident, it didn't matter, the hurt was deep. But the community reacts so differently. The vast number of visit from friends and family, the food that filled the kitchen, was noticeably missing when my dad died. Not many visitors at all, no food to speak of. I don't think people know what to do or say. It is the thought that it is wrong, that he was doomed to hell for his action.

I hadn't really thought much about it. I live with the knowledge that we all make choices, and I do believe that only the individual can decide what is right for himself. None of us can judge that choice as we have not been in those shoes, have not lived that life. So I have always felt that it was my dad's choice. But now I am coming to a deeper understanding of his choice.

I really feel my dad did what was right for him, in that moment, given the tools he had. I do not judge him, I do not believe he is in hell, I don't believe in hell. I know that he is with my mom, in spirit, exactly where he wanted to be. But just breathing in that thought "my dad did what was right for him in that moment". To sit with that statement, and let it soak into my soul. It gives me a breath of air, a moment of new understanding and clarity.

I think mulling all of this over, I have a new/different perspective on suicide. Having been through this I do not shy away from family that have lost a loved one from suicide, I know the grief feels the same. And I do hope that one day our outlook on suicide will change, there will not be that stigma attached to it, that "burn in hell" mentality. That we as a whole will see it as a choice, and work toward helping our children cultivate lots of different tools to deal with change, grief, pain and loss.

I appreciate my dad, and all that he has taught me, including this.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

2010 Love to Learn Homeschool Conference

I don't usually blog about the conference. But it is really working, it is growing each year and this year something different happened. Homeschool moms really started bringing their WHOLE families. I love seeing that. For the first three years we had a few kids, mostly the children of those actively involved in getting this conference together, and also a few dads, who stuck close by their spouses. I think, because of the expectations of other conferences, people assumed this one would be the same, and children would not be as welcome.

This year we offered free grandparent registrations, just to send out that invitation. And also we had more fun things going on. As we get larger we can afford to rent the extra space for the additional activities. So it grows, and we grow.

It is an exhausting adventure, if you have ever coordinated a conference you know what I am talking about. The time and energy it takes is overwhelming at times. But so worth it when things happen. When we see people making connections, children playing....just amazing.

This year Dr Flood, the new director for the NC Division of Non Public Education, meandered through the conference for a few hours, meeting and talking with homeschoolers. That was a wonderful addition. It was nice to see her, put a name to a face, get to talk to her for a few minutes. I think it only serves homeschoolers well for her to see the diversity in homeschooling, and to see whole homeschool families, not just some BOD or a homeschool mom, but the whole unit, in a relaxed atmosphere where there is no box to check, no test score to see, just meeting and talking. And for her to see the effort that homeschoolers put into their children's education, making sure they are doing the best for the family, that is a bonus.

The Homeschool Alliance of North Carolina, Inc. is the parent organization that sponsors the Love to Learn Homeschool Conference. HA-NC has a BOD made up of VOLUNTEERS, yes you read it right, no one on the BOD is paid for their time. We are all homeschoolers ourselves and give our time because we feel having an inclusive association in North Carolina is important. We feel having a truly inclusive conference is important.

Also our speakers are not paid for their time, they get a free box lunch. They speak because they have a passion to share. They also feel this is important stuff. We thank our speakers for their time, their effort, their caring. We thank them for their passion and willingness to share that passion with others.

So even though it is exhausting at times, it is also energizing, and so important for homeschooling. When you see a Board Member for HA-NC or a speaker that presented at the conference, please take a minute to thank them for their time, thank them for sharing their passion.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Up and Down

I found this interesting little article, makes you really think about bowing.

In Part:

"...We in the West don't bow to anything or anyone. Not to God, not to Buddha, not to our parents, not to each other. It would never occur to us to bow, because this is a democracy and we are all equal. In the East, however, everyone is always bowing to everyone else. It is a sign of respect, a greeting, a religious and simply a chance to pause..."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Spirit of Giving

I am sitting here watching TV for a few minutes waiting for my hair to dry enough that I can get a brush through it. And I heard something that I have heard many times before without even really giving it a second though. "The True Spirit of Giving". I hear people say this off and on, "this is the true spirit of giving" "I am trying to teach the true spirit of giving" etc.

