Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Blog Award?

I was given this blog award by Ganeida over at Ganeida's Knot's for writing with serenity and simplicity and the dear thinks I have a "lovely" style. Many thanks to her, though I'm not so sure as I just talk really, but I guess it describes my blog header photo! LOL..... To those of you that do not know Ganeida, she is from Australia and is a Quaker homeschooler who writes much more frequently than I am able and has a wonderful wit about her. Many a day her pieces just bubble up with joy, honesty and make me laugh aloud. To honor her, I will go ahead and share 7 things about myself here:

*1. I was a very quiet child who disliked school. I think it all may have started when I couldn't find a seat on the crowded bus, was told to close my eyes at nap time (never!) and when the art teacher told me my pumpkin had to be made over again as it was not round. Didn't make sense to me as we grew pumpkins and most were oval and some were odd shaped and I loved my pumpkin. Mrs. White, however did not love my pumpkin. Funny thing is I loved going to University and I never wanted to stop. Started talking a lot there too. I mourned the day I was done and still do. I want to go back and can't. That's life.

*2. My first memory is purposefully tipping over my highchair in the kitchen during family dinner. I recall being bored, not being hungry and wanting to get down on the floor so that I could spin in circles. Not sure what that says about me....!I still recall the color and pattern of that old linoleum floor. This falling chair act became a habit, so I confirmed and so did climbing furniture.

*3. I apparently see all sorts of things in nature other people do not. No, I do not hallucinate that I know of, but have at other times due to sleep deprivation. I often see hearts in leaves, tree trunks and in swans. I love to mingle with God in nature. Yes, I love hearts and I think I am in love with love. However, I keep this quote on my refrigerator that does describe me quite often though most people would not know it as I am peaceful and typically quiet: "I had a lover's quarrel with the world," by Robert Frost.

*4. I am probably the least competitive person I know. The suggestion of playing a game at a party makes me blush red. I don't want anyone to feel bad if I were to win either.

*5. I am allergic to animals but I have 9 pets. I can't help myself as I like to bring things home. On top of that I have a love affair with naming them. Our number of pets increased dramatically when we were no longer able to bring any more children home. I have an enormous list of left over names of boys and girls and so I like to name animals using them. Problem is, my family members usually do not agree with my names. This happened to me when naming babies as well.

*6. I prefer male companions. I think it all began in my mid to late teens when I got a job at a local mental hospital as a waitress. There may or may not be a correlation there. ROTFL.
Males are not catty, most are not as complex within relationships, and very fun. So sorry ladies, I truly do like you and feel so blessed to get to know my readers! When my brother gave me away at my wedding he told me I should stop various male friendships. I was a bit stunned. I've been told to work on deepening my female friendships and so I am attempting. It's hard some times.

*7. I wear 5 earrings. My husband is not thrilled with this fact, but still apparently loves me after soon to be 24 years! The fifth one is fairly recent and it took him a number of days to observe this happening. My daughter's had great fun waiting for that to occur. Neither of my daughter's have pierced ears. I keep offering to take them to have it done and they say no. The youngest has gone as far as saying that if God wanted her ears pierced, he would have had her born with holes already in them. I can't figure where these ideas come from as she does not get them here!
What I really want to do, is get a tiny little flower tattoo on my .....................ankle, yes really. But there again, hubby does not like them and it would not be good for my reactive skin problems so I'm not getting one, but I tell him it is out of respect to him. (Wry grin....) And it partially is.

In turn, I am to honor 7 people. This is a problem honestly, as most blogs I read I KNOW the writers would not want to do this. I had fun, but am opting out of awarding 7 and will just award 3 who I think will enjoy it. Here goes:

*Jennifer at Tree of Life Homeschool for her hand's on children's projects and unique homeschooling method with a heart for including Friend's ways into her day.

*Heather at Still Life for a really good Quaker read that is to the point, fresh and honest. She writes poetry I so enjoy as well.

*Jessica at Trivium Academy for sharing the most advice, schedules, book lists and helps to the general homeschool community through several years. She is a women of great courage and strength and I admire her especially now.

That's it and it gave me a topic to write on! Ok, you all are next.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday Photo

Empty me
pour me out
simplify my life
that there may be
more room to fill
with more of you.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sweet River

I scampered across the stream from rock to rock forgetting myself, my age, my some times funny balance problems. It happens, this adult turns to child out there; there in the green with the water bubbling and the sun and shade playing games too. Resting for a while, I’m thoroughly entertained watching the girls make their way all over this place as there is a strategy involved, a quick calculating of maneuvers to decide which way is best, which rock is too risky. I chuckle to myself as it’s a human chess game. A game of run the river.

Isn’t that what we do? We are running the river of time and it’s precious, bittersweet and some times there are no words that adequately describe watching yourself grow up and older, let alone your children.

Time to go and little one needs help on a teetering rock, all others ahead watching as I snap her up, forgetting myself. See, it’s not so easy any more, never the less there is that quick instinct to pick up my now 43 pound nine year old baby. We have ourselves a moment, that seems to linger on forever as I waver, slip and slide, and try to regain my balance all the while the others are just grinning ear to ear thoroughly entertained on the other side. All I care is that my baby doesn’t get hurt and the wetness from the unexpected dip in is nice once on solid ground. I think to myself, that may have been a "last".

