Saturday, February 25, 2012

Just Put on a Nice Shirt


The romantic in me just couldn't let Valentines Day go by without a word or two. Although love is a complex, misunderstood and mysterious phenomenon, sometimes it can be very simple and obvious. After 20 years of figuring it out with my Guy, it comes down to this:

Hot dogs, a nice shirt, candlelight and thoughtfulness.

Hot dogs: it really doesn't matter WHAT you give, it's the spirit in which it is given. Lobster wouldn't have made the dinner any more special.

A nice shirt: women like their men looking nice...AFTER their heart has been won. Don't get all frumpy and stinky just because you are overly comfortable with one another.

candlelight: I really like beautiful surroundings. It makes me a kinder, gentler person...and it's like the man is trying to frame your beauty in that moment.

thoughtfulness: Nothing says "you are special" like an attempt to make my life easier, even for just a couple of hours. It's my love language speaking here. To be served, is to be fabulously loved. My Guy knows this about me and loves me in that way, rather than in a way that's easier for him.

After volunteering at the local school over lunchtime, I came home to this, on Valentines Day. A simple gesture of love that included my kids, watching and chuckling as their Dad wooed me with Ketchup and about 30 minutes. It was a busy day, so time was not in abundance. Later, we did split a Pad Thai at a fancy place, without kids. It really doesn't take much effort or money to express love to that special someone, just some thinking outside the box.

I am always shocked an amazed that love is stronger and better after many years of familiarity. The idea that it is all about newness and excitement is a lie. The more history we have together, the more comfortable we become with one another, the greater the relationship...AND the feelings. It does take effort, but long term, sustaining effort...after that, even hot dogs will do the trick.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Who Says??


Boy, you can really get overwhelmed with thoughts and opinions when surfing the net. With the plethora of news options, blogs, rants, statuses, tweets, etc. etc...it's a constant stream of "blah,blah,blah". It's great when people are expressing excitement over a child's birth, or a really cool Christmas present, but it hurts the head when it's about controversial issues. For every confidently stated opinion there is another equal and opposite opinion...then another...then another...it escalates, builds supporters, and usually ends up as just talk. Often insulting, pointless talk. In any case it hurts my head. I'm just not the type to enjoy heated debate.

I will listen to, read or watch certain debates or news clips, selectively, but I have decided to limit my "opinion consumption". Behind every debated issue hides the important question..."Who says?". After giving ear for 25 seconds or so, I try to figure out what worldview or authority someone is coming from. Spying out the agenda of the speaker is important. If the authority behind the opinion is the staus quo, popular media, or even non-existent, then I generally shut it off and move on. Why clutter my little, sensitive brain with negative energy...it has enough energy on its own to manage...I don't need more. Some people can handle it, even enjoy it, but I don't and I need to guard against getting sucked into it.

When I find myself feeling irritated or starting those little "speeches", I click over to Pinterest. I glance at some of my beautiful pins, add to my virtual wardrobe or redecorate my dream home with a simple click of the mouse. I remind myself to think on whatever is lovely, true and praiseworthy. I wish I weren't so passionate and extreme in my thinking, but there it is. I appreciate the beautiful things of life and need to focus on them rather than the word wars.

I'm pretty sure a lot of people have never asks themselves why they believe what they believe. The opinion is formed on feelings and experience rather than any sort of truth or authority at all. While I agree that we should all have the freedom to choose our opinions, wouldn't it be a little more effectual to ground it in something solid? If you want others to buy your sale, you've got to give them something to ground it in. Others do not have your experiences and feelings. Why do people expect others to listen and learn on that premise? It's like the playground kids fighting, dictating the rules of play and the opposing kids come back with "Oh ya, well who says??" or "You're not the boss of me!!". They are right! We each choose, consciously and not, who or what is our authority. It may be God, a philosophy, John Lennon or even a slogan...most often though, it's the person himself.