But more than once it has been an adult forcing a child to give up something, a toy, a game, a prized possession. Is that really the "True Spirit of Giving" or is this something that many adults say in an attempt to make themselves feel better about forcing a child to do something that breaks the child's heart. You know what I am talking about.., it is said in a way that it validates what they are doing, like children must learn the "True Spirit of Giving" and this is how we teach it, we force them to give up something they value most. Some sort of mandate for parenthood, if you don't force your child to do this, they will never learn the "True Spirit of Giving" and thus anyone not in compliance is a *bad parent*.

But what is the "True Spirit of Giving". I guess in my heart I feel it is something given freely, when you don't have to give, that is done in a spirit of love with a true intent to help, no matter the praise of doing so, no matter the recognition. But giving when you are not even sure anyone else will see or notice, and giving freely from your heart.

Does it mean I have to give my most prize possession to be in the "True Spirit of Giving"? I don't believe so, wouldn't the "True Spirit of Giving" be giving something that was truly needed. I just don't believe that it has to HURT me, to be in the spirit of giving.

And what do we learn if we are forced to give something away, something we truly love. I think I would quickly come to believe that giving has to hurt, so why give. Maybe that my parents enjoy my pain, so why show my feelings around them. Maybe if they don't know exactly what possessions I like, I won't have to give them up. That charity is a painful thing, and something to be avoided. Also that my possessions aren't really mine, that it is a false sense of ownership. Or that the world runs on the power of the biggest. If I am bigger I can force people to do what I feel is good for them, regardless of how that other person feels. Also that adults know what is best, that a child really doesn't know what is best for themselves, they have to be forced. Or maybe that parenting is about breaking the spirit of the child. And that love hurts. My parents can't be trusted. I need to hide things from them.

Why would anyone want to "teach" these lessons to a child, their own child. I guess here in our house I give because I want to help. We give much and we give often, but no one is forced to give, and there are times we don't give. My boys do give, not their most prized possessions, but they give what THEY want to give, and never forced. And they are overflowing with love, kindness, concern for others, and compassion. It isn't something I had to force on them (even if I could). I "could" force them to give, but I don't. I "can't" force them to learn a lesson. No one can.

So does forcing a child to give away his most prized possession teach them anything? Does it teach the lesson that some parents think? Do they learn anything from the force?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Haiku Thoughts

Making memories
Mother and son take moments
to dance in the rain

Days of solitude
Make time to think and connect
Brings much clarity

Monday, August 2, 2010

I AM that Mom....

I can't believe it has been almost a month since my last blog post. I have had that cocoon feeling and trying to honor that. Last week our dog, Ellis, decided to swallow a rock, had to have surgery and is now, finally feeling better and recovering at home. So I missed the impromptu blog carnival "I AM that Mom" but have been thinking about this over the past week, and now finally have a minute to sit down and type out a few of my thoughts. Thanks Caren for the push. I believe this is where you can find more "I AM that Mom" blog entries.

I Am that Mom...

~Who waits in line until midnight with two extremely excited boys, for the release of their next new video adventure.

~Who holds her thumb over the end of the garden hose for over an hour, until she has to pry her cramped fingers off, so the boys can have the best giant slip and slide ever for their birthday.

~Gets up in the middle of the night to make chocolate, chocolate chip, coconut cookies for her hungry guys.

~Who gently nudges a bug all the way out the door because her son can't bare the thought of killing an innocent bug.

~Who works night and day on costumes so her boys can be their favorite World of Warcraft character for Halloween.

~Who finds the biggest suit case we have, so that her oldest can bring all his Dungeons and Dragons books with him wherever he goes, as they bring him comfort and security.

~The vegetarian mom who will kill and butcher a well love, farm raised, family chicken so that her son, the omnivore, will have the best possible meat I can give him.

I Am That Mom....
~Who gives her sons space to cry alone when that is what they want, even though every motherly inch of her wants to wrap around her sons and protect them from everything.

~Who enjoys their multifaceted personalities, acknowledging that each is his own person, reveling in their individuality.

~ Who gives her sons the space to be exactly who they are, the freedom to grow into who they are to become, all the while being there for support and encouragement.

~Who is their soft place to fall.