Unexpected is that last diaper, that last time at the breast, last spoon feeding and last push of the bike, that final child. Who would have known those sacred moments were the last, etched as they are in my mind. Huge step across time and a bit of a challenge to maneuver, my firstborn that I could not pick up nor push on the swing during his young years graduates from highschool in a few short days! It’s a pretty big last, but I’m attempting seeing it more as a first. Who would have known the sweet grace granted unto me along the way. I’m skipping on rocks again, though paying for it dearly. I’m seeing more beauty that I over looked before and what is sweet when it does come to me is a whole lot sweeter. Though I did not fathom the boulders I’d have in the way now. Paul says to count it all joy, and so I attempt to through startling shade and brightening sunny days. I laugh and I cry so often that feeling of the same vein now.

What joy and what comfort to know that there are no lasts when it comes to the Lover of my Soul. It will never be over; there will be no finality nor any separation. God is loving me, holding me safe, while I lag behind them now watching them run the race on ahead. It’s the natural order of things. I am mentally cradling them in my heart cheering them on as they take steps, jump, and encounter risks. I am rejoicing in the truth of us all being held eternally. It’s not always easy, but it’s time to run unencumbered; keep running the river of time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quaker Book List for Children

We are at the end of our semester of home educating here and are looking forward to a good long break. Last week we finished up our standardized testing using the ITBS. It was my youngest daughter's first time taking the test, which went well other than her standing up on her chair and announcing "I'm done!" about half way through each and every subtest. Not to worry, I made her sit back down and review her work for a while and now we are all curiously awaiting the results in the mail. This week I am still swimming a bit in paper work and selling and purchasing new curriculum for next fall. I'm not assuming God is going to allow me to be well enough to teach, but preparing and attempting to live it with an open hand, recognizing ultimately it is God that is in control of the chaos of our lives for a purpose and plan. I'm trying to rest in that and slow down still.

Amongst my papers here, I have several book lists compiled and came across several books we have used in the past 2-3 years that are specifically Quaker in nature or at least a bit Friendly. I thought that I would share them here in case they may be of benefit to anyone. They are not alphabetized at all or complete in any way, but a good start perhaps to adding some Quakerly ways to our years. I'm finding the older my children get, the easier it is as so many books naturally come up as supplements during our history cycles, but by far my favorites have been the precious Obadiah books which I will never grow too old for!

Quaker Booklist for Children

How Does God Listen?, Kay Lindahl
A Little Peace, Barbara Kerley
Can You Say Peace? Karen Katz
Thy Friend, Obadiah, Brinton Turkle,
Obadiah the Bold, Brinton Turkle
Rachel and Obadiah, Brinton Turkle
We’re Going to Meeting for Worship, Abby A Hadley
I am a Quaker, Felic Blanc

Allen Jay and the Underground Railroad
Plant a Seed of Peace, Rebecca Seiling
I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children, edited Marian Wright Eldelman
Children Just Like Me, Anable and Barnabas Kindersley (very respectful look at kids and cultures, promotes equality, good for geography)
**Spinning Tales, Weaving hope: Stories, Storytelling and Activities for Peace, Justice and the Environment(stories and suggested activities)
MLK: The Journey of a King, Tanya Bolden
Peace Tales: World Folktales to Talk About, Margaret Read Macdonald (for wide age range really)
Betsey Ross, Designer of Our Flag, Childhood of Famous American Series

Upper Elementary:
Standing in the Light, Dear America Series
Thee, Hannah! Marguerite De Angeli
**Good Friends, Judith Baresel (stories and famous Quaker profiles)
When the Soldiers Were Gone, Vera Propp
Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth George Speare
Arrow Over the Door, Joseph Bruchac
William Penn: Quaker Colonist, Kieran Doherty
**A Colonial Quaker Girl: The Diary of Sally Wister
Jared’s Island, Marguerite De Angeli
Friend, The Story of George Fox and the Quakers, Jane Yolan
*Growing in the Light Series-Good parent resource, simple but outstanding resource to prepare children for worship
**Books we have not personally read yet, but are scheduled for next semester

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Not a Sound

I took a bit of a break from some forums I am on, announcing my presence would be a bit sparse over the next few weeks. I'm not exactly sure when I'll be back to full speed again or if I even want to be. I need a bit of room, a little margin in my life and more time to be in the moment here at home. I also needed to finish our homeschooling and all the paperwork that goes along with that and take some time to renew both physically and mentally as I have been a bit overwhelmed. The first few days, I still went at life with a fast clip just trying to knock out my "to do" list. But in the moments that followed with each task completed and just not being so connected to my lap top by the hip, I began to notice a calm, a silence come over me. This weekend I feel much better rested. I still have a long ways to go with my paperwork, but in a quiet moment contemplated the value of stepping back, disconnecting from electronics and rigid schedules. I even day dreamed a bit how life used to be as a kid, just hanging out at my Grandparent's homestead in lawn chairs, sipping ice tea and not necessarily saying all that much but enjoying the quiet. Kids today are missing a lot of that unstructured time and quiet in return for a hurried pace. I'm not a poet, so this came to me in a still moment more as a thought or ministry all at once and I thought I'd share it. I did not bother editing it, fiddling with it or anything--as I said, I am on break you see!
Not a Sound

Where did the silence go

the pause in the every day

The bow of heads at meals
the break at mid-day

Lawn chairs in a circle
porch swings that gently sway

The walk without words
hands intertwined

A slight nod
a glance come my way

When did it all stop
being worthy of our time

In this world today
where did the silence go?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

"Love comforteth like sunshine after rain."
- William Shakespeare