Usually, people are there own authority, but fail to see that that system really won't work on the grand scale. If everyone makes their own thinking the basis for truth, then we are in trouble. We will continue to be a world of little gods, battling for rulership. That is why democracy is necessary. The most popular opinion gets to be the boss, and if you don't like it then rant and fight...or move. True democracy, I mean, not the pseudo kind that throws the people a bone, pats them on the head, repeats the rederick, then lights up a cigar with buddies in the capital city.

See...I got sucked in. I just HAD to give an opinion. I guess it's more of a coping plan, put into words. Trying to free myself from the word war with the simple little kindergarten question..."Who Says?". No more wasting emotion and time on opinions with no credible authority. There are great recipes, beautiful pictures and wardrobes to be sorted through on Pinterest. I suppose my kitchen floor could be mopped too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wasn't That a Party??


I had an absolutely blessed time Monday night at a homeschool support group meeting. I was asked to come and share some tips or thoughts that I have treasured over the years that we've been schooling at home. What a time I had preparing what to say! I had SO many thoughts that it was very difficult to narrow it down. I love talking homeschooling...well, to be honest I just plain love to talk. I have to be careful not to talk too much. I have to be careful not to talk too much about myself...I think we all do really...it's natural. So, I finally decided to share some of the great ideas that are brought forth from one of my favorite movies of all time..."The Miracle Worker".

Any educator must watch this movie...at least once a year. Anne Bancroft plays Ann Sullivan and Patty Duke plays Helen Keller. The determination, disciplined thinking, submission to things beyond her control and accurate understanding of learning that this teacher had is inspiring. It kicks me in the rear and makes me cry with hope at the same time. When I'm having a "bad day" at home, I watch the "breakfast" scene. When I think my child is never going to get it, I watch the "water" scene. I reminds me that every student has blind and deaf spots that we must find the keys to...and if Miss Sullivan could do it, so can I!

The "talk" became more of a conversation, which is really what I was going for, and it reminded me just how important it is to open up about your hurdles and offer encouragement to those just beginning or struggling with homeschooling. It was also very exciting to see so many new families embarking on their own educational journey, in their own unique way...but yet together. I could have yakked on all night, but restrained myself like a good little girl and let the ladies dive into the fruit trays, fudge and Sweetened Condensed Milk based squares...I adore Sweetened Condensed Milk...give me a can of it and a spoon and I'm happy. Mix graham crumbs and chocolate in with it and I'm dangerously delirious.

I didn't get home till after midnight. I get blurry eyed and nauseous after midnight, but it was well worth it. I think I left my glass Dr.Sholls boot in someone's driveway. Ya, I was a walking zombie the next day, till I had a cat nap, but it's like a healthy hangover. The inspiration and fellowship of times like that are very special...not like a self centered, uncontrolled flesh-fest with a headache and toilet hugging experience the next day. I didn't ingest enough Sweetened Condensed Milk to impair my driving, just enough to put a smile on my face. There was great conversation, food, coffee and amazing ambiance of an open brick fireplace and laughter. The only think missing was music and dancing...not exactly what comes to mind when picturing a homeschool moms's meeting, so that's ok. A truly Good time.

I can't think of another thing I would rather do on a daily basis than homeschool my kids. I am so grateful for the freedom to do so and the resources available to me to do it well. I have heard a few "I love homeschooling" comments from my kids lately too...usually when their work is done by 3:00 pm and they are heading to the local hockey rink on a sunny afternoon. My job is a blessing...it doesn't pay very well, but it's a deal God makes with us...He says that if I train up my children in the way that they should go, that He would ensure to keep them from departing from it...when they are old. I like it. I'll do my best and He'll do everything else, regardless of my failures. Priceless.

If you think you are having a difficult homeschool day...check out the blog post below...
...and if you think your child will "never get it", watch the post below THAT...

Breakfast Scene - The Miracle Worker (1962)

HELEN KELLER - WATER SCENE,FROM THE MIRACLE WORKER