Friday, May 29, 2015

We Have Crabs...Really!

May...a month of reflection and new beginnings. We've closed the books (literally) on another school year and I've finished our portfolios. May brought the end of our CC year and with that, I've said goodby to being the director of our local Classical Conversations Community and hello to more focused time at home. I loved my CC job but feel that I need to step back and take a deep breath.

"Be selective. Keep some items on the table. Keep your load light enough to enjoy the journey, not just endure it. In the process you will find it easier to focus wholeheartedly on those who are walking beside you." When More is Less- Simply Charlotte Mason

Early Spring

M's journal entry of a beach find.

May is one of my favorite months. I'm always awed at the seemingly sudden appearance of stunning plants emerging from what looks like barren soil. So, we've been spending lots of time outside gardening and taking in the beauty of God's creation. Both girls started a pressed flower notebook that they will add to each season. We are using this beautiful notebook as a guide throughout the year along with these outdoor challenges . Spending last week at the beach was just plain fun. Before the trip, we began reading Pagoo by Holling Clancey Holling and our exploring juices started flowing. We were fascinated by all the sea creatures, especially the horseshoe crabs (living fossils) and hermit crabs. We even adopted two hermits, painted shells and all. They live in M's dresser drawer.
Morning and making friends with a horseshoe crab.

This morning we started our Summer Schole group. What a delightful way to spend a Friday morning. And yes, my dear old friends, I'm the grandma of the group! (and I love it.)
Drawing nature treasurers
We also started a Sister Schole group this week. Once a month we will meet and discuss For The Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley.  I truly believe that if I'm going to raise our children to be the best that they can be, I have to work on being my best self also. Learning is a life long pleasure.
Hermie. Can you see his little eyes?

"Life is just too interesting for boredom." 

Why do I write this blog? Why do I organize these schole groups? The Real Deal is that I want to be a better mom, wife, and friend the second time around. I'm striving to be a model of virtue for our young daughters, my adult children, and my granddaughter.

"Children at that age are only copies of their mother. The size is smaller; that is all."  Les Miserables         OUCH...       

 If I can be a source of encouragement and inspiration to a young mom, I will be in bliss. It's never to late to change; in fact, we're changing all the time as are our children. As an older mom, I look back on so many mistakes that I have made and most of them involve not taking the time to get to know my children. I'm not going to do that again and I encourage all parents to slow down. Our children will thrive if we nourish them with stimulating ideas, absorbing pursuits, healthy habits, and a sense of humor. But most of all, take the time to get to know them.

"It's about every single day being a new day. And each time you wake up, you look at the sky you've been given as a gift. The day is here. What are you going to do with it?"  The Talent Code by  Daniel Coyle.                   

Pagoo. He has cute eyes also.

I guess this quote from East of Eden pretty much sums up my feelings about my life right now.

"I don't want to know how it comes out. I only want to be there while it's going on."

They made these gorgeous skirts!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dedicated to Carrie

Wednesday With Words hosted by Ladydusk

This excerpt from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo draws my thoughts to mothers, especially those caring for chronically ill children.

To be served in distress is to be caressed. Does he lack anything? No. One does not lose the sight when one has love. And what love! A love wholly constituted of virtue! There is no blindness where there is certainty. Soul seeks soul, gropingly, and finds it. And this soul, found and tested, is a woman. A hand sustains you; it is hers; a mouth lightly touches your brow; it is her mouth; you hear a breath very near you; it is hers. To have everything of her, from her worship to her pity, never to be left, to have that sweet weakness aiding you, to lean upon that immovable reed, to touch Providence with one's hands, to be able to take it in one's arms, -- God made tangible,-- what bliss!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Newest Obsessions...

Lately I've been obsessed with two things; our end of the year homeschool portfolio and East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I've spent late nights with English Grammar and American History, early mornings with Steinbeck and his story of the human condition, and I've learned a new word- timshel.

The story of Cain and Abel is all about timshel,  the Hebrew word meaning "Thou mayest". God has given all of us the gift of freedom and with that gift he presents us with the dilemma of choosing between good and evil because, as Steinbeck's story intriguingly illustrates, if "Thou mayest" then man can also "mayest not". I make this choice on a daily basis, as do our children. As a parent, I must respect our children's individual personalities and their God given gift of choice. They are their own people from the very beginning.

Do you think the thoughts of people suddenly become important at a given age? Do you have sharper feelings or clearer thoughts now than when you were ten? Do you see as well, hear as well, taste as vitally?*

What is my role and responsibility in the choices they make? I open doors for them. They will walk through at their own pace and in their own manner. But the doors I open must be numerous and lead to the beauty of the world. One way to do this is to offer a broad and generous curriculum. I want them to be passionate about life because the Real Deal is this: it doesn't matter how much you know but  how much you care.

But I wonder whether you ever feel that something invisible is all around you. It would be horrible if you knew it was there and couldn't see it.*

I do have a few wishes for G and M and they seem to be about God's gift of freedom:
     ~ the freedom to be smart in the best ways: He's not so smart in a worldly sense but he's a good man. Maybe the best man I have ever known.*
     ~ the freedom of feeling content when alone: Abra had lost her gift for being alone.*
     ~ the freedom to recognize good and evil; always striving to choose good: And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal.*

M at 7:30 am
I'm parenting differently this "second time around". The Real Deal is this: our children are going to be and do what they choose. I can't change who they are even if I wanted to. I can help them understand that life isn't so much about finding oneself as it is about creating and developing the whole person that God has so wonderfully made. I can make their days good to awaken to.

"A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid anymore."* Beautiful.

M's bookshelf

I truly love how G and M each march to their own drummer. They each exercise God's gift of freedom differently. They make different choices and have different passions. Thank you Lord for the gift of "timshel".
G's bookshelf
G at 7:30am

*All quotes are from East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. John Steinbeck. 

So... embrace the difference.